The feline frolics list:
1. Fan Fare
If you have an overhead fan in your house, then providing fun for your cat is easy. Use a small bulldog clip or clothes pet to ttach a length of ribbon with a piece of folded paper, or a cork with feathers glued to it, to the frame of your fan. Turn it on to a slow speed and let your cat chase the ‘clattering paper mouse’ as it flies around the room. Remove any delicate china first! As the cat learns the game, move the elastic further out along the blade of the fan so that it moves faster. Just be sure to monitor the game for safety.
2. Patty Pan Party
Hide titbits of tasty food in and around the house so that the cat has to hunt for them. This appeals to their hunting instinct, stimulates exploration and fortifies the notion that the house is a fun area to be in.
Do this by securing half a dozen paper cake patty pans in various high and low locations around your house. Place a blob of blue-tac under each patty pan so that they don’t move.
Now place a small quantity of your cat’s normal dry food in each and a ‘cherry’ on the cake by also including a flavoured dry food treat such as a Whiskas Craver or similar. There are lots of taste varieties
As the cat mooches around for the food, he or she will find a different reward for their exploratory exploits each time it unearths a new patty pan.
3. Kong Toys
Kong Toys are wonderful. They are rubber, cone-shaped ‘balls’ that resemble the Michelin Man without his arms and legs. Due to their shape, they roll
around the floor and bounce unpredictably. Cats find that stimulating. The Kong also has a hole in the middle. This can be packed with food rewards such as dried liver treats or dried fish or you can smear Anchovette Paste or Liverwurst in the hole. The cat’s job is to work out how to get the food out.
4. Magic Milk Carton
A milk carton can mimic a Kong Toy. Cut the bottom off a plastic 2 litre milk carton. Open the cap and smear Liverwurst or Anchovette paste inside the lid.
Replace the lid and watch the cat attempt to lick and find the food treat by jumping head first into the milk carton. You can also cut a paw-sized hole or two in the side of a milk carton and place food treats inside. The cat will roll the carton around trying to work out how to get the food out. Try putting a rubber band from the base of the carton through to the cap. Place a paddle pop stick or a feather or two in
the rubber band. The paddle pop stick should be long enough to just catch the edge of the milk carton. Wind it up the rubber band and when Puss puts is paw in the hole to get the food the paddle pop stick will move a few times. Puss will be fascinated.
5. Frozen Cows
Next time they are on special, buy several lactose-free milk packs from the pet section of your supermarket. Throw them in your freezer. As you leave for work, cut a large slash in the carton and leave it in the cat’s food dish. The milk will slowly melt into the dish and provide a delayed release reward for the cat.
6. The Food Sprinkler
From your pet shop, purchase a Cat Mate automatic pet feeder. There are several similar products, and they all operate on the same principle. They contain a food tray which is sealed with a flap. The flap is controlled by a timer that will open the flap and give access to the food at the time you set. That’s interesting for a bored Puss Cat. However there is a deluxe version. Use velcro to fasten the unit upside down under a table or on a beam inside your house. Now place a rubber door mat (the type with big holes in it) under the unit. Why??? Because when the flap opens some hours after you leave, the food will drop to the mat and sink into the holes. Puss will be delighted with the challenge that you have presented!
7. Carton maze
Make a maze from some old shoe boxes or other cardboard boxes. Have some ‘poke and peep’ holes in each box. Poke pencils through the holes or pull a piece of string with a paper mouse on the end through the maze. Your cat is likely to chase the mice, attack pencils placed through the holes and generally have fun exploring. Put some food titbits in the maze to stimulate exploration.
8. Paper Bag Park
Scatter a selection of paper bags around the house. Have holes in them for ‘peeping and poking’.
9. Laser Light Leaping
If you have access to a laser pointer, flash this around the walls to get your cat to chase it. Commercial versions of this are now available for cats. Just be sure not to shine the laser into the cat’s eyes.
10. Weasel Whumping
If you can find one, purchase a wiggly Weasel Ball. These act like a ‘virtual-mouse’ for your cats. The weasel is attached, by its nose, to a ball containing a battery, and when turned on, the ball rotates and rolls around the house with the weasel attached, looking like it is being chased. They are made by Dah Yang Toy Industrial Co., Ltd and are identified with the code number 8038H.
11. Paper Mouse Mauling
This is the old, but effective, standard cat game. Attach a paper ‘mouse’ to a piece of string and drag it through the house. Some creative folk attach these to a radio-controlled car and drive the mouse around the house. Feathers on corks are also much loved.
If that doesn’t satisfy your Puss Cat, visit your local pet shop. You will find a range of cat toys designed to satisfy the most fastidious and fanatic of fractious felines – but meanwhile, don’t forget to hug your pet.