When we think about Christmas treats for our cat, we normally think food. But what about amping up two of her other great interests in life, her environment and you?
Cat exercise frames
These come in a huge variety of styles, prices and sizes, easy to find on your internet search engine. Make sure you select a size that matches the size of your kitty. Alternatively, they are available in kit form or as plans as a DIY project for teens and/or a handy partner or friend.
It’s all in the presentation
Just as babies often find more delight in the wrapping than in that lovingly chosen present, so cats can get hours of joy out of the swathes of paper and other packaging that Christmas brings. Putting off the post-Christmas throw away for a few days gives you a good excuse and gives your cat a bundle of fun. Wrapping paper and a lengths of discarded ribbon makes a great chase toy that can burn off energy in cats and hyper children alike.
Hide and seek
Use that stuff is lying around to give your cat exercise and stimulation and strengthen your bond by using it for games like hidely or chasey. Scrunch up some used wrapping paper to make a ball for her to chase. If you have more time to invest, some owners have been able to encourage their cats to fetch, encouraging them to return using treats and affection. Cut small holes in larger boxes and encourage your cat to ‘fish’ for objects dangled outside.
Best not to leave bags, especially plastic bags, around when you are not there.
Enriching their environment
A few quiet days at home during the Christmas break gives you the chance to think of other ways to make your cat’s life richer and more comfortable. Modern houses and units emphasise design and space-efficiency. That can make it difficult for cats to find the secure retreats that are so necessary to their psychological comfort. A suitable cardboard box lined with something soft and placed in an out-of-the-way corner can meet such a need. Some cats like to be up high so a thoughtful rearrangement of some existing shelves and some comfy cloth padding might just do the trick.
Keep them ‘Appy
That new tablet or smartphone, or even the old one, can provide some great playtime for you and your cat. Check out the range of free or inexpensive apps where kitty can catch objects, paint or create music. Perfect for a bit of lap time after the guests have left and the house is quiet again.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
OK, so you couldn’t resist buying that new toy for kitty but how about putting the old ones away for a while? Rotating toys will stop your cat from getting bored. You will notice renewed interest in that old favourite when your cat has not seen it for a few weeks.
Build on your relationship
For cats that seem wary or dislike being touched, some quiet time at home can be an opportunity build your relationship. When the opportunity occurs, get down to her level and speak quietly from a distance that she feels comfortable. Speak slowly and in slightly raised tone. Don’t stare. Try blinking slowly, especially if she blinks at you. This is a universal feline demonstration of comfort and affection. What you say is not important but use her name frequently. Don’t overdo it, a few minutes, occasionally, at a time when you are both feeling relaxed is perfect.
A new, closer relationship could be the best present that you can give!