When you’re living in a crowded city where greenery is sparse, traffic is heavy and space is limited, it’s likely that you keep your cat indoors, mainly for his own safety. Many people feel that keeping a cat indoors is cruel because it denies him the ability to exercise his natural cat behaviors like hunting and stalking. However, many cats do just fine in an apartment or house, and they needn’t become fat and lazy as long as you keep them entertained! The best way of doing that is to harness their natural feline instincts. Here are a few ways of doing just that.
1. Cat Trees
Cats love to climb. They love looking down on the world from a lofty height and one of the reasons for this is that it gives them status among their peers. He’s literally looking down on them. By providing a cat tree where your kitty can climb, scratch and hide, you’ll provide him with hours of fun and maybe a place to rest and nap. It also increases his vertical space and makes it easier for two cats who live in the same home to be close without crowding each other. A cat with less status who’s sitting on top will always give way to a more dominant one.
2. Scratching Posts
Cats gotta scratch! Scratching is part of a cat’s natural exercise regime that helps him exercise and strengthen the muscles of his feet and fore paws. His fore paws contain scent glands so it’s also a way of marking his territory both by the smell and the marks he leaves. It also sloughs off dead layers of claws. It’s a good idea to give him a scratching post to save damage to your furniture. The best ones are made of sisal, and you can encourage him to use it by spraying it with catnip spray. You can even get ones with toys attached to them!
Cats HAVE to hunt! If you don’t want to let him do the real thing outside then put a bird feeder outside so that he can watch them and dream about them. He can’t actually get to them so he can’t kill or injure them.
3. Hunting and Brain Exercises
Cats need to use their brains so it’s a great idea to give them puzzles and toys to work on, especially those containing food or cat treats. These feed the cat’s need to forage, and because it makes it more difficult to reach their food, heavyweight cats will find it harder to eat too much. They will also get some great exercise!
4. Music to Their Ears
Cats like music! Yes, really! OK, we don’t mean Heavy Metal, but maybe some meditation music or soft classical sounds like violin, harp or piano. You can play this while you’re out at work and he’s alone at home.
5. Go on a Safe Walk
Cats on a leash? Absolutely. Contrary to popular belief, you can train a cat to go walking on a leash, but it takes time and patience. Cats are not little dogs; they don’t live to serve us, so getting one to walk on a leash is no mean feat, but it can be done. It’s best to start when he’s a kitten, when everything is a game, but even older cats can be taught and may actually enjoy and look forward to the experience.
Start with a harness, holding it out so he can sniff it, then leave it beside his food bowl, giving him a little treat so that he associates it with a positive experience. When he’s familiar with its shape and scent put it on for a few minutes, making sure it’s neither too tight nor too loose. A good guide is to slip two fingers in between the collar and the cat’s neck. If they can get in and out easily the fit is just right. When he’s used to the harness you can leave it on a while longer. Attach the leash to the collar and let him lead you around, making sure there is no tension on it. You need to keep it loose so that it puts no pressure on him at all, and lavish him with titbits and praise.
After a while you can start gently pulling on the leash, guiding him to where you want him to go instead of letting him lead you. Call him by his name and treat him again when he comes to you.
Always carry your cat outside. Start taking the kitty outside in the garden first before venturing out into the big bad world, then little by little you can explore further, making sure you don’t force him out of his comfort zone. After a while he’ll be enjoying his walks so much he won’t think twice about going. Bengals are especially active, that’s why they are also called “Action Cats”!
6. Getting Inside Out
Get a cat patio! This is a way of providing him with some indoor/outdoor space. It has see-through walls, a roof and areas where he can get out of the sun and rain. You can put all his favorite toys in it and even make a space for yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot of money; there are plenty of kits out there for the D.I.Y. enthusiast.
7. Schedule the Play Sessions
When you get home from work, schedule a play session with your cat. You can play with crinkle balls, catnip mice, fishing pole toys and anything that he can chase, pounce on and stalk. Don’t, however, leave them alone with string toys since they are very dangerous choking hazards. Balls of wool, contrary to popular belief, are not good cat toys!
I hope I’ve given you some constructive ideas to stop your kitty from becoming bored stiff – but the best thing you can do for him is love him!
About the Author:
Hi, I’m Jane Miller! I’m a certified cat lover and an unapologetic writer! That’s why I created SweetieKitty! Born in Connecticut, one sunny day of April, during the most interesting decade of past century! Nowadays I live in South Carolina, with my three tomcats! I’d love to read your comments on my article!