As your cat ages, he will most likely devote more time to finding snuggly warm places to nap and less time chasing fuzzy balls across the floor. Although it can sometimes be a challenge, it is essential for your cat’s physical health and mental well being to keep active. Making small changes in your cat’s daily routine or environment can make the difference!
• Your older cat will look forward to playtime if the sessions are divided up into shorter sessions and spread out over the course of the day. High-speed acrobatics will be a thing of the past, so choose toys or activities that will still provide mental stimulation, but not require the stamina or agility of an Olympic athlete. Control how high the feather “bird” flies or how fast the laser light “mouse” scampers across the floor so that your kitty can still delight in the thrill of the chase and the glory of the capture-without injuring himself.
• If your kitty’s vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be, toys that have a little a bell will help him follow them across the carpet and encourage him to chase after them.
• Catnip is a great way to get your kitty to “kick up his heels.” One little pinch rubbed on a soft toy and your cat will be so delighted, he won’t even notice he is exercising his legs!
• Place your kitty’s favorite treats across the room or at the top of the steps. Most cats won’t even think about those few extra steps if it means a tasty reward at the end!
• On days when your kitty is not up to frolicking across the room, a well placed bird feeder outside the window can provide enough interest to keep him from sleeping the day away.
• Encourage your kitty to explore his favorite spots or reach that special patch of sunlight by providing stairs or ramps as a stepping stones.
With a little understanding and love, the golden years can be rewarding for both you and your cat. To learn more, visit www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.