Although cats are known for their independence, it is up to us as their fur parents to ensure that they live their healthiest lives. One area, in particular, is maintaining the mental health of your cat throughout their life.
Cats are likely to have fewer cognitive issues as they age if their minds are kept active and stimulated on a regular basis. We have detailed various enrichment activities and experiences that will help keep your cat’s brain healthy.
If You Want Quick and Simple
Everyday playtime: To keep your cat interested in play, make sure you have a good variety of toys on hand. Some cats prefer to play with toys themselves while others like when their owners play with them. Whatever your cat prefers, setting aside time for play is a great way to keep them youthful and active.
Learn to play fetch: You can teach cats how to play fetch too! You just need to find a toy that your cat likes, toss it nearby while using a “fetch” command, and as they snatch it in their mouth, you would lure them back with a treat. Playing fetch with your cat is a great form of exercise and will keep their hunting and pouncing instincts sharp. This is a fun, easy game you can play with your cat at any time.
If You Want Home Made
Treasure hunting: To make mealtime a little bit more interesting, you can set up a treasure hunt around your home where your cat can search for the food. You can hide one or more little plates with morsels in various types of hiding spots. Start by guiding your cat as they won’t necessarily know to start looking on their own. This activity will give them an opportunity to satisfy their natural hunting skills.
Create an agility course: Homemade agility training is a fantastic enrichment activity that you can do with your cat. You can buy special cat toys and furniture to create an agility course but you can also start by simply using what you have around the house. Cardboard boxes, paper bags, furniture, and other home items can be used to set up a course where your cat is prompted to tunnel, jump and climb. Your cat will likely need a bit of guidance from you to understand what is expected of them – you can lure your cat along with a dangling toy and reward them once they have completed the course. The better your cat gets at agility, the more complex you can design these courses!
If You Want to Buy
Solve a puzzle: If you want something that will keep your cat’s attention and don’t have the time or skill to create your own, there are many puzzles you can buy. Solving a puzzle will help keep your cat entertained as well as mentally sharp. As most puzzles are built to dispense a treat upon completion, your cat will also be rewarded for their hard work.
Get some cat furniture: Cat trees and other cat furniture can be expensive but are often a worthwhile investment that your cat will make good use of. Cats often like to be perched up high and love having the option to climb and pounce around in their own space.
If You Want the Outdoors
Take your cat for a walk: People don’t usually associate cats with going for walks but it can be a great way to give your cat exercise and mental stimulation. Going outside, even if it’s just to the backyard, is like giving your cat a whole new world to experience and explore. Make sure you purchase a harness and leash that will fit your cat properly – you don’t want them slipping away. It is a good idea to train your cat to be comfortable walking with a harness before heading outside.
Set up a “catio”: If your cat likes spending time outside, another option is to purchase an outdoor enclosure or a “catio”, that your cat can safely lounge around in while experiencing nature at the same time. A catio can be purchased or built yourself if you’re handy, and some people even have them set up against the house so the cat wanders in and out as they please. Be sure that your cat is wearing their collar with an identification tag any time you bring them outside.
Almost outdoors: If your cat doesn’t actually love going outside but still enjoys the mental stimulation of the outdoor setting, you can set up a perch by a window just for them. Here they can lounge in the sun and watch the action outside.
We hope that this list has inspired you to try new activities to help enrich your cat’s mind. It is equally important to spend time with your cat to reinforce your bond as it is to nurture their brain, so many of these activities also promote bonding time with your fur baby.
Be sure to keep in mind that all cats have individual personalities and so they will likely enjoy some activities and experiences more than others. We know there are many other fun and enriching things you and your cat can do together, please leave your favorites in the comments below!
Want to keep your cat happy and active while you are away, check out our cat sitting services.