You might think why do cats need to be engaged when they spend 14–16 hrs sleeping and are considered to be a solitary animal. Though it is true, cats still need to be engaged in the remaining time. They do get bored and require time to play, exercise, groom, and so on.
There are several ways in which you can keep your cat engaged however engagement activities you choose depend on your cat’s personality, age, breed, and number of cats at home.
Here I’m sharing the most common engaging activities
Playtime and Exercise
Kittens are playful and will utilize all their time and energy in playing. However when it comes to adult or senior cats you may need to lure them to play.
Playtime helps them get the required exercise and also increases the bond between both of you. If your cat does not get enough exercise, they will start gaining weight (especially, a neutered/spayed cat) and will lead to health related issues. Therefore, it is essential to schedule at least an hour of playtime in your cat’s daily routine.
A cat’s natural instinct is ‘Hunting’. They love to hide, target, and pounce on their prey/object. While playing with your cat you should ensure that you meet these requirements. A majority of cats are attracted towards rope, strings, balls, laser pointer, and small moving objects. Based on your cat’s age, you can select from various choices of interactive cat toys available in market. These toys are exclusively made for cats.
* Rope Teasers with Danglers (feathers, bell)
* Catch the Mouse
* Turntable Toy with Balls
* Sisal Ball
* Battery Operated Bugs
If you are creative then you can DIY some of these toys using regular household items. Remember, cats get bored with the same toy so you need to keep changing the collection.
Yes, cats absolutely love to watch birds; it is one of their favourite activities. You will notice that while bird watching they are attentive, eyes fixated on the bird and you might also hear them make a strange sound known as ‘Chattering’.
It is either movement of the bird that is captivating your cat’s attention or they are looking at it as a prey to hunt – whatever maybe the reason your cat is enjoying every bit of bird watching and can spend hours observing them. This is the reason why cats lounge around window for long duration. Bird watching is interesting, enjoyable, and good source of entertainment for your cat. Probably you can place a bird feeder outside the window so that your cat can enjoy from the cosy confines of your home. These days cat parent’s play videos of birds on TV to appease their cats and keep them engaged.
A new trend is being set in India – cat parents are now training their cats for leash walks. It requires a lot of effort, time, and patience to train your cat for this but it is not impossible. This activity will definitely keep your cat active and adventurous too. Leash walk gives them an opportunity to be outdoors and explore their surrounding; it can be a part of their exercise routine, and is a much better option than your cat just lying around the house.
If you’re a working cat parent of a solo cat and find it difficult to keep your cat engaged due to your hectic work schedule, perhaps, you can bring home a furry companion for your cat so that they can play and have each other whilst you are away. Consider this only if your cat is friendly with other cats.
Keep it Natural
Sometimes you need to keep it natural for your cat and the best way is to evoke their natural hunting instinct. You can hide treats or kibble around the house so that your cat enjoys finding them while exploring the house. This activity will certainly keep your cat engaged. Do give it a try!!
*She is popularly known as ‘Fats & Cats’ amongst her friends J For over 30 years, she has had cats as pets (Pedigree and Non-Pedigree) and so she likes sharing her knowledge and experience about cats with all the cat parents.