Cats are not supposed to be couch potatoes! Often they sleep a lot because they are bored—and lonely. While indoor cats are much safer, they do lose out on the sights and sounds of nature. So, it’s important to compensate to ensure your cat is both mentally and physically stimulated. Fortunately, there are lots of fabulous interactive games and toys to keep your feline friend engaged. Besides, this is a great way to spend quality time together! Try these fun ideas:
A game with a laser is a great way to exercise your cat. It also allows you to multi-task and enjoy a cup of coffee, and possibly even read a book while commandeering a red dot to fly around the room and shimmy across the floor. Many laser toys come with different heads so that you can exchange the ordinary dot for an insect-shaped one—lasers are great because they rev up a cat’s prey drive. A few things to keep in mind when playing with lasers:
• make sure the beam rests in a spot long enough for your cat to pounce and try to capture her prey
• never shine the beam directly at her face and eyes
• laser play isn’t really fair because there is nothing for your cat to actually catch, so place treats where the dot lands from time to time to give your cat a triumph!
Wand toys actually simulate prey such as birds and insects in motion and will really rev up your felines prey drive and hone her instinctive hunting skills. There is a fabulous selection available in pet stores that feature all kinds of fun objects on the dangle end, from feathers and crinkly papers to realistic-looking insects that move and wriggle to pique feline interest. There are also fishing rods with little catnip-filled fish on the end that you can throw out and reel in to rev up the fun.
Cat that love to play fetch can be taught to bring a wand to you for a play session, so you can throw it, encouraging her to retrieve it and bring it back to you to start the game up all over again.
When playing together, make sure that you move the wand across and away from yourself to prevent your cat from accidentally clawing you. You can also trail it along the ground and allow her to practice her pouncing skills.
There are an excellent variety of inexpensive balls, which cats love to bat around. (You will likely need to stock up because often they bat them away to inaccessible places!) Look for balls that chirp and make interesting noises and also for fabric-covered ones with feathers attached. The fabric allows a cat to grab them and toss them high in the air.
There is also an excellent selection of track games with balls slotted on the track, which allows your cat to play on her own or with other cats in the family. You can get involved with these games by placing some treats on the track for the felines to work to remove. Some tracks have balls with flashing lights that will allow your pets to have fun when you’re out for an evening and they are home alone.
Battery-Operated Interactive Toys
There is a wonderful and growing selection of battery-operated toys designed to taunt feline curiosity. A battery-operated remote-controlled mouse will also have your feline darting all over the room; some of the best ones include mice on a track that scurry about. There are also dual-head lasers that work to keep multiple cats involved at the same time. Best of all, some of these toys are so sophisticated that they can be programmed to switch on and initiate play while you are out!
Both cats and kids love bubbles, so let them play together. Ordinary bubbles will provide endless fun, but your cat will enjoy a special catnip bubble solution available from most pet stores even more.