Cats are great pets – they’re affectionate and intelligent. It’s their intelligence in particular which makes them so much fun to live with. According to some scientific studies, the average domestic cat has a sensory-motor intelligence similar to that of a two year old child, and may be able to remember some experiences for as long as ten years. It’s no wonder then that cat owners want to protect their pets with pet insurance.
Cats are also very physically agile. If you want a happy cat, it’s important that you develop a system of playing with them which helps them to use up stored energy – preventing weight gain – and also taxes them mentally. You shouldn’t forget the fact that in the wild, cats would hunt for around 8 hours every day; they’ve evolved to carry out this daily regime of strenuous physical and mental exercise, so you’ll need to offer them something to fill this need.
Most methods of playing with cats are based on activities or games which mimic a cat’s natural hunting techniques. Cats enjoy chasing small, highly visible objects. Most cat toys reflect this, but there’s no need to spend big money on fancy cat toys – some balled up tin foil, for example, will easily distract a cat for hours. The benefit of over-the-counter toys is that they’ll often contain small bells, giving the cat audible clues as to the toy’s movements and making it easier for the cat to anticipate which direction the toy will move in.
Improvised cat toys should be light – this reduces the chance of your cat injuring itself if it catches the toy in mid-air. It also means that the toy will move significantly if the cat bats or paws at it – making it more exciting for your pet. Playing with a single toy is good, but involving a number of toys in your play will allow you to bait-and-switch with your cat, or to distract it in order to retrieve toys. Make sure that your pet doesn’t swallow any part of your improvised toys.
More active cats can benefit from being further challenged by setting them simple tasks in order to receive rewards. Hiding a toy or an edible treat in an old boot, Tupperware box, at the end of a cardboard tube, etc. will force your cat to think as well as use its physical skills. Experimentation will help you to find the level of difficulty which presents your cat with a solvable puzzle instead of an impossible task.
Protect your cat from injury and illness by purchasing insurance from The Co-operative Pet Insurance.