Imagine spending all day, every day sleeping, eating, and staring out the window of your home. It would get boring pretty fast. Well, that's the life of your indoor cat unless you provide it with some mental and physical stimulation to keep it happy and healthy.
Here are 10 tips on how to make your kitty happier.
- Go vertical. Cats are, by nature, climbers. That's why you should provide your cat with the opportunity to survey its world from a high vantage point. Tall, carpeted, cat-friendly climbing towers are available at most pet stores and are easily installed. Locate them in a spot where the family gathers so your cat can enjoy the action from above. Don't put the tower in an unused bedroom or an out-of-the-way corner. Your cat probably won't use it if it's tucked away from the main activity center of your home.
- Build shelves. If you don't like the look of a cat tower in your living room, try building some easily accessible shelves where your cat can roam. Just make sure the shelves are covered with some nonslip material to keep your kitty from sliding off the edge. You can even disguise the shelves with a few books at one end if you want them to blend in with your decor.
- Enjoy the high life. One no-fail method of livening up a laid-back kitty is with catnip. This harmless herb puts your cat in a temporary euphoric state when it sniffs or ingests the leaves (dried leaves are more potent than fresh leaves). Each catnip leaf contains the oil nepetalactone, which is what causes your pet to go a little crazy. However, only about 50 percent of cats have the gene that reacts with the plant; don't be too surprised if your pet doesn't act like it's at a rock concert. Also, kittens under the age of six months might not react to catnip. Offer catnip as living plants, stuffed into toys, or as a spray.
- Try tricks. Dogs aren't the only pets that can learn tricks. Cats are also trainable, especially if you start while they are young. Start by assessing your cat's talents. If it likes to leap, then you probably can teach it to jump hurdles on command. Or, if it's more inclined to keep all four paws on the ground, try teaching it to roll over or juggle a small ball on its back. Unlike dogs, not all cats are treat-motivated, but with repetition, patience, and lots of praise, you will find a combination that motivates your cat. And, if it's still not interested in becoming a trickster, the time you spend with your cat on training will keep it active and create a stronger bond with you.
Check out these cat fitness tips.
Learn to communicate better with your cat!