Now that Spring rains are over and Summer storms are in full force, there will be a lot of rainy days where you just don’t want to leave your house! What better way to spend these dreary afternoons than crafting… and what better way to craft than for your cat?!
When you’re thinking about enrichment ideas for your pets, it’s important to think about activities that target each of the 5 senses. A common mistake of cat owners is they think that cats are low maintenance animals who really don’t need anything… while they’re certainly low maintenance in some ways, they absolutely need mental and physical enrichment just like any other animal!
Toys help prevent boredom in cats. All too often we hear stories of cats who destroy furniture or attack their human’s feet on a regular basis. There’s a pretty solid chance these kitties are just bored! They need a positive outlet for their energy, and a variety of toys is the way to tackle this. Successful enrichment helps a cat work on their “hunting” techniques, so you’ll want to create toys that they can pounce on, chase, and hide in!
Additionally, the more a cat plays, the healthier they will be! Obesity is all too common in house cats who have become complacent and have nothing encouraging them to get a move on. Playing with toys will help these chunky kitties shed some poundage, and help relieve any stress they may be harboring. Just like in humans, physical activity releases endorphins to make cats happy! And a happy cat is a healthy cat.
And, because our entire lives revolve around our furry friends, we happen to have a backlog of project ideas that we’d love to pass on to you! So here are a few easy ones…
- Crumple up newspaper and attach it with twine to the end of a stick.
- Stuff an old sock with cotton balls and catnip and tie a knot in the end.
- Remove the handle from an empty paper bag to provide a great hiding place and a chance to pounce on anyone who walks by.
- Use non-toxic glue and secure feathers, preferably made from wool, at different increments on a length of fishing line. The fishing line can be attached to a stick or an actual pole. Make the “bird” fly.
- A ping pong ball, or practice golf ball with holes, will indulge a cat’s hunting instinct and give visual stimulation. A fun variation on the ping pong ball game is to place one or more inside of an empty bathtub. Cats love to chase the bouncing balls around in a contained space.
- Make a puzzle feeder to excite your cat intellectually. Cut holes in an empty plastic water bottle a little bigger than the size of your cat’s kibble. Be sure the holes are not large enough for your cat to get its paw through them and get stuck. Place dry food inside the bottle and place the bottle on its side. The first time this is introduced, make sure there are numerous holes to ensure your cat’s immediate success. Subsequent puzzle feeders can have fewer holes. Empty, clean yogurt containers with the lids secured will work for this as well.
- Cut the bottom out of 2 large cardboard boxes and secure one to each side of a third box using masking tape. This creates a tunnel effect that cats love and also gives them a hiding place. Make it larger by using more boxes, if desired. Place some crumpled newspaper balls inside for your cat to bat at and chase.
- Make a videotape from a live action nature show featuring birds, fish, and insects. Turn the volume up to easily capture your cat’s attention. This is also a great tool to use for those kitties who make mischief when their humans are away.
Always be sure to avoid using materials that cats can injure themselves on such as yarn, string, tinsel, rubber bands or hairbands, buttons, and anything sharp! Some cats can get a little too crazy, and ingest these items, which would be a big problem!
The key is to have fun! The more fun you have making these things, the more fun it will be to see your kitty have a field day with their new toys. Let us know which ones you decide to make, and send picture/video updates of your cat “hunting” their new prey!