7 Brain Games To Keep Your Cat Mentally Stimulated.

NOVEMBER 20TH/ 2021
People play different games and solve cross-verses hoping to keep their minds sharp. And for good reason! Every time we learn something new, we create new neural pathways in our brain that can improve cognition and even repair damage.

So why not with our kitties? Cats are clever animals. It takes intelligence to stalk and hunt prey and street smarts to hide and escape from predators. Cats are even artful at bluffing to scare off a bigger animal. But just as we get rusty when we don't practice enough or bored when we practice too much, so do our cats.

Why is cat mental stimulation important?

A bored cat can be a destructive cat. If you're not challenging your cat to use their brain, chances are good that your feline companion is going to start making their own fun, and that might not be a good thing. Your cat needs mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

According to the PDSA, it's estimated that over a third of cats in the UK are overweight, due to lack of exercise or maybe because of those extra treats many owners sneak to their cats in between meals. Indoor cats can easily put on the pounds and a home environment lacks all the exciting activities the outdoors provides, so your cat will soon show signs of boredom and frustration, as well as a heavier silhouette.

Try keeping your kitty's mind and body active with some of favourite brain games for cats.

TREASURE HUNT

Mealtime doesn't need to be boring. Instead of just putting down your cat's bowl like usual, try hiding their food or treats in a new place, or even a few different places.

This will allow your cat to use their natural hunting instincts to track down their prey, which will provide them with a stimulating challenge and keep those instincts sharp and active.

PUZZLE FEEDERS

There are plenty of puzzle feeders out there on the market that will allow your kitty to use their wits to earn food or treats. They range from simple puzzles that only require a bat of the paw to more complex ones that need more complicated behaviours before dispensing food.

Try one that can keep your cat guessing or switch it up and get another toy when your kitty gets used to the old one.

CAT TOYS

There are hundreds of cat toys which have been specifically designed to encourage mental stimulation in the form of play.
TRICKS FOR TREATS

Cats are more than capable of learning tricks just like dogs. In fact, this kind of training will add a level of mental stimulation that your cat probably isn't used to, and it will strengthen your bond.

Using treats and praise as a reward, try teaching your cat some of the basics like sit, lie down, shake, or roll over. Eventually you'll be able to impress all your friends with a one-cat circus!

FUN WITH BOXES

There are plenty of fun games to play with boxes that go beyond just letting your kitty sit in them.
Try closing a small box and cutting a few small holes in it. Then place some treats inside and let your cat stick their paws through the openings to get at the treats. You can do the same thing with an egg carton.
This is like making your own puzzle toy, and it will challenge your cat to think before getting their food.
CAT TREES

Cat trees are an investment but, they create vertical space, which makes cats feel safe and allows them to observe their world. The cat trees have branches, limbs, and leaves that move around like those in a real tree, giving cats the sensation that they are in a live tree.
Some of Cat trees also have shelves that take food bowls. It's good for those cats which need to be high up to eat.
Also you can move a cat's furniture around. For example, moving an old cat tree to another floor of the house can make it seem new and fun again (as long as the cats aren't blind). Even ordinary little catnip or crinkly toys can become more interesting when you hide them in the cat tree. Cats discover them like they're brand new. It's like a game of hide-and-seek for them, taking an old thing and making it new again.

FETCH

Who says fetch is just for dogs?

Fetch is a great way for your cat to exercise their hunting and pouncing instincts. Try tossing a toy or a ball of paper that they can comfortably pick up.

The trick is teaching them to bring the object back, which should be done with plenty of love, praise, and rewards. Your cat will appreciate the chance to keep their instincts sharp and playing the game will keep your bond strong.

Stay health and develop your cat's intelligence!


Written by Maria Potekha, Husse Pet Food Portsmouth

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