By Dr. Olson DVM at ZimmVet

Making a fun and playful home for your cat prevents destructive behaviors and obesity due to inactivity. Here are some ideas that you may be able to do in your home.

1.     Cat Furniture – This allows them to exert their natural instinct to climb and romp around safely. There are several readymade cat trees and condos that range in prices. You can also build your own and they have several websites that help you make your own personalized towers if interested.

2.     Scratching Posts – This not only gives them a way to express their desire to scratch, but also can save furniture and carpeting. Make sure the scratching post is in high traffic areas instead of a corner of the home that is infrequently used.

3.     Window Perch – Set up a bed or shelf in front of a window for your cat to watch everything happening outside. Make it even more special by placing a bird house or feeder near the window. You can purchase window shelves or just place a piece of furniture to allow access to view outside.

4.     Wheat Grass – Grow wheat grass for your cat to chomp on. Several places sell specific grass for your cat, but there are also online kits that you can do yourself.

5.     Foraging Toys – These are toys that make your cat manipulate it some way to obtain the food reward. There are several products available or you can simply make your own using plastic house hold containers or small cardboard box with holes (slightly larger than the treat) cut out of them. These toys require them to use their hunting skills to get the treat out.

6.     Vertical Spaces – Similar to the free-standing condos, wall steps allow your cat to move around the home without having to touch the ground. Cat are more relaxed in high vertical spaces. There are several websites that sell premade products, but you can also make your own (again there are several DIY sites to help).

7.     Water Fun – You can place a small windup toy in a sink filled with water. Any item that floats like a ping pong ball does well also. You can find some special cat products available, but you can also look in the infant bath section of a toy or department store.

8.     Nature Videos/Music – Some cats love watching television, especially if geared towards them. Cats are attracted to nature and wildlife sounds. Leaving the tv on the Animal Plant or similar program may entertain your cat during the day. There are also videos produced for cats specific that you can purchase.

9.     Outdoor Enclosures – Even indoor cats can enjoy the outdoors safely. There are screened in window enclosures, full “catios” or other enclosures that your cat can enjoy the outdoors safely.

10.  The Old Standby – even supplying a simple cardboard box or paper bag for the cat to explore and hide in will give them much joy.

With all these suggestions it is always most important that it is safe for your cat!

Make sure that they are not able to eat small pieces, get entrapped (handles on bags, etc.) or have sharp edges/nails to cut themselves on.