Are you a cat owner? Better yet, does a cat own you? If so, you know how much energy they can have. I don’t know a cat owner who hasn’t experienced the “midnight dash.” You know what I’m talking about. When your cat decides to sprint back and forth. Kind of like they’re releasing a huge ball of energy.
But, why do cats do that?! Better yet, can they share some of that energy with me? I could use it. Well, PurinaONE provides a spot on answer to our curiosity. Why do cats participate in the crazy “midnight dash”?!
According to PurinaONE, they do this in an attempt to get excess energy out. When a cat is domesticated, we set up a place where they aren’t constantly sleeping with “one eye open.” This isn’t familiar territory for cats.
We provide our cats with this comfort zone. Then we end up leaving them for most of the day. So, since they’re comfy and all alone they enjoy long cat naps. So, they’re not getting energy out. They’re saving it up for their famous “midnight dash.”
You may be someone who does stay home all day with your cat. But, I like to think of cats as tiny humans. They only want something when they want it. So, the last thing you may want to do is wake your cat up from their cat nap. But, it’s hard for a cat to resist a toy mouse being flung across the room.
The good news is that you don’t have to lose sleep over this odd behavior anymore. Because, thankfully, there are cat activities that are the perfect remedy. These activities are fun for your cat. Many of them help bring out your cat’s natural instincts, too! They do this by providing them with a way to jump, hunt, and so much more.
Importance of Keeping Your Cat Active
PetMD lists many reasons why keeping your cat’s senses open is important. Some of these reasons include:
According to PetMD a cat who lacks stimulation may end up aggressive in their play. Without a doubt, a cat bite or scratch is far from comfortable. Their play may end up being aggressive towards their humans and other pets.
A Shy Personality
Quite a few cats I’ve came in contact with have a shy nature. They aren’t comfortable around new people. New situations like a different environment scare them in general. That’s why providing them an opportunity for enrichment is important. This will give them the opportunity to find comfort when faced with new situations.
PetMD also states that a cat who doesn’t have activity may spend more time in a window or on a perch. Resulting in the cat becoming stressed if they see another cat or animal outside.
In order to reduce these stressful behaviors you’ll need to take action. Spending time stimulating your cat is recommended. Even if you only spend 10-15 minutes for playtime.
Did you read my article “Keeping Senior Dog’s Comfortable During Their Golden Years”? If not, I touch on weight gain in senior dogs. The same goes for cats. A cat who isn’t active is at a risk of gaining a bunch of weight. Even just a couple pounds on their little bodies can equal huge problems.
Cat Activities Perfect for Your Feline Friend
You may be at a total loss on how to play with your cat. Because, aren’t cats a bit like toddlers? They like to play but, it’s their way or the highway. So, their rules are the only rules they follow.
There are plenty of great options out there, though. Cat activities that will stimulate your cat. But, at the same time are entertaining for you to watch.
Cat Activities for The Hunting Instinct
Does your cat ever go outside? If so, has he ever brought you back a “gift”? I’m not talking about jewelry or a new outfit. I’m talking about birds, mice, lizard, and any other small animal. Your first thought is that definitely is NOT a gift. But, actually, it is.
You should feel special if your cat brings you one of these “treasures.” Because, in their mind, they’ve just brought you the best gift ever. A gift that money, obviously, can’t buy. Thankfully you can help them with their hunting drive. Minus the rodents.
Feather toys are popular in the cat activities and toy world. They give your cat the stimulation of hunting. Finally, they feel as if they’ve caught the bird they’ve watched outside! WebMD recommends removing the feather away from the cat after playtime. As your cat may eat the feather. Which, as a result, will end up with a possible intestinal blockage.
Strings, yarn, etc. are great ways to heighten your cat’s hunting drive. You can move the string across the room. This will end up with a happy cat. Some cats do outgrow playing with strings. But, thankfully, most do not.
Like with feather toys, it’s recommended you remove strings when you’re done playing. This is one of those recommendations that I can vouch for. My personal experience with this was horrible.
For many years I owned the sweetest cat. He was a Siamese cat. But, he was also considered a “Munchkin” cat. They are called “munchkins” due to their noticeably short legs. These cats sit low to the ground. Their body shape is much like a dachshund dog. That’s why I named him “Shorty.”
Shorty loved playing with string. He couldn’t resist being nearby when I used my sewing machine. At the time, I worked at a veterinary clinic. But, I had no idea that you shouldn’t leave your cat unattended with string. Honestly, I never saw him gnaw on a piece of string.
The incident took place shortly after his first birthday. I noticed his appetite was down. This wasn’t like Shorty. Eating was something he never turned down. Plus, he wasn’t up to playing like his normal self. Those were my first clues. I knew I needed to take him to the office with me soon.
The veterinarian I worked for at the time wasn’t sure what was wrong with him. She ran blood work and did a thorough exam. In the beginning, she chalked his odd behavior up to a tummy ache. So, we started anti-nausea medication. As well as put him on a bland diet.
Two weeks passed by. Shorty was still far from his “normal” self. After talking to the veterinarian, she wanted to see him again. We agreed to hospitalize him to monitor his behavior. Thankfully, at the beginning of his stay, a wonderful veterinarian assistant found the problem.
See, at the time, I was fostering 6 other cats. Was I crazy? Maybe just a little. But, needless to say, we had quite a bit of litter boxes in the home. So, as guilty as I feel for saying this, I didn’t monitor their bathroom behavior like I should have. Of course I cleaned the litter box on a regular basis. But, I didn’t know whose waste was whose. Plus, there was no sign of “danger” in the litter box lately.
Are you curious about keeping a tidy litter box? If you haven’t already, make sure you read my post: Litter Box Cleaning: How Often & Are You Doing It The Right Way?
The veterinarian assistant noticed Shorty was having trouble. He was struggling to have a bowel movement. Seeing this behavior in a pet usually makes you think of a few different things. Maybe he was constipated. Maybe there was something more. It was possible he had a blockage in his intestines.
Shorty’s veterinarian decided to do x-rays on him right away. That’s when the biggest problem was found. He had over a foot of sewing string wrapped around his intestines. At that moment, he went under anesthesia for emergency surgery.
His surgery took over 6 hours! The string was wrapped tight around his intestines. It was blocking blood flow and bowel movements. I’ll never be able to repay the assistant for her knowledge and quick judgement call. There was no way we could’ve waited much longer. Even just a day longer we may have lost Shorty.
It’s a well known fact that cats love perches and window sills. So, why not allow them some stimulation while they’re window watching?
There are great products out on the market that give your cat the thrill of bird watching. But, all with the cat and birds safety in mind.
The PetFusion Tranquility Window Bird Feeder is a great way to allow your cats to do a little bird watching.
Features of The PetFusion Tranquility Window Bird Feeder
- Made of premium lucite acrylic
- The suction cups are strong.
- Includes rubber perches. This encourages bird feeding.
- Comes with a removable tray. This makes it easy to refill the bird seed.
Laser Light Play
I’m sure most of you have seen the YouTube videos of cats chasing lasers. Once again, they’re getting that excess energy out. Important for their health. But, also important for your sanity at midnight.
Pointing a laser on the ground is a fun game to play with your cat. You’ll notice your cat enjoys this activity, too. He or she will love pouncing on the moving beam.
Cat Activities for The Survival Instinct
A feral cat is almost always watching their back. Plus, sneaking and hiding into places. They watch for predators. But, hide to sneak up on whatever they are hunting. That’s why they love the chance to live out their survival instincts.
Cardboard boxes are great for playtime. They are also a great way to give your cat a feeling of “security”.
Add a cardboard box and the laser light together. You and your cat will have a blast for quite a while!
Cats love paper bags! As you can guess, it’s for the same reason they love cardboard boxes. Plus, the sound of them scurrying around will give you a laugh.
Make sure you NEVER give your cat a plastic bag. This can cause suffocation.
There are many great cat activities that you can do with your cat. Activities that will stimulate your cat. As well as cat activities that will allow your cat to live out their natural instincts. All it takes is a few simple items around your house. Such as paper bags and cardboard boxes.
Plenty more activities are available as well for your cat. Such as giving them a scratching post. Scratching post allow cats to stretch their muscles. As well as file down their nails. Which will end up being a lifesaver for your furniture, carpet, and skin.
The PetFusion Modern Cat Activity Tree & Scratching Post is a great option. Especially if you’re looking to upgrade from your everyday scratching post.
This activity tree allows your cat to scratch, stretch, and perch. As well as participate in interactive play. Plus, we can’t forget about the great features it has.
The PetFusion Modern Cat Activity Tree & Scratching Post Features
- Made of high grade MDF.
- The MDF passes formaldehyde regulations.
- The beige carpeting will blend in with any home.
- 30 inch sisal carpet scratching post for scratching that your cat will enjoy.
- Gives your cat the ability to jump. It’s a 30 inch leap to the top platform.
- Includes a cubby hole. Perfect for hiding and feeling safe.
- Includes catnip spray.
Now you know how to keep your cat entertained. This time together will be good for you, your cat, and your family. Allowing exercise for your cat. As well as bonding time for your whole crew. Plus, there’s an added benefit to cat activities. It will help a cat with a little extra weight hopefully shed a few pounds.
So, let your cat enjoy their natural instincts. Add some play into their life, as well as yours. I can’t wait to see what kind of fun you enjoy with your feline friend!