The Catification Lady: Stop the Boredom, The Sequel!
Posted by Kathie, the Catification Lady on 1/4/2014 to The Catification Lady
The Vertical Cat - The Catification Lady blogOne crazy cat lady explores the depths of Cat Behavior, Catification, and Environment Enrichment.

Part 2 of 2

And you thought there were only seven ways to Stop The Kittycat Boredom. Think again!

While those first seven were covered in Part 1 of this article, here's twelve more...

8. Combine two toys, to make them new, exciting and unpredictable. While it can be good to switch out toys on a regular basis, you can also combine toys to make them more interesting. My cat Ziggy loves those little pop up cat houses so he can stalk his toys. Add in a Da Bird Feather Teaser, a string toy both my cats love, and he gets all the more excited as he stalks and catches the toy.

9. Cat's love to go up! Add vertical space to give your kitty exercise, a safe perch and kitty TV. Cat trees, wall-mounted cat shelves and even human furniture helps enrich your kitty's environment. Most cats will and should live the rest of their lives in a house or apartment. Imagine if you could never go outside and have only those few rooms to explore for the rest of your life. If you add a vertical environment, it can drastically increase the terrain, alleviate stress caused by other pets or a crowded household, and give your kitty other options to explore. Take a look around the areas your cat is in the most and consider how you might create vertical space with the furniture you have already. Then add to the vertical space with shelves when you can.

The Vertical Cat at Branford Compassion Club animal shelter

10. Take your cat for a walk. Yes, that's right. A walk. This isn't something all cats enjoy, but for the right cat it can give them an outlet which will drastically improve their life. You can get a halter at a pet store or online that's specifically made for small pets or cats. These halters hook at the top behind the cat's head so they don't pull on the cat's neck. Make sure the halter fits the cat snugly, but isn't too tight. Then pick up your cat, don't expect them to walk out, and take them outside. Make sure there aren't any dogs or other animals around that might scare your kitty. Taking a cat for a walk is more like taking your cat for a sniff. They seldom go in a straight line, but they enjoy sniffing and eating the grass and plants. If you cat starts to pull on the leash, go to her or pick her up. It may be a little scary at first, but easing your cat into taking a walk can enrich her life. One note, safety first. If your yard isn't fenced in, watch for dogs in the area. Pick up your cat at the first sign that an aggressive dog or dog you've never met before is near. And watch what your cat is eating. Grass is fine, but avoid plants you're not familiar with. Some plants are poisonous to cats, so just guide your kitty to a grassy area if you're unsure. Keep your walks short to start, just 10 or 15 minutes. You can extend the time as your cat becomes more comfortable being outside.

11. Brush your cat. Not all kitties like to be brushed, but many do. My short haired black cat, Ziggy, absolutely loves to be brushed. He'll literally sit on the arm of my chair and let me brush him for as long as I'm willing. My long haired cat, George, not so much. He quickly leaves when the brush comes out though I'm careful not to pull on any knots. It takes two of us to cut out tangles, and George hates the process. But brushing helps cut down on hairballs and keeps the fur from getting tangled and pulling on their skin. If your cat really hates brushing you may need to take her to a groomer. But before you decide your cat doesn't like or need to be brushed, give it a try with a nice soft brush watching to be careful around the face and ears. Your cat may be like Ziggy and enjoy the process.

The Vertical Cat12. Hiding treats. Most cats love treats and for many cats it doesn't hurt to give them a few a day. However, to make things more interesting, try putting treats around the house so your cat will have to work a bit to find them. It challenges their nose and their hunting skills. Initially put the treats out so they are easy to find and gradually make finding them a little more challenging. Once your cat gets the hang of it, it will be a great game for them.

13. Give your cat catnip. Throw a little excitement in your cat's week by giving them catnip once or twice a week. Like everything else, pay attention to how your cat reacts to catnip. It catnip winds your cat up so she attacks the other cats, either dial back how much you're giving or don't use it at all. But most cats enjoy a little catnip on a carpet sample or a small stuffed animal that's about a third the size of your cat. Give you kitty something to bite on and play with. Safety first: Make sure if you give your cat a stuffed animal, that any sewn or glued bits like eyes are secure or removed.

14. Kitty TV, Take 2! Get birds or fish. The little hunter in your life will love watching the movement in a fish tank or bird cage. Even a small tank or a smallish birdcage with a bird or two can give you kitty hours of fun. Safety first: You don't want to terrify the fish or birds by letting your cat paw at their home. So, make sure you've placed your fish tank or birdcage out of your kitty's reach. And fish tanks should have a top or screen covering.

15. Get a cat tent or build a catio. No, this one isn't for everyone. But the majority of cats do love the outdoors. There's a reason they get so excited when you open the windows to let fresh air in. They love it as much as we do. So start with a cat tent, which are affordable. And consider creating a screened in environment for your cat. A catio, or cat patio, which doesn't actually have to be a patio, is a great way to give your cat a safe place to enjoy the outdoors.

16. Kitty TV, Take 3! Actual kitty TV. DVDs like Cat Sitter are available which feature birds, fish and other creatures moving around in ways that some cats like to watch.

The Vertical Cat at Harmony House for Cats

17. Talk to your cat. My husband thinks I'm crazy. Yes, I talk to my cats and believe it or not they often talk back in their own way. While they do not, of course, understand what I'm saying, they do understand a tone of voice and they usually know their names.

18. Automated toys have the benefit of giving your cat some playtime without you actually having to do much other than turn it on. You can buy them at the pet store or online and they usually involve something moving. However, don't leave them on all the time or the cat will likely become bored with the toy. Turn them on and off. It's also a good idea to give your cat a treat or snack after they finish playing with the toy.

19. But mostly get creative! Life is busy and we can take our furry little friends for granted. So imagine living your cat's life and really think about how you can make it better. She's sharing her life with you and you both deserve to have a full, rich world to live in.

If you have any tips of how you have enriched your cat's life, send us an email or make a comment below and if you've got some good general tips, we'll make it the subject of a future blog.

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