Olivia is a year old. She has plenty of toys and interesting cat condos, tunnels, furniture to play on. She has perching places at several windows where she loves to watch the neighbors, their pets, and wild birds. We’re here with her practically 24/7, yet she sometimes seems to be bored. In fact she will come into my office while I’m working and attempt to entice me to take a break. Most times I can’t resist her—she can be persistent. But we all know some cats are more needy than others and when we work from home we have to set boundaries.
Well, I often tickle her fancy when she wants to play and I want to work. I usually do need the break and the laughter and she evidently needs the connection and the workout. She likes me to throw her chew sticks and toys up and down the hallway for her to chase. Occasionally she’ll bring me toys to throw—yes, she will play fetch. But sometimes she just seems bored. Nothing I suggest to her interests her, so I try to change it up—come up with something new and interesting for her. It’s called enrichment.
I’ll hide her treats around various cat condos and toys and encourage her to find them. I’ll reconfigure things—tip a cat condo over, make a tent for her—toss a blanket over the tunnel or a chair. I’ve created temporary cat condos out of boxes with doors and windows. That’s always a popular distraction for the cats and entertaining for us.
Catnip is a real mood booster for Olivia. Our 17-year-old cat, Sophie, also enjoys a little catnip. And don’t forget about the plain old paper bag. With toys inside and out and a little participation on your part, a bag can entertain a cat for a long time.
For Olivia’s and my entertainment sometimes I’ll toss wads of paper into the air and watch her jump after them. She loves catching or swatting them in the air. And boy can she jump.
Have you tried an app on your phone designed to intrigue cats? I used to have an adorable program on my computer where you could play with kittens, feed them a bottle, pet them and hear them purr. It was so much fun for me and for my, then, kitten, Max.
Entertaining a cat and being entertained by a cat is what it’s all about. Shame on any of us for ever letting our cats become bored.