Nov 25 2020

Winter Enrichment

It’s that time of year where we can see our breath outside and the winter chill pushes us indoors. Don’t let this change in weather limit your animals’ learning, energy release, and fun! By getting a little creative we can keep our pets mentally engaged. Check out these enrichment ideas for dogs and cats!

DOGS

Nose work interests most dogs because there is the promise of a yummy reward! Pick your dog’s favorite treat and something to hide it in which requires your dog to think. We love using dog puzzles and crinkle mats!

A treat hunt is also a fun way to get your dog moving. While your dog is outside or distracted hide treats throughout the home and encourage your pet to search for them. Using small treats to lead to a grand ultimate reward such as your dog’s favorite toy or high-value bone is a great way to start the hunt. Be sure to use lots of praise when they find a treat! 

Treat rolls make for a great DIY puzzle! Collect toilet paper rolls and stuff it with treats, peanut butter, tuna, etc. and fold the edges to seal it. Your dog (and cat!) will have to figure out how to open the roll to get the goodness within. If this is too easy for your brilliant companion Kongs are great for freezing peanut butter or tuna in so that they have to work at it a little more.

CATS

Cats are easily visually stimulated! There are free apps just for cats and Youtube channels dedicated to engaging them. If your cat is old school and prefers enrichment without screens try these ideas:

Cat puzzles! There are several treat puzzles/mazes that you can purchase online for your feline that will keep their brains busy. If your cat is anything like mine, he prefers the boxes that toys come in versus the toy itself. Boxes and paper bags make for a great DIY cat puzzle! Cut out holes (big enough for your cats arms to reach inside) throughout the box and place toys and treats inside so that your cat has to go fishing for them. Paper bags can also be cat heaven, especially with some catnip inside. 

Laser pointers have stumped our cats for years! The mysterious red dot comes and goes with no apparent pattern or reason and most cats love to hunt/chase it. You can’t go wrong with this classic! If you want to be able to fully focus on finding your winter chill try automated laser pointers.

What are your pet’s favorite indoor activities during the winter months? Please share in the comments!

Written by: Tara Cleveland


Feb 5 2020

Cat Enrichment – Let’s Play!

Is your cat bored? Do they wander from room to room – chirping and looking for something to occupy their time? Sometimes during winter months, cats can get bored, just like children. Bird-watching might be non-existent due to migration, or if your cat enjoys the outdoors – or catio time – that could be limited due to the weather changes.

In our shelter, we are constantly using enrichment ideas to keep our felines active and happy. These same ideas can be used at home for your cat!

Screen Time!

Did you know there are actually games and apps specifically for cats? These can be videos of fish swimming or birds in the fountain. Some of them are actually games where cats can paw at the screen and affect what is on the screen. We do find tablets are better than phones as it gives the cat a larger surface to play on.

Here are a few to check out:

  1. Friskies CatFishing: Free for iOS or Android
  2. Petcube App: free for iOS or Android
  3. Paint for Cats – iOS download – $1.99
  4. Pocket Pond 2 – free for iOS or Android
  5. Mouse – free for Android

There are also several free videos for cats on YouTube. Just search “Videos for Cats” and numerous ones will pop up.

Toy Time

Have special toys on hand that you only utilize for actual play time together. Catnip toys should be giving in limited amounts of time and these would be great ones to only bring out when you are playing with your cat. These are available in our store Whiskers & Wags, or other big box supply stores. You can also read our blog about how to make your own no-sew mouse toys.

By making these toys only available during special play time, the cat will stay engaged and get excited when you bring them out. This also signals it’s time for some fun. Wand toys are also great for this type of play. It allows for socializing and bonding time with your pet and gives them some enrichment too.

Treats Please!

There are a wide range of toys and puzzle activities that incorporate treats into play. Treats are hidden within the puzzle. Through their sense of smell they can locate the treat and move or slide small doors to find the treat. These are also available in our Whiskers & Wags retail boutique.

What’s In The Box?

If you are on social media you have undoubtedly watched at least one, or a hundred, videos of cats having a box party. While we are not sure why cats have such a fascination with an ordinary box it definitely gives us a great way to recycle those Amazon boxes. We have seen shelter cats at Wayside play with boxes for hours. So hang on to those delivery boxes and see how your cat enjoy them. Oh, and don’t forget to share your videos with us on our social media! We love them!

While cats do like their alone time, just like humans they can get bored. Watching for signs can prevent them from getting into trouble and getting hurt. Not to mention, causing humans some undue stress and questioning pet ownership.

Have some enrichment ideas of your own? Tell us about them at info@waysidewaifs.org or share them on our social media! Happy purring!

Written by Trish Cross



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