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As cats age they can become less active and have less energy to play. However, it is still important to keep your senior feline entertained and engaged in order to prevent boredom and maintain their physical and mental health. While it may require a little extra effort to keep an older cat entertained, the benefits for them and you are well worth it. Engaging your senior cat in activities that stimulate their mind and body can help them stay active and healthy, and can also improve their overall quality of life. In this article, we will explore different ways to entertain an old cat and provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they need. From providing lots of hiding spots and climbing opportunities to playing with your cat regularly and providing mental stimulation, there are many ways to keep your senior cat happy and loving life. So if you want to make sure your old cat stays young at heart, keep reading to learn more about how to entertain them.
Provide hiding places to entertain an old cat
Cat owners surely know that cats are natural explorers and love to play hide and seek. Since she was a baby, my cat has loved hiding in the bathtub and jumping out at me when I go into the bathroom. It’s an innate part of cat behavior and can be just as entertaining for us as it is for them. Share your stories of ways your cats have spooked you in the comments! I’d love to read them!
Why are hiding places important?
Providing your cat with plenty of hiding spots can not only satisfy their natural desire to explore and hide, but can also help keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. Here are just a few reasons why providing hiding spaces for your older cat is important:
Cats are predators
In the wild, cats are predators that rely on their ability to sneak up on and capture their prey. Providing your cat with hiding spots allows them to engage in their natural predatory behaviors, which can help keep them mentally stimulated.
Cats need a safe space
Cats are prey animals and can feel threatened by loud noises or unfamiliar people or animals. Providing your cat with a safe and secure hiding spot can help them feel more at ease and reduce stress. In addition, cats understand that they are aging and realize that in the wild, this would make them more of a target for predators. So it’s more important for senior cats to have these quiet spaces.
Hiding spots can prevent boredom
A bored cat is more likely to engage in destructive behaviors, such as scratching or excessively meowing. It can also make them play with things they shouldn’t, such as cords or your hands. Providing your cat with plenty of hiding spots can help keep them occupied and prevent boredom.
Hiding spots can provide physical exercise
Cats are natural climbers, and climbing and jumping to reach a hiding spot can provide them with some much-needed physical exercise. You might also want to throw some catnip toys or mice into your cat’s favorite hiding places to give them play options. This will provide additional exercise and entertainment.
How to provide hiding places for your senior cat
How can you provide your senior cat with adequate hiding places? Here are a few ideas:
Add shelves or towers around your home
Cats love to climb and explore, and setting up shelves or cat trees in your home can provide them with plenty of hiding spots and climbing opportunities. If you have a small space, there are shelves and cat trees that can act as storage units or bookcases, so they serve two-in-one functionality.4
Provide boxes or blankets for your senior cat
Cats love to hide under blankets or in boxes, so providing them with a few boxes or blankets can give them plenty of places to hide and explore. We’ve all played that “attack the human’s feet under the blanket” game – I’m pretty certain all cats love that!
Create a hiding spot using household items
If you don’t have the budget for a cat tree or shelves, you can create a hiding spot using household items such as cardboard boxes or even a small tent. Clean out space under your bed or couch so your cat can hide under there. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to give your cat a safe and enriching space.
In conclusion, providing your cat with plenty of hiding spots is important for their mental and physical health. Not only does it allow them to engage in their natural predatory behaviors and provide them with a safe space, but it can also prevent boredom and provide them with some much-needed physical exercise. So next time you’re looking for ways to keep your cat entertained, consider providing them with some hiding spots.
Play with your senior cat regularly to keep them active
As cats age, they may become less active and have less energy for play. However, it is still important to engage in play with your senior feline in order to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
Why playtime is important for senior cats
Here are just a few reasons why actively playing with your senior cat is important:
Playtime can help keep older cats physically active
As cats age, they may become less active and have less energy for play. Engaging in playtime with your senior cat can help keep them physically active and can also help maintain their muscle mass.
Playtime can help prevent boredom in senior cats
A bored cat is more likely to engage in destructive behaviors, such as scratching or excessively meowing. Engaging in playtime with your senior cat can help prevent boredom and keep them mentally stimulated.
Playtime can help improve an older cat’s overall quality of life
Providing your senior cat with plenty of mental and physical stimulation can help improve their overall quality of life and keep them happy and healthy.
Playtime can strengthen the bond between you and your cat
Playing with your senior cat not only provides them with physical and mental stimulation, but it can also strengthen the bond between you and your cat.
How to play with your senior cat
So, how can you engage in play with a senior cat? Here are a few ideas:
Use toys that mimic a cat’s natural prey
Cats are natural hunters and love to chase and hunt. Using toys such as wand toys or laser pointers can mimic their natural prey and provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
Use puzzle toys
Puzzle toys, such as food-dispensing toys, can challenge your senior cat’s problem-solving skills and provide them with mental stimulation. It can be difficult to entertain an old cat that’s dealing with mobility issues, but puzzle toys can provide lots of mental engagement.
Give them a space to watch birds and other wildlife
A window perch or cat tree in front of a window can entertain an old cat for hours. If you live in a city or don’t have an easy way to give your cat window access, there are plenty of “Cat TV” Youtube videos – you can play these videos on your tablet or TV and let your cat watch the outdoors from the safety of your home.
Teach them new tricks
Teaching your senior cat new tricks, such as giving a high-five or playing fetch, can provide them with mental stimulation and help keep their minds active and engaged.
Play with them regularly
It is important to set aside time each day to play with your senior cat. This can be as simple as a few minutes of playtime before bed or when you get home from work. Or you cat turn normal activities into play activities. Grab a wand toy and wave it around while you’re watching TV, or let your cat chase the broom while you’re cleaning the floor.
Actively playing with your senior cat is important for their physical and mental health. Not only does it provide them with physical exercise and prevent boredom, but it can also improve their overall quality of life and strengthen the bond between you and your cat. So don’t forget to set aside time each day to play with your senior feline and provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they need.
Note: We have a whole article on picking toys for senior cats if you’d like to learn more about toys specifically.
Mental stimulation for senior cats
Providing your senior cat with lots of mental stimulation is important for their overall physical and mental. Not only does play prevent boredom and destructive behavior, but it can also improve the quality of your cat’s life and keep their minds active and engaged, which can reduce the chances of depression. We’ll outline a few ways you can keep your cat mentally engaged below.
How to keep your cat mentally stimulated
Hide treats around the house
Hiding treats is a cheap and simple way to entertain an old cat. Cats love to hunt and forage for food, and hiding treats around the house can provide them with mental stimulation as they search for their reward. You can also try using food-dispensing toys to challenge their problem-solving skills.
Provide interactive toys
Interactive toys, such as bird feeders or scratching posts with built-in toys, can provide your senior cat with plenty of mental stimulation as they play and explore. Puzzle toys, where your cat needs to do certain things to access a treat, are also great for keeping your cat mentally and physically active.
Introduce new toys regularly
Cats can get bored with the same toys, so it is important to introduce new toys regularly to keep their minds engaged. You can also try rotating their toys every few days to keep things fresh and interesting.
Provide plenty of hiding spots and climbing opportunities
As mentioned earlier, cats are natural climbers and love to hide and explore. Providing your senior cat with plenty of hiding spots and climbing opportunities can help keep their minds engaged as they explore and play.
Play with your senior cat regularly
Taking part in playtime with your senior cat can provide them with both physical and mental stimulation. Try using toys that mimic their natural prey, such as wand toys or laser pointers, to encourage them to chase and hunt. You can also try teaching them new tricks, such as giving a high-five or playing fetch, to keep their minds active and engaged. Not only is play great for their minds, but it’s also great for cementing your bond.
Consider adopting a younger companion for your senior cat
If you’re looking ot entertain an old cat, adopting a new friend for a senior cat can be a great way to provide them with additional mental and physical stimulation, as well as lessen feelings of loneliness or isolation. However, it’s important to properly introduce the new cat to your senior cat and give them plenty of time to adjust to each other. While adopting another animal is not something to take lightly, it can really help improve the quality of life for your older cat.
Benefits to adopting a second cat
Here are a few reasons why adopting a new companion for a senior cat can be beneficial for their physical and mental health.
Cats are naturally social animals and can miss the company of other cats when they are alone. Adopting a new companion for your senior cat can provide them with the friendship they crave and help alleviate feelings of loneliness.
Cats love to play and explore, and having a new companion can provide them with plenty of mental stimulation as they interact and play together. A new friend can find new hiding places or introduce them to new ways to play with toys.
Cats are natural hunters and love to chase and hunt. Having a new cat around can provide your senior cat with plenty of physical exercise as they play and engage in their natural hunting behaviors. You will probably find even the most lethargic cat will become more active if they have a friend.
Improved overall quality of life
Providing your senior cat with plenty of mental and physical stimulation can improve their overall quality of life and help keep them happy and healthy. We like having friends, and so do cats!
Introducing a new cat to a senior cat
So, how can you introduce a new companion to your senior cat? Here are a few tips:
- Start slow: It is important to give your senior cat and the new cat plenty of time to adjust to each other. Start by allowing them to sniff each other through a closed door or barrier, and gradually increase the amount of time they spend together as they become more comfortable.
- Provide plenty of space: Make sure each cat has their own space, such as a separate bed or litter box, to help them feel more comfortable and secure.
- Supervise their interactions: It is important to supervise their interactions at first to make sure they are getting along and to intervene if necessary.
- Be patient: It may take some time for your senior cat and the new cat to become comfortable with each other. Be patient and allow them to adjust at their own pace.
If you’d like more in-depth instructions on what can be a bit of an overwhelming process, read our article about how to introduce a new cat to a senior cat.
Adopting a new companion for a senior cat can be a great way to provide them with additional mental and physical stimulation and improve their overall quality of life. Just be sure to properly introduce the new cat to your senior cat and give them plenty of time to adjust to each other.
Entertaining an old cat may require a little extra effort, but it is worth it to keep them happy, healthy, and engaged. By providing plenty of hiding spots, playtime, mental stimulation, and an enriched environment, you can help your senior feline stay active and engaged well into their golden years.