I take cat sitting to a new level with interaction, care and love. The cats are happy in their own environment but they appreciate being entertained.
Cat Interaction Activities
Entertaining cats! This is the best part of my job. To be honest, I love all parts of the work including cleaning out litter trays; some cats follow me round while I am doing the trays and we have quite a chat. (I talk the whole time so they have company and stimulation.) Once all the cleaning and feeding tasks have been completed, I spend time stroking, fussing and playing with the cats. In fact, I usually spend longer than the booked half hour asthe cats are having so much fun.
All cats have their own, individual personalities and this means that they enjoy different activities. As I go to repeat visits, I have an idea of what cats like and what they will do. For example, I take a puzzle feeder to make cats work to get treats; some love it and will work for the treat, whereas others aren't interested.
Most of the photos used in this blog post are toys that belong to my cat. I didn't know she had so many! I guess when you get to the grand age of 17 you've accumulated a few...
Livi's Mobile Cat Interaction Activities
Balls are the basic equipment in my bag. There are so many types made with different materials; crinkly, wicker, soft, sponge, plastic etc. Some balls have bells in or bits attached. There is such a great variety! All create interest for the cats as the balls bounce and react differently depending on the material.
No not real mice! Stuffed mice are great to play with as it is easy to wiggle them and move them across the flow to be grabbed. Again, there are many different textures and shapes which create interest. One of these mice has a velcro tummy so you can fill the inside with bells or cat nip.
The plastic ones are great for patting and knocking about and the fabric ones can easily be held with claws and thrown around.
Feather Fishing Rods
These are fabulous. So far, every cat I have ever met has loved these. In fact, this is one of my own cats favourite toys. She flies around the living room chasing hers. Please be careful that the plastic string doesn't get caught and tangled on the cat.
Puzzles and Treat Toys
These are the puzzle toys that I take on visits with me. They are made of plastic and can be easily cleaned. The round purple one was purchased from Aldi in their pet event. It was supposed to slow down the time dogs eat. I put treats in it and then the cats have to work how to get the treats out. This doesn't work for all cats as mine will sit and meow at me as she has rather large paws and can't make out how to get to the treats.
The little mouse is like a 'Weebles' toy as it wobbles and doesn't fall down. It is made by Dreamies and can be purchased from many places on the internet. I put treats in it and then the cat has to pat it to knock the treats out of the little holes. It is possible to move the top bit round so it can be made harder for the treats to come out. This is one puzzle toy that my cat enjoys and will actually use. If I show her the mouse, she immediately meows as she know she will get a treat.
Hide the Treat
Some cats are very smart and need lots of stimulation. A cat I have looked after is very much like a wildcat, he loves to play and is always keen for food. As soon as I get the treats out, he is trying to climb up me to get to them. I like to put treats in different places so he has to run around and look for them. Also, this gives the other cat a chance to get treats. Don't worry, when I go back on the next visit I check that they have all been eaten so you won't find mouldy bits of dried cat food.
A range of motorised and pull back toys are available. However, not all cats enjoy playing with them. My cat will show an interest but she won't go for them. I think younger cats are more interested, such as Toffee and Liquorice. If you want to see this toy in action with them, please click here which will take you to the video on my Facebook page.
Old Fashioned - Piece of String or Shoe Lace
To some cats, everything is fair game. It it moves, it is a toy to them. Some lively cats will attack my shoe laces as I am taking off my shoes! The ferret shaped toy here was one of my children toys and I found that cats like to 'kill' it as they can get their back feet on it while killing the front end of it.
In the picture is a pom pom on a piece of string. This was once attached to a slipper by after Ginger kept attacking it, she managed to pull it off.
If all else fails, or I've lost the balls under the sofa, I use my hands. Wiggling my fingers or tapping on the floor is a great game for young cats. They can't resist the thrill of jumping on anything that moves.
For my own cat, I have cat nip toys. I don't take these to other cats as they can't be cleaned/washed. Some cats love them, others don't. Also, some may have a reaction to it.
Other toys include mice on springs, balls in a little circuit that can be patted etc. When I was very young, I remember my cat Thomas used to sit in my dolls house and swipe at people through the window as we went past. Boxes and new plastic bags are always fun for my cat too!
I would highly recommend a tall cat tree. similar to the one I have. I mentioned it in a previous article I wrote about trimming claws here. This gives the cat an option of sitting at different heights, places to scratch and they usually have toys to hang on them. A tall one is best as cats like to stretch up to scratch. This has a bonus side effect of them wearing their nails down at the same time.