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Enrichment and Play: A Guide for New Cat Owners

by Higooga Team 15 May 2024

Enrichment and Play: A Guide for New Cat Owners | Higooga

As a new cat owner, you might be wondering how to keep your cat happy, mentally stimulated, and physically active. Well, you’re in the right place! This article will provide you with some fun and interactive activities that will not only keep your cat entertained but also help strengthen the bond between you and your feline friend. Let’s dive in!

1. Interactive Play Sessions

Cats are natural hunters. Interactive play sessions can satisfy their hunting instincts. Toys that mimic prey, such as a feather wand or a laser pointer, can engage your cat in a "hunt". Dangling toys are a great way to engage your cat’s natural hunting instincts without risking your hands. Remember, it’s important not to use your hands as toys because cats might start to associate your hands with prey.

How:

  • Simulate the movements of prey (like a bird or mouse) with the toy.

  • To maintain your cat's interest, let them 'catch' the 'prey' occasionally.

  • Try to have two 15-minute play sessions each day.

Enrichment and Play: A Guide for New Cat Owners | Higooga

2. Puzzle Feeders

Puzzle feeders are excellent tools that serve to engage your cat's cognitive skills, while also serving the practical purpose of slowing down their eating pace. The food is cleverly hidden or trapped within the feeder's compartments, which demands effort from your cat to retrieve it. This challenge not only keeps your cat mentally stimulated, it also adds an element of fun to their meal times. It's a fantastic way to keep your cat occupied and mentally sharp.

How:

  • Fill the puzzle feeder with your cat’s usual dry food or treats.

  • Demonstrate to your cat how it functions by gently shaking it to dispense food.

  • Allow your cat to figure out how to retrieve the food.

Enrichment and Play: A Guide for New Cat Owners | Higooga

3. Catnip Toys

Many cats have an undeniable affection for catnip. This herb, which is both safe and natural, has a unique effect on our feline friends. It stimulates their senses, triggering a sense of euphoria and excitement that can transform an ordinary play session into a captivating and exhilarating experience. Not only does it make playtime more engaging, but it also serves as a fantastic tool for mental stimulation, keeping your cat alert and active.

How:

  • Purchase some catnip toys or create your own by stuffing a small cloth pouch with catnip.

  • Give the toy to your cat during playtime.

  • Keep in mind that some cats are more sensitive to catnip than others. Observe your cat's response. Initially, you may want to restrict catnip playtime to shorter durations and gradually extend it as your cat becomes more accustomed to it.

Enrichment and Play: A Guide for New Cat Owners | Higooga

4. Window Perches

Cats are naturally curious creatures and love to keep an eye on the world around them. Offering them a cozy, comfortable spot by the window allows them to indulge in their favorite pastime - watching the world go by. This can be as simple as a cushioned perch or a cat tree placed near a window. From here, your cat can enjoy the outdoor views, watch birds and people, and even bask in the warmth of the sun. This simple setup can provide endless hours of entertainment and mental stimulation for your feline friend.

How:

  • Install a cat window perch following the product's instructions.

  • Ensure the perch is secure and can support your cat's weight.

  • Place a soft blanket on it for additional comfort.

Enrichment and Play: A Guide for New Cat Owners | Higooga

5. Hide and Seek

Engaging in a game of hide and seek can be an entertaining and stimulating activity for your cat. This activity primarily taps into your cat's natural hunting instincts. There are two variations of this game that you can try. The first option is to hide yourself, making this an interactive and bonding experience as your cat seeks to find you. The second option involves hiding toys in various places around your living space. Your cat will then embark on a thrilling 'hunt' to find these hidden treasures. Both these variations not only provide your cat with physical exercise but also stimulate their cognitive skills as they strategize and solve the 'mystery' of the hidden objects.

How:
  • Start the game by showing your cat its favorite toy, then hide it while they're watching.
  • Encourage your cat to find the toy.
  • When they find it, praise them and then start the game over, or offer them a small treat as a reward.

Remember, every cat is unique. What works for one might not necessarily work for another. It's all about discovering what your cat enjoys and what keeps them engaged. The key is to spend quality time together, strengthening your bond, and having fun. Enjoy your playtime!

 

 

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💡 This article is intended to provide information and inspiration regarding pet care. However, it should not be construed as professional veterinary advice. If you have further queries about your pet's health, require medical advice, or if your pet exhibits signs of illness, it is strongly recommended to arrange a comprehensive consultation and check-up with a licensed veterinarian.

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