College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University
Cats are curious creatures that love to run, climb, hunt, and play. Providing entertainment and activities for your cat keeps them healthier and helps reduce unwanted behavior.
Dr. Sarah Griffin, a lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained the importance of providing your pet with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
“Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives but can develop undesirable habits if not given enough exercise and mental stimulation,” Griffin said. “Some undesirable behaviors and medical conditions that can develop from lack of stimulation include scratching inappropriate places, chewing, peeing outside the litter box, aggression, and obesity.”
Several cat toys and supplies on the market make providing your furry friend with entertainment easy. For example, a cat tower placed by the window could provide opportunities for your pet to exercise, play, relax, and enjoy the scenery outside.
Additionally, Griffin said cat toys—especially ones with bells, feathers, fur, or pom poms— can provide hours of entertainment and some exercise for your kitty.
Toys to encourage your cat’s natural instinct to hunt are also available. These toys can be filled with a treat or cat food and can be hidden in the house. When the cat finds the toy, they have to play with it to get the food out. Griffin said hunting toys provide mental stimulation and also a little exercise. You also can train your cat to chase laser pointers; however, be sure to play safe to avoid any injury to your cat.
Many of our feline friends live indoors, but they still may be curious about the outdoors. Training your cat to walk on a harness or leash will provide both exercise and entertainment for your cat.
“Leash walking and having an open window or a screened-in porch can fulfill a cat’s desire to explore the outdoors,” Griffin said.
Whether your kitty spends most of its time sleeping or begging you to play, providing entertainment for your cat is important for its mental and physical health.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed firstname.lastname@example.org.
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