Cats can get bored too!

There is ample evidence that cats can and do get bored. Eliciting a cat’s natural behaviors with hunting and foraging games can do wonders for your companion’s well-being.

With a little creativity, you can keep your cat stimulated and interested, and on a limited budget or with no outlay at all(This is an excellent way to recylce items that are usually thrown away!). The good news is that enrichment research has shown that toys that are removed and then returned after several weeks regain much of their novelty; extend your enrichment budget by rotating your cat’s toys regularly.

Foraging Fun

Separate each day’s food rations into small batches. Place the clusters around the house and then toss a few small treats in random directions. Not only will this encourage active foraging, it’ll also keep kitty from scoffing down her food too quickly.

Pleasurable Puzzles

I make puzzles for the cats in our Rescue Centre. These are very simple and made with items usually thrown away, such as old yoghurt pots. I glue several yoghurt pots to a shallow box and then place the cat’s normal food in the pots, so that they have to fish them out one by one. This keeps them entertained and can also help with overweight cats.

You can make pyramids out of the tubes in the middle of toilet or kitchen rolls. Cats love to put their paws into crevices and pull out a prize, start with 4 or 5 tubes at the bottom and work up to just one at the top

Any plastic container with a secure lid can become a hanging puzzle. Just cut two or three slots around the bottom outer edge of the container and place a few treats in the center. String a cord through the lid and hang this puzzle over a doorknob. Once your cat gets the hang of it, you can encourage exercise by raising it higher.

Scent Searching

Use old socks as washable scent baits. Just mark the sock with a dab of perfume, lotion, vanilla extract or even peanut butter, or place a pinch of any aromatic spice inside, then rub it over a slice of lunchmeat to pick up the scent(you can also buy spray catnip, my cat Indi loves this ). Scatter the socks throughout the house and your cat will be on the prowl for hours, delighted by the variety of scents. If you’re pressed for time, simply mark a scent trail with a bit of cheese and then hide the cheese at the end of the trail.

Mouse Trap

Leave a ping-pong ball in the bathtub and watch as your cat makes it sail around the curves during her hunt for the elusive orb.

Crafty Cardboard

Use cardboard boxes as beds, dens, tunnels and mazes.

Make a “busy box” by attaching small toys to short lengths of cord and suspending them from the ceiling of a large box. Cut window flaps in the den at various heights.

Add a “Tiger Tug,” ’ a miniature version of a game popular with both tigers and chimps. Feed both ends of a length of parachute cord into the box through small holes. Tie a toy or a large knot on each end. When the cat tugs at one end, the other end mysteriously comes to life. For multicat households, you run the ends into separate boxes.

I’ll try to get some photos of those I have made - back in a while!!

Here are some that I made earlier.

If you are interested I have a very, very simple knitting pattern to make woollen mice. You can stuff these with catnip for better effect!

The funny coloured thing with feathers sticking out is just some scraps of material plaited with feathers stuck in it, our cats adore these, and wreck them just as easily as they are made but have great fun in doing so!