All work and no play makes kitty grumpy, bored, and fat. Play is an essential activity for cats' physical and mental health.
When your cat rolls, leaps, and slides across the room, that's called acrobatic play, says pet expert Marc Morrone. You can control this play by using a cat dancer. The idea is to control and restrict the acrobatic play of our cats to an area of the house where they can explore their muscular abilities safely.
Here are two of Marc's favorite toys for acrobatic play:
- The Cat Catcher, by GO-CAT Feather Toys, is a mouse play toy that's designed to hide the wire when it's in motion -- the cat only sees the mouse.
- Da Bird, also by GO-CAT, is a feather toy that's shaped to simulate the flying motion of a real bird.
Teaching your cat to interact with humans through social play is one of the most important ways to ensure its proper development.
For an easy way to interact socially with your cat, get a long sock and fill it with crumpled newspaper. Pour catnip in it and tie it off with a long string. Toss it away from you and reel it in over and over while you're watching TV.
In the wild, cats experience random events all the time. A street cat that walks down a street one day may find that he cannot do this the next day, and he accepts this as a normal course of events. But our indoor cats cannot experience this at all.
Setting up interesting environments for cats and playing certain music or videos will help simulate this spontaneity, keeping your cat entertained while you're away or calming it down if it's distressed.
Here are some of Marc's top life-enhancement ideas for cats:
- Stack a few cardboard boxes in your living room, changing the arrangement from day to day to simulate randomness for the cat.
- Hang a birdfeeder outside your window. Watching for birds will become your cat's new favorite activity.
- Play videos for your cat that bring the outdoors in, which is especially suitable for apartment-bound cats that can't see nature through the windows. Cat Sitter DVDs are a great choice.
- Pet Acoustics makes an iPhone app and CDs with music that is specifically designed to calm and soothe your cat.