1300 Olney Sandy Spring Rd.
Sandy Spring, MD 20860
(301) 774-9500(301) 774-9500
Fax: (301) 570-5121
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What does your cat do for fun?
At OSSVH, you are asked that question at least once a year when you bring your cat in for his or her wellness exam. Many people are perplexed by this and aren’t sure how to answer the question. Cat enrichment may not be something you think about all the time, but if you have indoor cats it is a good idea to provide your feline friends with activities that provide physical exercise and mental stimulation.
What is your cat’s favorite toy? Furry mice or something made out of bird feathers? Does your cat like toys that sail through the air or are down on the floor? Many people may not realize that cats have a prey preference. Some cats prefer rodent-like toys, some prefer birds, and some will play with anything that moves. You can figure out what your cat’s prey preference is by getting multiple bird and mouse toys. Keep the mouse toys out of site while you bring out the bird toys and see how they react to the bird toys. Do they chase the objects or do they ignore them? Do the same with the mouse toys and see how your cat reacts. Many cats will enthusiastically chase a laser pointer, which imitates the movements of a bug. This will help you figure out which toys your cat likes best.
Contrary to popular belief, many cats also enjoy water. I’ve seen cats play in their water bowl and demand that faucets be turned on for them. If your cat is the same way, try getting them a water fountain. A fountain gives them a source of running water they can play in and drink out of. Many cats don’t drink enough water and this could be a good way for you to entice them to drink more.
Have you noticed that your cat likes to climb to the highest place they can get? Cats do this because they like to see what is going on around them. It gives them a safe place to take in their surroundings and sleep without being disturbed. There are many types of perches available such as elaborate carpet covered trees with multiple levels to hammocks you can hang on windowsills. Cat perches are available at most major pet stores and there are also design plans available online if you’d like to build one yourself.
Scratching posts are essential for households with cats whose nails are intact. Having specific areas that your cat is allowed to scratch can discourage them from scratching the things that they shouldn’t, such as your couch or corners of walls. Many cat trees offer sisal-covered posts for them to scratch. My cats particularly love a product called the Turbo Scratcher that has a scratch pad and an illuminated ball that runs in a track around the scratch pad, but there are endless types of pads to suit your cat’s fancy. If your cat doesn’t readily use scratching pads or posts, you can entice them to do so by sprinkling some catnip on the pad or post.
How often do you see your cat looking out the window watching birds or small mammals flit by? This is one of my cats favorite past times. It gives them a view into nature while keeping them safely indoors. You can place birdbaths or bird feeders outside windows that your cats like to look out of to give them more stimulation. If your cat doesn’t have easy access to a window, move a couch or place a perch on the window so they can see the great outdoors. There are even structures that can be attached to windows or balconies to enclose an area so that cats can go outside safely.
These are just some of the ways that you can enrich your cats’ lives. While cats are often seen sleeping most of the day away, when given the opportunity cats enjoy lots of activity.