Games to Stimulate Your Cat Mentally at Home
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Cats are extremely intelligent and sensitive animals that have an active and curious nature. Even if your cat seems like a lazybones when it is taking a nap, just show them their favorite toy. You'll see that your cat enjoys challenging its senses and using its intelligence to achieve goals. Nowadays, there are many interactive toys available in the market, smart scratching posts, mazes, and games that stimulate the body and mind of our cats. However, some of them can be very expensive and there is a risk that your cat will get tired of them after a short time.
Here at AnimalWised, we'll show you some inexpensive, easy and fun games to mentally stimulate your cat.
Homemade puzzle with a cardboard box
Puzzles are undoubtedly among the best intelligence games for cats. And if you share your home with a cat, you'll know that cardboard boxes offer a wide range of ways to stimulate their minds and bodies. You can build shelters, hiding places, mazes, and even intelligence games with this inexpensive material. Today we will show you how to make a fun puzzle for your cat.
For a simple homemade puzzle, you will need:
- A sturdy cardboard box that is not too deep.
- A pair of scissors or a cardboard cutter
- Your cat's favorite toy.
- Cat treats.
The preparation is very simple:
1. With the help of the cutter or scissors, you need to make several holes in the upper part (or the lid) of the cardboard box. If you want to make neat circles, you can use a glass, compass or other container with a round opening and mark the circles before cutting. However, you can also make cuts in different formats, always keeping a minimum size that allows a cat to put its paw in the box to “prey”.
2. Then take your cat's favorite toy and some treats and place them in the box. Done! Now you can offer this cheap puzzle to stimulate your cat's mind to figure out how to catch the prizes.
The same manufacturing process can be used to make a jigsaw puzzle out of a Tupperware or other durable plastic container with a lid. You would make holes in the lid of the container and place the toys and snacks inside. The advantage of this idea over a cardboard puzzle is that your cat will be able to see the prizes inside the puzzle more easily thanks to the transparent container, which will also stimulate their vision.
Cardboard is a great material to build different toys and games for your cat, get inspired by reading our article on DIY cat toys with cardboard.
Puzzle made from recycled kitchen paper rolls
We can make various recycled toys from toilet paper or kitchen paper rolls for our cats, and we can use them to foster their intelligence. We can use recycled rolls to design simple intelligence games for cats, for example, by assembling them into pyramids and sticking them together with tape or non-toxic glue. Likewise, we can then hide treats, toys, or dry food in the holes of the rolls. This way, your cat can entertain itself and train its sense of smell and its mind to find the desired rewards. You can also use the same rollers to mimic the shape of some animals to train your cat's hunting instinct.
To make a paper “snake” for your cat, you can tie the rolls together with sturdy string and secure them with non-toxic tape or glue, so they do not fall apart. You can not only play catch with your cat, but you can also make holes to hide your kitten's favorite snacks.
As we have mentioned before, cats need to be stimulated both fiscally and mentally, this is why is so important to provide opportunities for our cats to exercise. If you are curious about how to exercise an indoor cat, keep reading this article on how to make a cat tired.
Playing hide-and-seek with your cat
Cats love to play hide and seek, especially if they can play it with you. Although it may seem like a simple game, it's actually a great way to stimulate your cat's senses and obedience by teaching them to respond to your call. The best part is that you only need a few treats to practice it with your cat.
To teach your cat to play, start with the basics: call their name in a place where they can see you. Then offer your cat a treat, toy or other reward as soon as they respond to your call. Then repeat this process in a place where your cat cannot see you, and reward them as soon as they come to you. Once your cat has successfully completed these first two steps, you can increase the complexity of the hiding place. For example, you can go to another room or part of the house while calling their names. Do not forget to offer a reward once they find you.
Playing with your indoor cat is important to stimulate their senses but also because cats get bored and lonely, specially if they are isolated. To know if your cat is bored, keep reading this article on how to know my cat is bored.
Homemade shredder for your cats
The shell game is one of the classic intelligence games that can be played with cats and dogs, at any time and without leaving the house. To practice it with your cat, you will need some treats or nibbles from their food and three similar containers or small vases that you can recycle from yogurts, for example.
The idea for this game is as simple as the materials you need. Place the snack in one of the cups and then mix the containers so your kitty can point to where the treat is. At first, slowly switch the containers as you mix so your kitten can follow the movement and figure out which cup has the treat in it.
You can increase the difficulty of the game by making faster and more complex movements each time you discover the treat. And of course, reward your kitten with a treat each time they find the treat.
Playing with your cat is an important part of building a healthy and loving relationship with them. If you want to know tips and strategies to play with your cat, then keep reading this article on how to play with a cat.
Tips to play and train your cat's intelligence
Playing with your cat offers numerous benefits to their physical and mental health. Not only do they have the opportunity to entertain themselves while strengthening their muscles and bones, which is essential for a healthy weight and balanced metabolism, but intelligence games also stimulate their cognitive, social and emotional skills. It is also worth noting that physical and mental stimulation is key to preventing behavioral problems and stress symptoms in cats.
However, intelligence games for cats must be objective and specific so as not to create frustration. These activities must allow the animal to act out its hunting instinct, express its curiosity and freely develop its skills, always being rewarded for its efforts and having the opportunity to enjoy success in catching its “prey” or prizes. In addition, it is important to offer games that are appropriate for the age of each kitten. Always start with a simple level of difficulty and gradually offer more complex activities.
To learn more about other games you can play with your cat at home, keep reading this article on 10 games to entertain my cat.
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