How to Prevent “Cabin Fever” in Your Cats During the Winter

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Cabin fever is known as a type of ailment that’s not going to kill anyone, your cat included. Of course, being cooped up in the house all the time is probably going to make people want to kill one another (kidding, of course) and your kids and cats are probably going to become a little bit bored. It happens. Cats need some time to get out and play. Even if your cat is not an outdoor cat, he or she might like to spend some time on the enclosed porch or patio, and the cold, wintery weather that prevents that can make your cat a little bit crazy. We all get tired, bored and irritable when we’ve been cooped up inside for too long, but it’s far easier to find something we can do to prevent boredom than it is to find something for cats to do. With that in mind, we wonder how we might be able to keep the cats entertained and happy so that we can have an enjoyable winter without grouchy, annoying animals. Cabin fever is real, people, and we have some real suggestions as to how you can manage it in your cat’s life as often as possible; for your sake and the sake of the cat.

Buy the Cat Something New

Cats are just like people in that they love new things. If your cat is bored around the house because the weather is awful all winter, buy him or her something new. A new cat tower, a new perch, some new toys; it really doesn’t matter. Cats love new things because it gives them a chance to try something new, do something new and enjoy themselves. Think of how excited you are when you get something new and then imagine you’re a cat who rarely ever gets anything new. How exciting do you think that moment is in the life of a feline?

Make the Cat Something New

You don’t have to go out and spend money on the cat to have a new item. You can make the cat something new to enjoy when the winter months are long. Try making the cat some cat snacks from scratch, or try making the cat a new toy or stand. It’s amazing what little things you can do for your feline friend that mean the most to them. For example, how about calling the vet and asking him or her for a suggestion as to something your cat would love to eat that you can make at home? We’d say you could look it up online, but it’s really something you should check with your vet about since your cat might have special needs or dietary concerns.

Buy Some Toys that Dispense Treats

Cat toys that hold onto treats and let your cats work for the treats are big time cool items. These are things that will keep your cat extra busy and cabin fever-free in the winter thanks to the fact that they mean your cat is not going to bother you. The cat has to work really hard to get things out of these toys. They’re fun to play with, and they aren’t things your cat will tire of quickly considering they want what’s inside. When they find what’s inside, they will be even more content to sit down and continue playing so that they have some more. Our advice, however, is that we not go for cat nip-like treats in something like this. Why? Because a cat with cabin fever and the added excitement of cat nip is probably going to make you completely crazy.

Make the Cat a Place by the Window

Cats love the outdoors. They want to see what’s happening out there, even if they don’t want to go out there. If your cat loves to be outside but can’t be out on the porch because of the weather, try making the cat a comfortable place to hang out near a window or glass door. When the cat has its own special place to sit or lie down, the cat is more likely to enjoy this time because he or she can look outside, enjoy and relax. We love the idea of having the cat near the window so that he or she isn’t missing out on all the things that he or she could be checking out if the weather was nicer and the cat could be on the porch or wherever it is that the cat likes to hang out.

Take the Cat Somewhere

This is a big one. Most cats hate the car. But if you have a crate and you aren’t afraid, go ahead and take the cat on a trip. Take the cat to your mom’s house and let the cat run around there with her cats for a while. It’s always a great idea to ask first so that you know whether or not your mom or friend or sister or whomever is actually okay with you bringing the cat to their home, however. Your cat might enjoy getting out of the house if it’s been cooped up. Or the car ride will remind the cat how much he or she hates the car and the idea of leaving home and it will cure your cat of cabin fever in the near future.

Do Not Let the Cats Out

Sure, there are cats all over the world that live outside in temperatures that are below freezing, less than ideal and very dangerous. But you do not want to take that chance with your own cat. Cats used to being in this weather have learned how to survive things like this. They know where to go and what to do to stay warm. An indoor cat that’s been pampered and taken care of its entire life is not going to be able to do the same if he or she is let outside. It might be tempting to let the cat out so it can see how bad it is, but do not do it. It’s not worth the risk.

Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

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