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Fun Activities With Your Cat: DIY Edition

Yes, there are lots of ways to keep your cat entertained that are inexpensive. If it fits, I sits! Cardboard boxes and paper grocery bags are definitely your friend here.


It’s great to be creative and give your cat lots of fun options to keep entertained. If you don’t provide the fun, your cat will be creative and they may not choose your favorite way to keep busy.


Here are some additional ideas for fun activities for your cat.

A cat lying on top of puzzle pieces.

SLOW FEEDERS, PUZZLE FEEDERS, AND TREAT DISPENSING TOYS

I am a big fan of ditching the bowl and encouraging cats to use their hunting skills to work a little bit for their food. While it may not be appropriate for all cats at all times of their life, this is a good tip for most cats. I’m also a fan of feeding your cat 3-5 small meals throughout the day, if you can manage it, and a big proponent of the “just before you go to bed” little snack to keep your cat cozy while you sleep. 


While there are some fancy toys you can buy on my splurge edition the website, foodpuzzleforcats.com, has some great DIY options. Don’t forget the humble toilet and paper towel roll. Place a couple treats or kibble inside, fold the ends, and toss this to your cat for a fun, quick, safe game. You can cut a couple of small holes in the side to make a treat-dispensing toy.


ENCOURAGING EXPLORATION 

Hide hard treats or kibble in some of your cat’s favorite places (and the places you like your cat to spend time) for them to find. Don’t forget your cat’s carrier! This is step one for teaching them the carrier is a fun place to visit.


Here a bag, there a box: Leave paper grocery bags and cardboard boxes out for your cat to explore. Put them up in your cat’s favorite places. Hide treats or new smells (catnip, outdoor leaves) inside for your cat to find.


Bring the outdoors in. You are keeping your cat indoors for their safety, but you can bring safe scents and textures inside for them to explore: grass, fall leaves, snow, and cat safe plants and flowers. Some safe choices for cats include gerbera daisies, roses, snapdragons, sunflowers, cilantro, dill, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, catnip, and wheatgrass. You can grow fresh herbs inside for your cat as well. See ASPCA’s list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic for cats.


CAT TV OR CALMING MUSIC FOR CATS

Leave the television or an iPad on so your cat can enjoy watching birds and squirrels while you are out or play music made for cats. Check out Relax My Cat.


ALL I REALLY WANT IS YOU: EASY TRAINING GAMES 

AND YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION

Did you know that in a study of cat preferences for activities, human social interaction was the favorite? Cats do love and want to spend time with us. Here are some ideas to spend time with your cat.

A cta sitting in a plastic bin.

Train your cat! Yes, you can train your cat and target training is a fun place to start. Use a pair of chopsticks, a spoon, or a wooden dowel. Count out 10 treats or 10 pieces of kibble if your cat is very food motivated. When your cat touches their nose to the target, say “Yes!” and follow quickly with a treat placed in front of them. Be ready the first time you present the object, when your cat is almost certain to sniff. As you play this game more often, slowly move the target further away. Watch this video: Target Stick Training for Cats.


Five minutes of wand toy play: Play with your cat. This is a great just before bed activity. Or, anytime! Especially if your cat asks politely, reward this!


Cat meditation or doting. Turn off the tv, put away your phone, and just sit quietly loving your cat for 3-5 minutes. Or, if you like, you can read aloud to your cat. They will love to have your undivided attention. It’s time well spent!

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