Poor cat – he’s a victim of the myth that cats are indifferent to attention. That’s not true for every cat. A bored cat can create just as much havoc around your home as an unsupervised toddler – maybe even more.
In fact, strange behavior in your cat is often a sign that he’s trying desperately to get you involved in his world. How do you entertain a cat? First you start spending time with your cat on a regular basis and see what amuses him.
Spending time isn’t the same as simply being in the same room – arriving home, getting on the computer and chatting on the phone. Your cat isn’t amused by watching you and may do some irritating things, like spin the paper off the toilet roll.
Or he might eat paper – perhaps your notes for tomorrow’s client proposal. Put away your work and clear a play space. Get down on the floor at your cat’s level as you interact with him.
Pick two small cat toys and bring out one at a time for your play session. Start with a small rolling toy or hold a toy fish on a pole and dangle it for your cat to swat. Does he keep playing until you stop or does he walk away on his own? If the toy doesn’t hold his
interest, put it away and try another toy tomorrow.
Be careful to choose only toys suited for cats. Children’s toys are not pet toys, no matter how cute you think the idea is. So forget the wind-up mouse your kid got in a Happy Meal. Unless it’s made for a cat, there are small parts or mechanisms that could be harmful to your pet.
Look at pet shops online or in local pet stores for movable toys if your cat favors something to chase down and catch. That’s a natural hunting behavior for your cat, so make sure he has a way to act on his urge conquer.
Once you know what type of toy your cat favors, look for two similar toys. Take a cue for the way parents alternate toys for children and rotate your cat’s toys after a few weeks. Keep the toys that you use for interactive play apart from toys that you leave for his solo play. That way the toys you enjoy together are special.
While you’re at work or out during the day, leave some interesting toys for your cat. You can even buy small plastic balls that can be refilled with dry cat food. Your cat can roll the ball then discover the food treat inside.
That also satisfies his hunting instinct and provides a snack. If your cat is happier when busy, be sure you provide enough stimulation for playtime and most of all, enough time with you – his favorite playmate.