09-19-2018  4:19 am      •     
Dr. Jasmine Streeter, DVM
Published: 12 September 2018

When it comes to entertaining cats, most of us are at a loss for ideas. Should we purchase the playful Kitty-O-Matic 3000 or would a paper bag suffice? Many of us have endured the frustration of buying toys just to witness our feline masters casually walk by apathetically. How disrespectful!

After years of witnessing Soleil’s disdain for my carefully chosen feline enrichment items, I decided to save money and not purchase anything. To my surprise, she found amusement around the house. Below are her top five entertainment activities.

  1. Paper Bag: Nothing yells overt elation like a kitten in a bag. Have you seen them? Hopping and bopping, twirling and whirling, oh, how they adore the sound, texture and lightness of a shopping bag. To encourage play, place a paper bag on the floor in front of your cat and move it sporadically. I bet you they will love it. If your pet is hesitant to play, hide cat treats inside the bag for a little positive reinforcement.
  1. Light Reflections: Some cats love playing with lasers and chasing light. You can get the same effect by holding crystal or a cracked cell phone up to a window. The best time for this game is morning or dusk as the sun moves across the sky. Clear a space on the floor or couch so your pet doesn’t run into anything. Not only will the joy of your cat chasing twinkling dots amuse you, but the sight will be magical. When you’re ready to stop, place a few treats on the ground where the light is so your cat thinks they’ve “caught” their prey.
  1. Build a Fort: Need I say more? Cats love hiding and creeping around tight spaces. Build a fort with sheets, boxes, tubes and chairs to bring kitty camping to life. Divide the fort into sections and watch your pet swat at the loose fabric. To make it a party, make the fort large enough for you and your kitty. That’s when the real fun begins.
  1. Tag/Hide and Seek: Cats love stalking things and people. It’s a natural gift they have as predators of the domestic world. To cultivate this God-given talent, try entertaining your pet the next time you witness this behavior. Slowly make eye contact, with your cat then look away. Move slowly and then make quick motions with the hand. Take off running into the other room and then double back to see if they’ve followed. To determine if they’re having fun, watch their tails. If they flick up and down quickly, you’re on the right track.
  1. Plants: Some cats love plants. This is great if you have nontoxic plants available for your pet to chew on or crawl through. Alternatively, buy catnip or wheatgrass from a pet store and create an indoor garden for your cat to enjoy.

Remember, whatever play you choose, as long as you’re together, your pet will appreciate you.

You can ask Dr. Jasmine your pet question or email your pet photo to drjasmine@theskanner.com.

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