When the weather warms up, many of us will be spending more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine. As a result, your cat will be left at home alone more often than in the colder months. Cats make great companions and because of their independent nature, they are content being home alone. But just like other animals, cats can get bored if they are not given sufficient stimulation. A bored cat can turn into a destructive cat, which can result in anxious behaviour and may even cause a cat to attack its owner!
Keep your cat occupied and under control with these great boredom busters:
The height advantage
Provide shelves at various heights around your home to give your cat a variety of different views. Places for them to sit by the window give cats a chance to enjoy the outside world. Cats feel safe (and superior) on elevated perches as it allows them to survey their surrounding areas.
The joy of toys
While there are great toys available, there are many that you can make yourself using things like tinfoil, empty toilet roll holders or ping-pong balls. Try tying toys to the waistband of your clothes and walk around for your cat to chase. And make sure you rotate toys to keep your cat interested.
Hide and seek
Cats love boxes. So next time you bring a new purchase home, don’t recycle the box straight away. Cut holes in the box, turn it upside down and give your cat a retreat. Alternatively you could make it into a cat tunnel for them to hide in and jump out when you least expect it!
Starting from scratch
Provide scratching posts for your cat. You can find these at your local pet store, or you can use a tree trunk. These should be placed in prominent positions and at different angles.
Hunting skills satisfied
Provide your feline friend with an array of delicious snacks or treats. Try hiding them around your home or in their dry food for the cat to “hunt”. You can also hide their favourite toys or hide from your cat and get them to hunt you.
Train your cat
Training your cat can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Use tasty treats to reward your cat for good behaviour like using the litter tray, coming for food or lifting a paw. Did you know you can even teach a cat tricks? Watch our video on how to do this.
Many cats like catnip or other cat-friendly plants, so if you have a garden you might want to think about growing some for your cat to nibble on. If you live in an apartment, look for catnip toys and watch your cat roll around as they become intoxicated by the scent.
A great way to keep your cat entertained at all times is to get another one. Cats are social animals and their behaviour can benefit greatly when introducing another cat gradually and carefully.
Make sure your cat is covered with the essentials like clean litter trays. It’s important to equip your home with one litter tray per cat.
Cats need interaction with their owners, which is why plenty of playtime and lots of cuddles are the essential ingredients for a happy cat.
About Dr Joanne Righetti
Dr Joanne Righetti is an animal behaviourist, educating the public and professionals in all aspects of the human–animal relationship. Her background is in zoology, with a PhD in animal behaviour and a counselling diploma – qualifications which enable her to work with all sorts of animals – including the human variety! Joanne likes to help pet owners understand their pet's behaviour and solve any pet behaviour problems. She also consults to a variety of organisations including non-profit organisations, commercial companies and councils and is involved in a variety of media including regular spots on radio. Joanne is an honorary associate of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Sydney. Find out more about Joanne at www.petproblemsolved.com.au