Living with a cat in the Windy City can present some challenges with keeping your companion fit—both mentally and physically! Keeping your cat active and engaged can help them stay happy and healthy, so let’s take a look at a few ways to give your kitty some exercise and mental engagement.
First, setting a routine for your cat can be a very good way to help them feel more relaxed and confident in their home. Scheduling certain times for eating and playing can help ensure your kitty stays happy and secure! Time set aside just for play can also strengthen the bond between you and your cat, so it’s a win-win!
If you choose to schedule playtime, be sure to work in toys that you know your cat loves. String and feather toys are popular favorites, and laser toys are a fun way to help keep your cat active! Who doesn’t love chasing that fun red dot?!
Another fun way to play with your cat is to work on training. Many people think that cats don’t take well to training, but that’s not always true! Using high value treats (like your cat’s favorite crunchy treat or even tuna—whatever your kitty loves), you can train your cat to high five, sit, come—anything you think you may be able to train a dog to do! Some cats can even be trained to walk on a leash, but make sure to speak to your veterinarian and ensure your cat is up-to-date on his or her vaccinations before attempting to venture outside. Also be sure to take your cat’s personality into account when starting training. Teaching tricks is meant to keep your cat mentally engaged and confident, and if they aren’t enjoying it, you need to recognize and respect that. Sometimes a kitty may not want to learn new tricks! (Learn more about reading your cat’s body language in our Check Up with Blum article here.)
Playing with and training your cat not only helps them stay mentally sound, but it helps them physically as well. Since most of our Chicago kitties stay indoors exclusively, being overweight is a common problem. Having regularly scheduled playtime helps keep your cat active and can help keep their weight under control!
On the topic of weight, mealtime is another great time to engage your cat mentally and physically. Food puzzles can slow down kitties who tend to gobble down their food very fast, and it also helps them hone their problem-solving skills. Hiding treats and food around your home in food toys (like fake mice!) can also help satisfy your kitty’s hunting instincts. And if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on treat holders, you can make your own by folding the ends of a toilet paper roll and placing treats or kibble inside!
Keeping your cat active and healthy mentally and physically can sometimes be a challenge, but in the end, it helps your kitty stay happy, which is all we ever want as pet parents! If you have questions or concerns about your cat’s particular needs, don’t be afraid to reach out to your vet for help as well! And if you want to create regularly scheduled play time for your kitty but can’t always dedicate the amount of time you think your cat deserves due to a hectic schedule, ask Windy City Paws about our daily cat visits!
Try different techniques until you find the balance that’s “purrfect” for you and your kitty.