How has your pet reacted to your lockdown status during this pandemic? Have you noticed any difference? What changes are noticed when observing cats and lockdown?
Vets are noticing that stress seems to be more obvious among cats and dogs. Partly it is because they sense our stress, but it is also partly due to a change in their normal routine.
The cat establishes his routine in your home that is dependent on and revolving around your schedule. He knows just what to expect: When you will leave; when you will return; what he can do in your absence.
Now, suddenly, everything is different. It can take your kitty some time to rebuild his schedule. If he seems stressed, just give him alone time and he will come out of it. Try to stick as close to your old schedule as possible, to create fewer problems for the cat.
Perhaps you can find new fun ways to spend time with your cat. Catster.com had a great little post on diy games for cats, so will pass on instructions for these.
Cat Fishing Puzzle Box
Here’s a way to give your cat a chance to fish for treats. You can make this simple puzzle game for him and he will enjoy the challenge. Here’s the supplies you will need:
- Multiple toilet paper and/or paper towel tubes
- A small box
- Cat treats
Here’s what you do:
Find a small box to use to hold the tubes. A Kleenex box or a shoe box should be just about right.
Cut your collection of toilet paper and paper towel tubes into different heights.
Fill the box with the tubes until the box is full and the tubes stand steadily.
Sprinkle a few cat treats or kibbles into some of the tubes and give the box to the cat, stand back, and watch the fun.
With this game, the cat will reach in to the box through various holes, to try to grab toys. Here’s your supply list:
- Large box
- Packing tape or duct tape
- Cat toys, ping pong balls, or tennis balls
Here’s what you do:
Cut different sized holes in the sides of your large box.
Drop balls or other kitty toys into the box.
Tape the box closed and give to Kitty.
To make the game more challenging, make the holes in the box different sizes: Some can be big enough to allow the cat to pull toys all the way out. Other holes can be too small to allow removal of a toy Let the cat figure it out.
If you’d like to make kitty’s mealtime interactive and fun, you can make this dispenser to use either for treats or for kibbles. Here’s what you need:
- Plastic water or soda bottle
- Cat treats or dry kibbles
Here’s what you do:
Punch a few holes in the bottle, large enough so the treats or kibble will come through.
Make sure the hole edges are not sharp.
Put a handful of kibbles or treats into the bottle.
Screw lid back on.
Shake the bottle and throw it to your cat and let her play. As she bats the bottle around, the treats and kibble will come out the holes, and the cat will receive a reward for his efforts.
Now comes the challenge: As the amount of treats in the bottle are released, it will become harder to get the remaining ones out. Thus you give your cat a challenge along with the food.
Paper Bag Hunt
It seems that most cats love to play in paper bags. To add to the game, put balls or other cat toys inside the bags for him to find.
I had a cat (His name was Loose Cat) who had a unique “take” on the paper bag game. We had a big overstuffed chair that the cat loved to sleep on.
When you opened a large paper bag and set it upright on the floor in front of the chair, the bag opening was level with the seat of the chair. Then you set that bag right in front of the cat.
Loose Cat would stand up and stare into the bag. He stared so fixedly that I think he hypnotized himself, because eventually, he’d just fall forward into the bag. Bag and cat would end up on the floor, the bag on its side with the cat inside. Then Loose Cat would just go to sleep in the bag.
Wand Toys and Bubbles
It’s easy to make a wand toy, or what I call a cat fishing pole. Tie something exciting on the end of a piece of string, such as a feather, and attach the string to the pole. Then “fish” for the cat by moving that feather in such a way that it looks like it might be alive.
This game gives your cat exercise plus a way to improve his hunting skills.
With bubbles, your cat will provide a rapt audience. He feels compelled to chase and capture them.
I just learned from this article on catster.com that you can get catnip-flavored bubbles for your cats — Now, that sounds like a grand idea!
Just be sure you do not blow the bubbles directly onto the cat or in its face. Blow them away from the cat so he can chase them.
You might confine this game to someplace like the kitchen, as it is easier to clean up the bubble mess there.
As you can see, lockdown can be a time that allows you to bond closer with your pet. Take advantage of this opportunity. The added play-time can compensate for the stress your cat may feel due to the schedule changes.
Make lockdown an opportunity to gain added enjoyment from your pets and to give them additional pleasure as well.
References I used for this post: