Your cat has a remarkable brain, which needs to be challenged, stimulated, and exercised to help maintain good mental fitness. Here are ten tips to get you started:
- Play with Your Cat: Engage in daily interactive play sessions, moving the toy like prey so your cat can use her incredible hunting skills.
- Make Mealtime Fun: Instead of heaping a pile of food into your cat’s bowl, use puzzle feeders so she gets the chance to work for food. This feeding method provides entertainment for your cat while keeping her mentally stimulated.
- Hide-and-Seek Solo Playtime: The solo toys your cat has for playtime (such as the fuzzy mice or balls) can be strategically placed around the house for her to “discover” all over again.
- Clicker-Train: This training method is great for helping with behavior problems, but it’s also just plain fun and is a great way to mentally challenge your cat. Learn about clicker training later in this chapter.
- Do Homemade Agility Training: Start with something basic, such as having your cat go through a paper bag tunnel, and then add to the course with various obstacles. This is a great combination of mental and physical exercise.
- Prevent Loneliness: For some cats, the addition of a companion cat is a great way to fight loneliness, especially when the human family members are away from home for long periods of time. Having a cat companion creates lots of opportunities for playtime and mental fitness. Not every cat benefit from feline companionship, though. Some cats prefer being the only cat. In terms of the human family, pay attention to your cat and maximize the bonding process. Living with a cat isn’t just about providing food, a litter box, and shelter. It’s about the human-animal bond. Spend time with your cat.
- Keep Your Cat Socialized: Begin this early, and you’ll have a cat who adjusts to change, accepting visitors in the home and enjoying life.
- Minimize Stress: It’s rare for a cat to just “get over it,” if stressed. Address issues that could be causing unhealthy stress to your cat.
- Address Behavior Problems: If your cat is experiencing a behavior problem, address it early and appropriately so her brain can focus on the good things in her life and you can stop stressing.
- Maintain Your Cat’s Good Health: Help your cat stay active, feed her a diet appropriate for her age and physical condition, have routine veterinary exams, and stay on top of any potential medical issue.
It’s Never Too Early or Too Late. If you have a kitten, now is the time to begin mental fitness training and maintain it as she grows. When your cat is a feline senior citizen, keep her brain active to help slow the progression of age-related deterioration and improve her quality of life.
Simple Note: Be a Play Pal No matter how tired you may be at the end of a workday, remember, your cat has been waiting for you. Take time to play with her.