And I know you know what I mean because come on, everyone's favorite days are the ones spent laying around in a sunbeam smelling fresh air pour in through a window screen. Oh yeah and the birds. Ye Haw! The birds are so much fun to watch- especially when they get tearing around with the squirrels. And I can see millions of them from my window. Dude, the action just never stops.
That is until chilly air arrives and my fur gets furrier, the birds get fewer and the window gets closed. Then it just gets sad. Really sad. And when's the last time anyone saw a peppy bug worth chasing around the couch room?
Which is why the other day when I saw Alanna in the garage I thought to myself, hey-why not? She must be fed up with this polar bear air too so why don’t I do both of us a favor and mix things up a bit. I waited until it looked like she was in deep thought (you humans are good at creating that look but really, if you don’t have to catch your own food what is there to think about?) and zinged her with my fast paw action- dodging in between her feet a bunch of times creating a game of skill, strategy and moderate danger. To a cat there’s absolutely no better way to take your mind off of stress. But you know Alanna and her overreactions. She of course starts flailing her arms around, shrieking and I think she called me Cheeze-Its. Any hoo- when the drama cleared it really looked like she was gassed and could use a breather. So she leaned against the wall and the next thing I knew she had pulled out my very favorite ball and string and waved it around for a good long while. Oh sure, at first it was coupled with some nonsense rantings about “Skunk you better never do that again!” But honestly, once that little feathered ball starts flapping around I can’t hear a thing. Anyhoo, what’s most important here is that a little running around and flying through the air made me feel really good again. So that got me thinking. There must be other gatos out there who are going stir crazy so maybe I should share some pointers(hey- laser pointers!) on keeping us content and off your feet.
- Pull out the ball and string or whatever toy your cat fancies and play with them! Roll balls in front of us, swing strings to and fro. Don’t just expect us to crawl into any ol’ box and occupy ourselves. Winter doldrums need friendships to counteract them.
- Mix up the variety in our toys- We don’t always want to chase the same ball. I mean, we will, but we prefer to see different stripes spinning from time to time. I have a container where I keep all my gear and then Alanna surprises me by switching stuff out every few weeks or so. What's cool is I’ll have so much fun playing with a newly discovered catnip mouse that I’ll totally forget about the jingly ball stashed away until...you guessed it...Alanna pulls it out and again makes it a newly discovered treat.
- Grow some green stuff for us- We love to gnaw on, tug on and chew up different varieties of grass that can easily be grown indoors. And this is good advice for all year. Just because the great outdoors is unsafe doesn’t mean we don’t still relish the feel of grass under our paws. And I’ve even heard humans say that green stuff growing in the home helps chase their winter blues too. So plant some seeds or buy an established plant but do something to make the house smell grassy.
- Visit some Cat Enrichment Websites- There's no shame in asking for help. Look at me, I never open my own food cans but with help I still eat like a champ. And the internet is cranking with ideas to make free or low cost toys for your gatos. I really like this one provided by ASPCA but feel free to explore and find ideas purrfectly tailored for your cat. And guess what. All that research, toy building and playing is a great way for humans to beat back the winter blues too.
So my fellow cats, if you’re hearing your human say “kitty you’re kind of bugging me?” a lot more often and humans, if you're finding more and more toys laying around on stairs, in the hallway or anywhere else humans walk fast and become more in tune to their toes, perhaps it's time to come together and work for each other's enrichment. Because as we all know, cold weather is awful but together we stay warm!
FOUR PAWS IN PEACE