If you have ever lived with cats, you have undoubtedly seen them play. Play is essential for their well-being, and keeps them active both in their mind and body. Cats follow a set rhythm consisting of stalking, hunting, killing, eating, grooming and sleeping. But, for those that live indoors, this natural sequence is changed, and they do not hunt and kill their own food. Instead, they replace stalking, hunting and killing with play. A cat who does not play will therefore miss out on this natural rhythm, which can lead them to become bored, destructive, or overweight.
One way to promote play is to provide toys. Every cat differs in their preference for what type of toys they prefer. Thus, providing a wide variety is best, and it can help you find out what toys your cat prefers. And, instead of buying toys, you can look around your home to see if you have the ingredients needed to make your own. Here are 5 suggestions.
Take some kibble or your cat’s favorite dry treats, and put them inside a toilet paper tube. Stuff the ends loosely with paper and let them roll. Your cat may enjoy chasing the rattling tube around the floor before getting to the food inside. Cats that love to chase mice will particularly enjoy running after and pouncing on this toy.
Tips: To increase the difficulty of this game, pack the paper in more tightly or tape it to make sure that your kitty stays interested. BUT, if your cat tends to ingest items like paper, this may not be the toy for him.
2. The Ball Box
Fill the bottom of a box or plastic container with lightweight objects such as pingpong balls, plastic eggs or corks, and throw in some of your cat’s kibble or favorite treats. Your cat will bat aside obstacles to get to the kibble.
Cats that like to use their nose to sniff out catnip or toys should especially like this.
Tips: The box can be large for a full body experience or smaller if your cat prefers to only dip in a paw. And, make sure that the objects in the box are not so small that your cat might ingest them, such as packing peanuts.
Cut holes in a box at floor level and fill it with a few random objects like fuzzy mice, pingpong balls or corks, and then add some kibble or treats. Tape the top closed, and watch as your cat sticks a pay through the holes to retrieve the kibble. This is a good game for older or less active cats, since they can even do it lying down.
Tips: If the box slides on the floor, use some double-sided tape to stick it to the floor. Shoeboxes work well.
Fill your sink halfway with water and float some balls in it. This game will entertain for a while, and is best for cats not afraid to get wet.
Tip: try using Easter eggs filled with catnip. Plan on splashing in and around the area.
5. Unwrapping a present
If you are a tea drinker, you may like this. Save the individual tea bag wrappers and fill them with treats. All cats can play this.
Tips: Leave the wrappers on the floor if your cat has limited mobility. If your cat is more active, leave them high up on a surface, encouraging more activity. BUT: make sure there is no string or ribbon left attached to the tea bag, so that it cannot be swallowed.
If you are not into making toys yourself, check out my next post on the coolest “Buy it yourself” cat products.