With COVID-19 currently showing no signs of going away anytime soon, more and more of us are retreating to our homes, sometimes by choice and sometimes (and more unfortunately) by necessity. If you’re facing the next few weeks holed up at home, you’ve already no doubt planned plenty of things to do to pass the time. With TV, books, the internet, arts and craft, cooking, and a score of other things to do with your time, a few weeks of planned nothingness could actually turn out to be quite a busy period.
But what about those other creatures we share our homes with? If you’ve had to put your cat under house arrest too, they might not be quite so happy at spending the next two weeks snuggled up in front of Netflix as you, especially if they’re used to coming and going as they please. If you want your cat to stay happy during your time in self-isolation, figuring out a way of keeping them physically and mentally stimulated is going to be vital. Here, we take a look at the top ten ways of keeping your cats occupied during a quarantine.
1. Cardboard Boxes
If you’ve got plenty of cardboard boxes hanging around doing nothing, put them to good use by turning them into a playground for your cat. Most cat’s love boxes, seeing them as the ideal place to hide, sleep, and play. Punch a hole in a sealed one for your cat to slip in and out off, create a lineup of different sizes… whatever you do with them, your cat’s guaranteed a ball.
2. Give them a View
This sounds an obvious one, but don’t close your cat off from the world completely. Make sure that all the drapes and blinds in your house are open so your cat can get an unobstructed view of the garden or street. Even if they can’t venture out themselves, they’ll still enjoy perching on the windowsill and watching the birds and goings-on of the outside world.
3. TV Magic
First up, this doesn’t work for all cats. Plonk some felines in front of the TV, and the only thing they’ll be interested in is trying to knock it down. Other cats, on the other hand, can be tempted… providing you find the right channel. These days, there’s plenty of videos that have been specially created to keep cats entertained, usually by showing them a never-ending line up of birds, mice and the like. Pop one on and see if your cat shows any interest. If they do, you’ll never look back.
4. Let Them Out
Obviously, letting your cat wander the neighborhood when you’re in quarantine is off the table. But that doesn’t mean you can’t let them get some fresh air once in a while. As PetMD notes, an enclosure that juts from your window is a great way of letting them feel the wind in their fur without posing any risk to either themselves or anyone else.
5. Paper Bags
You don’t have to invest in expensive toys and gadgets to keep your cat entertained. Sometimes, the simplest things are the best, especially if those simple things involve paper bags. Letting your cat near plastic carriers is obviously a no-no, but provided you remove their handles first, paper bags can provide hours of safe, cheap fun. Set a few out and watch as your cat pounces in and out, tears them to pieces, and generally has a high old time with them.
6. Soothe their Souls
Quarantine can be a stressful experience, and not just for us. Despite their independent, aloof reputation, cats are actually sensitive little creatures and can find any sudden change in routine an anxious experience. Keep them soothed with some cat-friendly music: using restful sounds in a frequency ideally pitched to lower your cat’s stress levels, it’s a great, cheap way of keeping their anxiety under control. It might even do the same for yours…. If you’re not sure where to get started, simply pop David Teie’s name into YouTube.
7. Interactive Toys
While we might want to spend 24/7 with our cats, it’s not always possible, even when we’re in quarantine. If you’re still having to keep in touch with the office while you’re home, the last thing you want is for your cat to start making a fuss during a conference call. Invest in enough interactive games to entertain them during those times you really need to be alone. Like kids, cats tend to get bored of playing the same game over and over again, so invest in a couple and rotate them often enough to keep their interest spiked.
8. Keep Moving
Being housebound can send a normally active, outdoor cat crazy after a while, so look for games that involve plenty of movement to release that pent-up energy. Lasers (both handheld and stand-alone ones for when you’re too busy to play), feather chasers, a ball attached to a tower… basically, if something gets a cat to walk, stretch, run, and jump, it’s a winner.
9. Get Creative
If you’re cat’s bored of all their old toys, get creative in your ways of finding new ones. As Wiki How suggests, you don’t have to spend a fortune on toys to keep your cat entertained. Simply scrunching up a piece of paper or some foil into a ball and throwing it around makes a great game for them, and costs absolutely nothing to boot.
10. Time for Tricks
If you thought dogs where the only animals capable of learning tricks, think again. While they might not always be quite so eager to please as their doggy friends, cats can be coaxed into learning almost any kind of trick you can think of. They do, however, need to be trained using slightly different methods than dogs, so be sure to research the best techniques before getting started- sites such as Pet Finder offer plenty of info and resources to get you started.