These accessories are an essential part of your cat's life. Provide your cat with a range of stimulating toys so that she can tire herself out and fall straight asleep in her own comfy bed (and hopefully not yours!)
Sleeping is something cats take very seriously. They certainly do plenty of it! A comfy cat bed, consisting of a cushion in a basket or box, is all they need. They will also take advantage of a chair or sofa, and will usually adopt a favorite spot, including the hot spot on the rug in front of the fire or by the radiator. Cats are lovers of heat, betraying their origins as African cats!
Puss spends around 70% of the day asleep, so really appreciates a cosy spot to curl up in. A cat bed is not a compulsory accessory because cats really aren’t fussy where they sleep, but it is always nice to treat your feline friend to a few home comforts.
Two cat pals snoozing in their comfy bed
Without a cat bed available your cat will opt for a sofa or your bed as their favorite spot for a cat nap. If you don’t fancy cat hair and/or dirty footprints on your furniture then consider buying a bed!
Some cats prefer an enclosed cave like bed whilst others prefer to be elevated so they can survey the area in between snoozing. Based on your cat’s behavior choose a bed you think they will like as the chances are you know best.
Cats tend not to be endlessly playful with us humans. They have better things to do! Some breeds and individuals are more interactive than others, but in general they like to dictate the terms of play themselves.
The key words here are brief, frequent, and relaxed. Make your playtime with the cat short (less than a minute), often, and low intensity. Let your cat lead the play, and stop as soon as her attention drifts off.
Most cat play taps into their hunting instincts. Pieces of string, balls of paper, toy mice – these are all things that appeal to a cat’s love of stalking and pouncing.
Cat and mouse - a game as old as the domestic cat itself
The toys you use for these games don’t have to be expensive things sourced in pet stores.
- Fishing. Some feathers tied to a string and attached to a stick will provide hours of fun, and as this is a two-handed game, it enables you to join in as you “fish” for your cat’s attention!
- Balls. These can be made from scrunched up paper or tin foil, or can be balls of twigs, table tennis balls, or similar. Cats will play with these alone, or you can join in, with the cat as goalkeeper. Whenever the balls become ragged or torn, replace them. Beware string balls, in which cat claws can easily become snagged.
- Boxes. Nothing keeps a cat happier than a simple box or similar container. They will crawl inside, sometimes in play, sometimes to find a quiet hiding place. A cat’s ability to fill the space of a small container and assume the shape of that space led one team of researchers to claim they flow like a liquid! This breakthrough research was awarded with an Ig Noble Prize in 2017 at a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts – a parody of the Nobel Prize.
- Catnip Toys. Cats have a guilty pleasure – catnip. It produces a short-lived ecstasy in felines that is amazing to behold. A toy mouse stuffed with catnip will inspire juggling and rolling and entertainingly outrageous behaviour.
- Scratching Posts. It’s a good idea to buy, or make, a scratching post. Without one, a cat will exercise its claws on your furniture. The post simulates a small tree bough, and the cat will love rubbing, clawing and generally stretching and exercising around it. Think of it as a cat gym rather than a mere toy! As cats like to stretch their claws and limbs after a sleep, placing the scratching post near their bed is a good idea. If making the apparatus yourself, make sure it’s tall enough to allow your cat to stretch to her full length, and ensure the thread of the material runs vertically, forming grooves down which the claws can scrape (rather than snagging on horizontal lines of thread).