There’s no better time than the holiday season to show your kitty just how much you care. Check out these easy-to-make entertaining toys and treats to keep your cat happy and engaged, whether you are at home or away.
1. Turn everyday items into fun toys:
Cats are predatory animals by nature. They also have extremely keen eyesight, even in low light, so shapes and noises excite them. And as you probably know already, it doesn’t take much to engage them!
- Rescue an empty toilet paper roll or paper towel tube from the recycle bin. Loop some string, feathers, fuzzy toys, bungee cords, or other scrap items through it, or cut holes and tie them on. Be sure to attach everything as securely as possible.
- Turn empty plastic bottles into intriguing chase toys. Remove any labels, put bells or LED lights inside, close the top securely, and watch your cat go crazy!
- Paper bags and cardboard boxes—either on their own or filled with exciting trinkets such as crumpled paper or pingpong balls—can keep cats busy for hours. Be sure to remove any tape or staples, and never use a plastic bag.
- Use a stick, wooden dowel, or any other sturdy rod as a “fishing pole.” Attach a heavy duty piece of string to the end. At the other end of the string, secure feathers and other fun, creative lures such as bells, crinkly balls, or even a stocking stuffed with catnip. When you can’t be there to hold the pole, get creative and attach it to a doorknob or elsewhere so kitty can bat at it to his heart’s content.
2. Perfect perch:
In case you haven’t noticed, our feline friends love being high up. Creating a custom kitty condo requires a bit of effort, but the extra time is worth it. Measure the area where you want to hang the perch (such as the wall or a window), and cut a piece of wood to size. You can have this done at a big box home improvement store. Purchase a scrap of carpeting bigger than the wood—a remnant should be perfect. Wrap the carpet around the piece of wood, folding the corners neatly, and stapling it to the underside of the wood. Install brackets on the wall or window, and secure the piece of wood, checking to be sure it will hold your kitty’s weight.
3. Healthy greens:
Cats love eating greens. No one knows for sure, but it is believed that cats seek out extra fiber in their diets to help them get rid of hairballs and maintain a well-balanced digestive system. To deter them from eating your houseplants—which can make them sick or even be poisonous—plant kitty a garden to call her own. Some safe grasses/herbs for your cat include catnip, oat grass, wheat grass, barley grass, and rye grass. You can find these plants as seeds or already started in a pot.
4. Terrific tuna treats:
For a delicious snack after kitty plays hard, your finicky feline won’t be able to resist these yummy, healthy treats.
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup tuna packed in oil (*you may substitute tuna with ground, cooked chicken combined with 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 large egg, beaten
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour and powdered milk. In a separate bowl, mix tuna and egg together, mashing the tuna to a smooth consistency. Add the tuna mixture to the dry ingredients, adding the water a little at a time, until mixture forms a slightly sticky dough. Using two spoons or a melon scoop, create balls and place them 1-inch apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely before serving to your pet.
Stored in an airtight container in a cool place; the tuna treats will last a few weeks.
Selected by Laura Drucker, TAILS Editor