Tips to motivate your cat to get active
by Ontario SPCA and Humane Society | Cat Care | May 17, 2021
Humans are not the only species that can feel like everyday life is monotonous, especially in the current pandemic. Our feline companions can also experience boredom. Living in an unstimulating environment often results in an unmotivated, overweight kitty. The good news is there are some simple actions you can take to break that day-to-day routine and keep your cat happy, active and engaged.
Hide and seek
Encourage movement by making your cat work for food or treats. While Fluffy is watching, hide kibble on a cat tower, on stairs or somewhere that they would be interested in. Then let them seek out the food. Once they have found it, repeat the game and move the kibble to a new hiding place for them to find, these gets your feline friend moving and engaged while being rewarded at the same time . Keep the amount of kibble or number of treats small to help your cat maintain a healthy weight. You can always take some of your cat’s measured daily amount of dry food and use it for this game so you’re not feeding your friend more than they would usually eat.
Stimulate your cat’s natural hunting behaviour by making them work for that treat. Enrichment items and food puzzles will focus their attention and slow down their eating. These items provide mental stimulation as kitty figures out how to access the food. Placing treats in a feeding ball will have them chasing, stalking and pouncing for that treat, encouraging their natural predator behaviours.
Variety is good
Cats can be picky about the toys they use in play. Some may prefer crinkle balls to felt mice. Try different toys or rotate the toys they like to see which ones get your cat moving the best. There are also a variety of self-interactive toys that can be switched on to spark your cat’s interest in movement. You can even add some motivation by rubbing a bit of catnip on a toy to get kitty interested.
Bond over play
Playing with your cat builds the human-animal bond, promotes movement and it’s fun. Collaborative play with a laser pointer or wand can prompt the cat’s natural hunting instinct and give you a laugh. Be sure to let your cat “catch” the laser or toy during the play session and reward with a treat. Never shine the laser pointer directly at the cat to avoid eye damage.
Enrich and stimulate
Perching, stretching, scratching and hiding are natural cat behaviours that you want to encourage. Ensure there are a variety of spots in your home that provide stimulation, such as perches, cat towers and scratching posts.
Playtime is the key
Always encourage playtime with your feline companion. When your cat engages in play, offer them a treat after to motivate them to continue this behaviour daily. Play encourages natural behaviours, adds some fun and keeps your cat active and healthy. An added bonus could be a strengthened bond between you and your favourite feline.
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Wish to thank everyone involved
I wish to thank everyone involved in the care and rescue of animals, especially volunteers.