Exercise Your Cat’s Brain

exercise your cat’s brain.

By: Cris Raiche

Creating opportunities to help keep your cat mentally sharp is definitely worth doing, and brain games are an excellent way to give your furry feline the mental stimulation they naturally crave.
Cats are instinctively curious creatures and enjoy games that stimulate their brain. Cognitive activities can also help reduce stress, boredom, and frustration as well as these additional benefits:

Brain games create bonding.

Most cats enjoy a good belly rub or a snuggle from their owners but offer your cat a game where they can use their natural hunting skills and watch them shine. Play time is important and not just the exercise it provides, but mostly for creating a sense of trust and love between you and your cat which in turn strengthens the bond you share.

Helps curb unwanted behavior.

Keeping your cat mentally engaged helps eliminate some of the more undesirable common cat behavior such as scratching your furniture, biting, or peeing outside of their litter box, which often occurs when cats become bored. A good cat is a tired cat, and by engaging them in play with games that exercises their brain, it helps tire them out in a good way.

Helps with training.

Not only are brain games good for a cat’s mental health, they have the added benefit of helping with training. Cats are intelligent animals and can be taught many different things such as fetch,
giving high fives and coming when called. Remember that when using treats as a reward to keep them small so that your cat doesn’t fill up before mealtime.

Brain games benefits.

Cats need brain games to help keep their minds sharp and just like us, cats enjoy learning something new. Providing opportunities where they have to figure something out in order to gain a reward is fun for them. These clever creatures are naturals for brain games. Games can be purchased or created from items you may already have in your home.

Incorporating puzzle games into a daily routine.

As a general rule, keep games short. Anywhere between 15 – 30 minutes a day is enough time to gain some good benefits from the play. Games that appeal to a cat’s natural instincts such as foraging for food are best played before their meal. Using a treat or a favorite toy to entice a cat to jump to different spots around your home is another simple game you can play together. Cats enjoy paper bags. Set up different sized paper bags and hide treats inside to provide both an opportunity to hunt and to stimulate their curiosity at the same time.

DYI brain games.

Homemade games are simple to create and provide the mental stimulation your kitty is craving. Recycle a cardboard box into a cat toy by cutting out several different holes on all the sides of the box in different shapes and sizes and fill the box with treats. Having to figure out how to get into the box and hunt for a treat will captivate them and keep them entertained in a positive way. Explore the many different cat game apps that are free and available on your smart phone. Cat game apps can be entertaining and engaging for some cats, however be sure to keep their time short when using apps so they don’t become bored. Always watch their behavior and try to end the game before they do so they will want to do it again next time.

Remember to give plenty of praise and positive feedback so your cat enjoys the time they are spending with both the game and you. Also, keep a close watch on their behavior to ensure they are enjoying the play and modify the game or try a new one if you feel your cat is losing interest. The games are meant to be fun for them, so mix it up and try new ones so both your cat and you enjoy the time together!