Encouraging your cat to play is a great way to help keep him at a healthy weight. Playing with him yourself or having lots of variety in his toy box will keep him stimulated and avoid boredom.
Safety first! Do be careful not to let your cat have elastics or string and check his toys regularly for damage. Toss anything with sharp or broken pieces. Never shine a laser pointer directly into his eyes. Ensure climbing toys and window seats are securely fastened as your cat may launch himself at them by running across the room – especially if you have more than one cat and they chase each other.
A cat tree or climber is a wonderful thing. Climbing, scratching and hiding are great fun and most of these units will provide enough room for several cats to play at the same time. A little house to sleep in is also popular on the tree.
A box, laundry basket or paper shopping bag will give kitty hours of pleasure. Add a small plastic ball and he’ll have… well, a ball. IKEA sells a cat tent that my cats love to play and sleep in. One of them likes to have her dinner in there – yes, she is spoiled.
Many cats love to have catnip or catnip toys. Keep an eye on him the first time though to make sure it doesn’t bring out his aggression – especially if you have more than one cat.
A flicker stick or wand toy is something you can use to interact with your cat. Encouraging your kitty to leap in the air, follow it around corners or just bat at it is great exercise. You can easily make one of these yourself!
Scratching mats and posts not only help prevent your cat from scratching your furniture and drapes, they get lots of stretching while scratching on them and keep their nails trimmed and healthy.
You can hide toys or treats around the house for your cat to find. There are also balls which you can insert treats or kibble into. Your cat rolls it around to dispense the contents. This not only gets kitty up and moving, he enjoys using his hunting instincts while doing so.
Many cats like a tunnel to play and hunt toys in. You can buys many different styles of tunnels or make your own out of cardboard boxes. There are also “crinkly” fabric bags and tunnels.
My cats like to play on the staircase and reach through the spindles to box with each other. This is another good place to play with a flicker stick. They also like to bat the toys down the stairs and chase them.
Another fun toy you can make yourself is a ball box. Put some balls or other cat toys into a cardboard box and toss in some treats. Kitty will have a blast hunting for the treats among all the toys.
Shaid is open DAILY from 11am till 3pm. You can also see our current animals for adoption at www.shaid.ca on the “Our Pets” tab. You can visit us on Facebook, just search for Shaid Tree Animal Shelter and LIKE our page to get all our updates.