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How to keep your indoor cat mentally stimulated

How to keep your indoor cat mentally stimulated

If you have a cat that spends a lot of time indoors, you might wonder how to keep him from getting bored. A cat’s active mind thrives on challenges, so if their environment does not provide them with something to focus on, they will soon create problems to solve. That can include picking a fight with the furniture or waking you up in the middle of the night for some impromptu play. Instead of letting all that pent-up energy turn your domestic cat into a miniature lion, channel it into fun activities with stimulating toys and games. 

However, when we need a break from the kitty chaos and have to leave them home alone, they can become bored and destructive. Irrespective of your cat’s breed, you’ll need to keep them mentally stimulated when training your cat. So, how do you keep your indoor cat happy and mentally stimulated?

Cat chat time

Cat chat time
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Talking is the most beneficial interaction between you and your cat. While it may not seem like play, it’s meaningful to your cat. That is even more important for cats who don’t like to be touched and helps build trust between the cat and its owner. To communicate with your cat, get down to their level and maintain an average conversational distance.

Maintain a relaxed demeanour and avoid staring, as this will make your cat feel threatened. Slowly blink, especially after your cat blinks. A cat blinking indicates that they are relaxed because they no longer need to monitor your actions constantly. Your response blink is your way of expressing that you, too, are at ease. Reward your cat with treats whenever it responds it a response to you

Change cat toys regularly

Change cat toys regularly
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Cats can and do become bored with the same toys over time. You can mitigate this by keeping a box of toys out of reach of your cat and bringing out a few at a time, rotating them regularly. Wand toys should also be put away after an interactive play session for two reasons:

  1. Your cat won’t be impressed if a dead wand toy suddenly springs to life since it will see it as “dead prey” on the floor.
  2. The risk of your cat tangled in the string portion of the toy while you’re not around to watch comes with leaving out wand toys.

Try making use of interactive cat toys as well. You can sometimes revitalize old toys with catnip or honeysuckle spray. This technique can renew your cat’s interest in a toy that he’s gotten bored with and is ignoring. You could also use DIY toys to keep your Lil fella happy. Even a paper ball can keep your cat entertained for the entire afternoon. And which cat can resist playing with toilet paper tubes, especially if it’s transformed into a puzzle toy? If you enjoy crafts and hobbies, a homemade pom-pom will earn you many points from your cat, who will go crazy chasing and hitting it across the room.

Good Cat Scratching Posts Are a “Must”

Good Cat Scratching Posts Are a Must
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Cats scratch to relieve stress, exercise, and mark their territory. They can become stressed and exhibit negative behaviours such as urinating and scratching if they don’t have good scratching posts. Invest in a good cat scratcher.

A good scratching post is sturdy, so it won’t wobble or fall over when the cat leans against it. It must be tall enough for the cat to stretch his body up for a good back stretch. A good scratching post is covered in a material that won’t catch and pull on claws and is satisfying to scratch. The best scratching surfaces for cats are sisal fabric and heavy corrugated cardboard.

Let Your Cat Hunt for Food

Let Your Cat Hunt for Food
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You can encourage this by dividing your cat’s daily food allowance into smaller portions and hiding them around the house. Hence, your cat has to stalk and hunt for food. That gives him extra exercise and mental stimulation, which is especially important if you’re gone for the day. You may need to encourage your kitty to find the food first, guiding him until he understands what you’ve done and what he needs to do to get his food every day.

You can also stuff some of your cat’s kibble into a puzzle toy he can play with all day— a puzzle feeder. The puzzle feeder stimulates both brain and muscles as your cat works to solve the puzzle to get to its food. After all, pouncing on a toy to get their next meal isn’t all that different from stalking and knocking live prey for the same reason. Who needs to go hunting when bashing the puzzle feeder and being rewarded for it is just as much fun?

Maximize the Space You Have

Maximize the Space You Have
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When your cat is confined to the house, maximizing the enrichment he receives from the environment is critical. Provide kitty hiding places, such as Cat Caves, because cats enjoy hiding and watching what’s happening while feeling invisible.

Many cats also prefer to hang out high to observe what’s going on below them without becoming involved if they don’t want to. Tall scratching posts and cat trees can be provided, as well as space on high shelves (make sure to bolt them to the wall for safety) or the refrigerator top. Some people even build elaborate catwalks near the tops of their walls for their cats to enjoy.

When you are not at home, keep entertainment available.

When you are not at home keep entertainment available
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When you are not at home, indoor cats can become bored. You can help alleviate this by hiding their food in portions described above and purchasing an automatic cat toy with a “play while you are away” function. You can program these toys to turn on at random, giving your cat something to look forward to and enjoy while he’s at home alone.

Automated cat toys turn on randomly or have a motion sensor that activates whenever it detects movement. They’re ideal for keeping the cat entertained on those lonely days at home.

Explore vertical space with a cat tree

Explore vertical space with a cat tree
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You can put the gravity-defying antics of your indoor cat to good use in the confines of your home. Cats are just as comfortable moving upwards as they are moving horizontally, so provide a way for your cat to get up high without clambering all over your curtains.

A cat tree is the simplest way to get your cat scratching and stretching from simple poles to trees, complete with a cat condo and lounge caves where they can hide. This piece of cat furniture will satisfy all of their climbing desires while also providing your cat with the mental stimulation that climbing a real tree provides.

Purchase a pre-made cat tree (sometimes known as a “kitty condo”) or build one yourself. A cat tree can be compact or extend all the way to the ceiling. Utilizing vertical space offers fantastic climbing opportunities and creates more play and rest locations in houses with multiple cats. If possible, place the cat tree close to a window so your cat can observe the activity outside.

The truth is that you can keep your indoor cat mentally stimulated. As a pet owner, you must keep your cat happy and healthy. There will be times when you have to get creative with how you do this, but don’t give up on your cat. Challenge them, play with them and further their physical and mental stimulation. 

We at The Barking Lot will care for your feline babies while you are away. That’s right- we also welcome our feline friends! Our cattery is well furnished to give our visitors plenty of playtime and downtime. While we know that our feline visitors enjoy a good night’s sleep in our comfortable suites. We actively encourage them to play in the indoor and outdoor areas we have developed specifically for them.

We have created a unique and completely secure outdoor Catio to benefit our kitty visitors while in our care. Have fun! They’ll want to come back for more; we’re sure of it!

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