Encourage Mental & Physical Activity When You're Not Home!
If you’re anything like me, a little part of your heart breaks every morning when you leave for work, and not just because you’d love to crawl back in bed. No, I’m talking about the guilt you feel leaving your cat at home alone.
For many urban pet owners, however, this is simply an unavoidable reality. While you try to play with and cuddle your little buddies as much as possible when you’re home, you probably worry about what they do when you’re out for a while. I’m here to tell you to stop worrying and start making your home a kitty paradise.
Before making your home stimulating, make sure that it’s safe. As you know, cats can get themselves into the darndest places and situations out of sheer curiosity. While there are some things you simply can’t predict, there are several precautionary measures you can take.
First, you should be sure to remove delicate breakables from surfaces that are also tempting cat perches. If something breaks, you’ll be upset, but your cat may also get hurt by attempting to play with or chew on broken glass. Here are a few other steps you should take to keep your cat safe:
Domestic cats still have many of the same instincts as wild cats. One common instinct is hanging out in high places. They feel safe up high because they can survey their surroundings and spot any predators (even non-existent ones). Most cats have amazing jumping abilities and can easily reach very high spots in your home. However, some of these might not be places where you want your cat to sit. If that’s the case, provide other appropriate perches.
If you’re willing to invest a bit of money, you can purchase multi-leveled cat trees or shelves that are made specifically as cat perches. Otherwise, just use what you’ve got – put a blanket or towel on a bit of cleared space on a shelf or the top of a high dresser or cabinet. You can even build your own kitty jungle gym by attaching cardboard boxes at different levels.
As much as cats like to reign over a room from on high, they also like to burrow away in little hiding spots. Even when they’re all alone, they may get the urge to hide out for a while. As you’ve probably seen, cats often find their own hiding spots and, as long as they’re safe, they can stay as they are. Just be sure that Fluffy doesn’t end up trapped if he tends to hang out in places like closets.
It’s likely that your cat spends a great deal of her solo time snoozing away, so having a few comfy nap zones is key. Felines are very scent-oriented, so try putting an old piece of clothing that smells like you in their bed – the familiarity will comfort them immensely when you’re not home. Consider the placement as well; position cat beds near heating vents or in the sun to make them even more inviting. And, when I say “cat bed,” remember that it can be something as simple as a folded-up fuzzy blanket or a cardboard box with a pillow.
When cats aren’t sleeping or eating, they’re usually playing. If you don’t provide a few fun toys, your feline friend may end up creating his own toys out of your belongings. For example, if you don’t want your furniture shredded, be sure to have a couple of scratching posts – it’s a good idea to offer both horizontal and vertical surfaces as different cats have different scratching tendencies.
As you probably know, cats’ favorite kind of play is predatory. Though you’re not there to make the toys come to life, there are several options that move automatically or can be moved by cats. Here are a few good ones:
You don’t have to spend a lot to keep cats amused. If you’ve ever seen your cat play with a paper bag or shipping box, you know how easily entertained they are. Just be sure to occasionally rotate in new toys to keep them interested.
Even the most domesticated house cat still feels the desire to hunt for his dinner. While you can’t release live prey in your home, you can make eating fun and challenging. There are a few types of interactive food centers on the market, but they all have the same idea: get cats to use their hunting instincts to access hard-to-reach treats or food to make feeding a stimulating experience. One reasonably-priced version is made by Aikiou.
If you have an indoor cat, it’s crucial that they have access to windows that face outside. It may not seem very interesting to you, but a squirrel scurrying across a telephone wire is the height of entertainment for your cat. When possible, leave a window open to let the strange and fascinating outside smells in. If you do crack a window, ensure that it has a secure screen or bars to prevent any accidents.
Your furry friends might not jump on you like a dog when you walk through the door, but you know that they’re happier when you’re around. While you can’t be there all the time, you certainly can make your home a more fun place to spend a few solo hours.
Narayan Khalsa is a Co-founder of Effective Pet Wellness, a company specializing in clearing infectious diseases is equines, cats, and dogs. Effective Pet Wellness provides 100% guaranteed herbal formulas that are designed to eliminate all known infections, including heart worms and Lyme Disease. Narayan also specializes in natural animal care practices. For more information, visit Effective Pet Wellness or connect with Narayan on Google+.