Momma Told Me: 5 Tips To Make Treat Time Fun For You You + Your Cat

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

5 Tips To Make Treat Time Fun For You You + Your Cat

5 Simple Tips to make treating your cat more engaging and fun for both you and your cat!
Momma Told Me: We got the cat/dog/hamster so you wouldn't be bored. And there you are both laying around bored!

It's no secret my pets are my children. I don't go to a grocery or major retail store without stopping to think, is there something I need to buy for 'the kids.' If you're lucky, like me, you don't have a picky eater. When your pets are as enthusiastic about their food as a child is over an ice cream cone, you can get away fairly 'cheap.' Whenever I run out of 'cat treats' I turn Truffle's food into a reward of it's own through engaging activities and fun bonding time.  Of course, in order to 'treat' with the very same food you feed your pet you have to keep your pet on a portioned diet. (Which is a good idea, anyway.) Grazers aren't as motivated to perform or play for 'treats' they can readily eat from their food dish at any time!
5 Simple Tips to make treating your cat more engaging and fun for both you and your cat!
I digress- So, back to me, in the stores.

I simply cannot walk past a pet aisle and NOT grab something for my fur children. I don't care if I just went down the aisle 3 days ago, I'm going back down it again. And, in my head it's as if my pets are sitting there in the shopping cart with me pointing and asking for everything in sight. (And it's rather good they're not because Truffles can be quite demanding.) Let's just say, if there's a new product intended to pamper, treat, or engage cats or dogs, I'm probably walking out of the store with it. But you don't have to buy fancy whirly-gigs and colorful treat dispensers to make 'snack time' fun for you and your cat. Let's check out 5 simple ideas-
1. Hide the treats- Cats are hunters. They enjoy a challenge, and they enjoy treating objects like prey. Place treats in a favorite toy, a cat Kong, or even out in the open, up high. Consider places where you can treat your cat that require a little bit of their own ingenuity. Always make sure that your cat is aware of what you are doing by shaking or rattling the pet treat container before removing and hiding the treats. For less creative pet parents, several cat treat brands now have their own treat dispenser system that engage a cat's need to stalk, attack, and chew with bobble style toys.

Friskies Wobbert PullNPlay
2. Add catnip- No, I don't mean to your cat's toys and loungers- I mean physical catnip to your cat's treats and treat dispensers. Organic catnip is edible and comes in fresh grass and (more traditional) dried varieties. Utilize catnip just before treating to help set the mood for playtime or physical activity, or offer catnip greens with a few of your cat's favorite treats.

3. Train your cat- Yes, cat's can do anything intelligent that dogs can. If you can train a mouse for the circus, you can train a house cat to do all the tricks their canine counterparts can do. As with most animals, training will be easiest when your cat is young, but Pavlov's response can be used to condition a multitude of behaviors even in adult cats.

Over the past few weeks I began giving Truffles a small piece of cheese whenever I pulled out the shredded cheese from the fridge. Now she not only comes running when she hears the fridge open, she tries to walk into the fridge! That wasn't an intentionally conditioned behavior, but it's the perfect example of using rewards to trigger behavior. Teaching your cat to high five, and stand up (on their back legs) are the simplest commands you can master through treats.

Begin with your cat sitting in front of you. Hold the treat between your index and middle finger, waving the treat in front of your cat, just above their head, out of reach. Once your cat reaches up to grab, or take, the treat say 'high paw' or 'high five' and immediately give your cat the treat. Do this for several days and your cat will begin mimicking the behavior on their own with visual cues alone. Then you ma move onto 'stand up' by producing the same training behavior, with the treat just slightly higher out of reach!
5 Simple Tips to make treating your cat more engaging and fun for both you and your cat! (Frisies Wobbert Pull N' Play shown)
4. Play Fetch- Believe it or not many cats naturally pick up the habit of playing fetch if played with as a kitten. It is a natural behavior for cats to present prey to their owners as a sign of respect and fetch very much fosters this behavior, as well as a cat's need to stalk and hunt. Reward your cat for bringing you a toy, whether you're thrown it or not, and for returning a toy you've thrown. Who says dogs get to have all the fun?
Forgive the dirty floor, this is the 'cat's corner of the house :)
1. Just the two of us- Designate a special time or activity each week to hand treating your pet. Make this a special time you specifically schedule into your busy life. Perhaps it's a time where you and the cat can curl up and read a book, or after the weekly brushing- Repeat the same series of activities, in the same location of your house every week. Be sure to give your cat ample love and undivided attention during this time. The event does not have to be lengthy or involved so long as it involves you and your cat exclusively and a regular task that ends in treating them. This serves to designate a spot in your home as a safety spot and clearly associates the treats (regardless of whether you treat at other times during the week) with love.

There are several ways to make treat time more engaging and meaningful for you and your cat. Regardless of what or how you treat, the act of treating should always be done along with an act of affection or love. Treats are not a substitute for your time and attention and should only be used sparingly as part of regular nurturing and interaction. How or when do you treat your pets?

What Daughter Says:  Your cat's health relies just as much on attention and activity as yours does, why not achieve a little bit of both, together?

9 comments:

  1. Truffles is the coolest cat! I've been wondering about the new Friskies treats since I saw them in the store. Nixie and Milo are quite aloof when it comes to tricks, but my kitty Prudence (RIP) was the best at tricks!

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  2. These are great ideas, we know a bored pet gets into mischief too! That toy is absolutely adorable for kitties too!

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  3. This is such a cute toy and treat! I bet my cats would love it.

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  4. The Farm cats are too spoiled for words. Although they do get a certain amount of erm, live prey to play with but the mousies are not good for the farm. I've been intrigued by that Temptations mouse. It may find its way home yet.

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  5. That's such a cool idea! Cats love to eat and sleep, so if you can make them work for their treats, that's a good thing.

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  6. This is a cute toy. I will get this for my sister's cat.

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  7. What a cute way to treat your cat. It's a toy and a treat in one.

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  8. That's adorable. I don't think I've seen that treat holder before. We have 3 cats we love to spoil.

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  9. that's super cute! my little dog Charlie would like that--i hope they make a pup version!

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