Our cats often get forgotten about when we think of enrichment activities, especially when we’re going out of town or leaving them to their own devices during the day. Dogs have games to play, such as fetch, or even scent work, while our feline friends lounge about in a sunny window without a care in the world.
There are plenty of things we can do to stimulate our kitties’ brains, which can help keep them happy and healthy. It doesn’t matter what your budget is. You can get items from around the house and set them up for free, while you could also spend a small fortune on a cat tree or toys for your fur babies to climb like a jungle gym.
Empty boxes can be a source of entertainment for our kitties. You can take a small box and cut a hole in it, placing some kitty treats or food in it. Allow your cat to bat the box around, making it a free puzzle toy for your cat. Even the box itself can be a source of amusement, giving your cat a hiding place or sleeping spot.
Why not buy cardboard boxes from IKEA and build your own impressive yet attractive cat condo?
Image: Cats on Catnip
You can connect boxes together to make a jungle gym for your cats, especially with old milk crates. Cut a hole in some plastic boxes and make a kitty retreat for your feline family members, giving them something to climb around and sleep in.
As crazy as it seems, some cats can learn to play fetch. Use a small mouse toy or pipe cleaners and toss them for your cat to bring back to you. If you’re just starting, reward them with a snack or snuggles when they bring the item back.
You can also set up a bubble machine or blow bubbles yourself. Kitties love to bat at the bubbles in the air, and you can get bubbles relatively inexpensively from the store, providing an endless source of entertainment. If you have kids with Nerf guns or disc shooters, you can fire those through the air for your cat to bat at but take care not to aim at your kitty. When you’re not home, your pet sitter can perform these same activities to provide enrichment for your cat.
When you are designing cat enrichment activities, you can find a variety of things to repurpose and recycle. A piece of carpet hung up provides an area for your kitty to scratch and stretch out their claws. Old shower curtain rings can rattle around in a container, making a noisy toy for your kitty to chase.
Recyclable materials can also rock your cat’s world. Most cats love to hop in and out of paper bags, so set a few out rather than putting them in the recycle bin. You can also crumple up a piece of paper and give it to your cat as something to bat around. The rumpling paper sound attracts many cats to play with this “ball.”
If you like arts and crafts, there are plenty of things that you can make to provide enrichment for your kitties. If you have pompoms, you can toss them around as playthings for your cats. Pipe cleaners can also provide a source of amusement. Folding paper into a fan and hanging it up can give your kitty something to bat around.
You can also grow catnip or cat grass for your cat. These plants are easy to start from seed and can be grown in the house if you have an area with plenty of sunlight. When you’re going out of town, you can let your cat sitter know that it’s there. Your cat will love to roll around and bat at the grasses. You can dry the catnip and sprinkle it across your cat’s toys and let the fun begin.
You’ll find that there are plenty of things you can do with your cat to help provide enrichment. Drag a ribbon on the floor for him or her to chase, or roll a ball across the floor. There’s plenty you can do with your kitty to make them happier and more engaged in the household.
When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget that your cat needs enrichment to keep his or her brain stimulated and engaged. After a jam-packed day, why not relax and play fetch or toss a pompom? You’ll be happy to know your kitty is getting some exercise and stimulation, and they’ll be happy they’re getting extra attention and care.