As winter starts to officially set in and the days feel short, it’s easy for you and your cat to feel a little blue – maybe even stir crazy! This month we’ll talk about some ways to keep your indoor cat entertained, active and happy during the winter.
One of the simplest ways to entertain your cat is to create “Cat TV” at their window. Pick a window in your house that your cat already enjoys or that you can easily create a comfy viewing spot for them. If you have an elderly cat or a cat with disabilities be sure to provide an easy route for them. Then head outside to create a bird and wildlife station. If you have the ability on your property, you can do this at several windows to keep your cat hoping from spot to spot to see different wildlife. You can add in bird feeders, squirrel feeders, hummingbird stations, bird houses, or even a bird bath. This provides your cat almost instant entertainment and it’s sure to become their favorite spot. Live in a high rise or apartment complex? Netflix and Amazon have you covered! Both streaming services now feature Cat TV programs with up close images of wild birds, aquariums and wildlife.
Hide and Seek Treats
You can also try hiding treats around the house. It can be as simple as tucking them in the corners of their favorite spots or as complex as inside a hidden treat dispenser. The No-Bowl feeders, Kong Cat Treat Ball and Toy, and the Slim Cat Balls all work well with different types of treats from dehydrated fish or chicken to Temptations. You can also try baking cat treats at home. If you have a question about ingredients contact your vet to make sure the recipe is safe for your cat to eat.
The Hunt is On
Meal time can also get an upgrade in the winter. If your cat eats dry food all of the treat dispensers work well with dry kibbles making your cat “bat” the toy to get the food which keeps them active. For cats that eat wet food only, there are now wet food puzzle feeders for dogs and cats! Look for ones that are made with silicone so that it’s easy to wash and be sure the raised features are low. Cats have sensitive whiskers and often don’t like something touching them while they are eating. For a fun summer treat you can take some of their regular wet food and freeze it in the feeder so they can enjoy licking it to keep cool.
Back to Basics
You certainly don’t have to break the bank to have fun with your indoor cat. Use all the Amazon boxes and paper bags you likely have lying around after the holidays and create an indoor cat jungle. You can put a few in a room and watch the cats flock to them or you can get in touch with your creative side and build a fort. Cut openings for tunnels, tape them together, create hiding spots – odds are you’ll have as much fun building it as your cat will playing with it. If you have kids, it’s a great way to get them involved in your cat’s care.
If it snows outside, go get a bowl of fresh snow before any salt or chemicals gets mixed in and let your cat try it. Call it sensory play for cats! They might smack it, eat it, step in it or want nothing to do with it but it will at least be something different for them to experience.
Try out a new toy – even the most active and playful cats can get bored with the same toy. Try a different type of wand toy, add catnip, or get out the ever-elusive laser pointer. The goal is to engage with your cat and help get them active and stimulated. But remember, there’s nothing wrong with curling up on the couch with a hot cup of tea and a warm snuggly cat. That time is important too for both of you!