Entertaining Indoor Cats

Entertaining Indoor Cats

Benefits of being an Indoor Cat:
If your cat is an indoor pet, you are able to develop a deeper and more satisfying relationship with them. Indoor cats tend to be healthier, live longer, and are at a lower risk of catching feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus (Feline AIDS), and upper respiratory infections. They also won’t get into cat fights, hit by cars, and can’t get harassed by other animals, be stolen or lost, or kill wildlife. They are also less likely to pick up parasites, and have a lower risk of being exposed to environmental poisons.

Entertainment
Chasing & Jumping
Cats have an innate chase response, so use small fast-moving objects like small balls, scrunched newspaper, or try tying objects onto fishing lines or poles and dangle in front of your cat. Hand held laser pointers are also fantastic!

Feeding
Make your cat search for food:
– if you feed dry food start putting small clumps on the floor and slowly moving it further away from the bowl each day.
– eventually the food can be scattered throughout the house in different places.
– there are also tricky treat balls that you can place food in, your cat will need to roll the ball to get the food out. Or make your own by cutting small holes in a used water bottle and fill with kibble! You can order a tricky treat ball from Chestermere Veterinary Clinic by calling 403-272-3573.

Obedience Work
Cats can be taught to do tricks using positive reinforcement with food or toys as a reward:
– reward the desired behavior as soon as it occurs.
– break down the task into small steps in the beginning.
– start with very small pieces of a very tasty food so your cat doesn’t get full or gain weight.

Enjoy the View
Cats love to watch the world go by! Place a cat perch underneath a window, screen in a porch, or invest in a scratching post with a perch.
Placing a bird feeder or bird bath within view of the window also provides much entertainment! Some cats may even enjoy watching TV, or Cat Sitter DVD’s, which show birds, butterflies, fish and gerbils.

High Level Cat Walks
If you can, provide walkways between high points in the house. Shelves can be placed on walls or narrow pieces of wood can be placed between beams to create a catwalk.

Scratching Posts
Scratching is a normal behavior
– train your cat to use a scratching post by adding catnip.
– place the post in front of any furniture that they normally scratch and then slowly move it further away until it is in the desired location.
– reward your cat whenever they use the post.
– place tinfoil or cellophane over any spots you don’t want scratched to discourage them.
– posts with levels are extra fun!

Me Time!
Have a spot where your cat can go to feel safe or to get away from other pets or visitors if they are feeling anxious. You can use a cardboard box and cut a hole in the middle of one end just big enough for your cat to get in and out of, or buy a scratching post with an enclosed sleeping area. Placing an old sweatshirt that smells like you in it will also help them feel safe. Place it in an area where your cat can still watch the activity in the house.

Trips Outdoors
Use a harness and leash. Get your cat used to the harness first, and then train them to walk on leash by rewarding walking forward with tiny pieces of food.

Outdoor Enclosures
If your cat doesn’t like the harness, create an outdoor enclosure for them. Wire netting can be used to enclose an area alongside the house, and enclosures of different sizes can be connected with tunnels in between them and the house. Not a handyman? There are companies that make outdoor enclosures just for cats! Check out http://habitathaven.com for a catalog.

For more information or if you have questions, call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573 or visit our Facebook page!

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