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!
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-
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!
|Forgive the dirty floor, this is the 'cat's corner of the house :)|
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?