Dear Ms. Kitty,
I've adopted a younger cat from a local shelter. Her name is Tangy and she is a beautiful orange tabby. But I was only able to bring home one kitty since I live in a small apartment. I work part-time and I'm worried that she will get bored while I'm not home and get into trouble. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make sure she is entertained? - Bothered by Boredom
It is so important to ensure that indoor cats of any age have appropriate ways to keep themselves amused while they are home alone.
My first suggestion is to take a look around your apartment. You mentioned it is small, but is there an area by a window for a cat tree or a windowsill for a cat bed? Either would provide your kitty with her own stage to the world. And make sure that cat beds are installed with screws to prevent mishaps! It would be better if you could put a bird feeder outside the window.
If these suggestions aren't an option, how about placing an end table near a window with space cleared for Tangy to hang out on a blanket? You also can install a 'book shelf ' cat bed on a wall and maybe a kitty walkway in one room. Check out the many cool ideas online at hauspanther.com and kittymansions.com.
There's an endless supply of 'play by myself ' toys at local pet stores. A few of my favorites are the Turbo Scratcher - a circular ball track with a cardboard scratcher in the middle; any toy with a motion sensor that will entice play by moving only when Tangy walks past; and toys that hang from doorways. Don't forget empty cardboard boxes - they provide endless hours of fun - and most every cat's favorite thing, edible cat grass and cat nip!
It's important to remember that regular playtime needs to happen while you're home. Ten minutes of dedicated, interactive play time each day will keep her healthy.
During playtime, please keep this crucial tip in mind - cats aren't dogs. What I mean is many cat guardians 'play ' with cats by using their hands as toys - the belly tickles and waving fingers. Hands are not toys, and hands and claws do not make a good match.
Wand games are some of my favorite human/cat games. Try 'Da Bird ' or 'Cat Catcher. ' Make sure the kitty catches the toy on occasion. Pounce games involve leaping onto an object hidden under a blanket or throw rug. You can use a stick, mylar ball or a piece of string with this game. There are also battery-powered cat toys that encourage this type of play. Bunny games are a lot of fun and involve toys stuffed with catnip that kitties can grab and kick with their back feet. Lastly, the ever popular laser pointer toy. Some cats might take a minute or two to catch on, but once they have it - look out!
Next: I'll talk about Clicker Play, a fun training tool.
Albertson co-manages Happy Cats Haven, a rescue and adoption center at 1412 S. 21st St. Call 635-5000 or visit happycatshaven.org. Email questions to AskingMsKitty@gmail.com.