Food Puzzles for Cats

Cat Enrichment

Indoor cat enrichment, what does that even mean? Why would I do anything extra for my cat if they are content sleeping all day, eating some food, and going back to sleep? What more is there? They act as if they don’t even need me, but is that true?

The reality is that cats that are allowed to go outside lead significantly shorter lives than indoor only cats. Outside, cats are able to hunt, explore, and discover. It is now up to us to provide ways for our companions to have these experiences indoors.

It has become such an important issue in our indoor cat homes that The Ohio State University Veterinary school has launched a website dedicated to this topic called The Indoor Cat Initiative. This is an excellent resource for all feline homes, so please check it out. They provide ideas for indoor cat enrichment, but really you are only limited by your imagination!

Food Puzzles

In the video below, toys for food motivated kitties are featured. They offer a unique way to feed them and offer brain stimulation at the same time. If they were outside they would need to hunt down their food by waiting patiently, stalking it and finally…well, you know what comes next, but inside food is always waiting. How boring. Luckily there are all kinds of innovative ways to improve their meal time.

Here I am sharing some food toys that my cats enjoy, so much so that Zeike will actually start knocking it around and meowing at me if it is empty until he gets his playtime. This product is called a Fish Bowl that Waldo likes and Zeike enjoys the Slim Cat ball.

Local Resources

Please take a peek at Jay-Mar right next door to Oakview Veterinary Medical Center to check out their selection of cat friendly toys and treats.

Visit the Companion Shop located in downtown Stevens Point. They are a local source for  unique products for cats like catnip toys, food puzzles, and cat teasers.

 For more about cats, check out our last post, Indoor Cats.
 Dr. Curtis
Written by Valerie Curtis, DVM

Dr. Curtis received her undergraduate degree at UWSP and her doctorate of veterinary medicine at Purdue University. She has been in practice for over 10 years. Her knowledge, attention to detail, and compassion are integral to our practice here at Oakview.

 

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Indoor Cats

Welcome to Oakview Veterinary Medical Center’s New Blog! This month’s theme is cats!

Please let us know if there are topics you would like to hear about! This month, Dr. Valerie Curtis will be discussing indoor cats and how to keep them happy! 

Our feline family members can be finicky creatures…one minute “play with me” and the next “don’t bother me, I’m getting my beauty sleep.” We put up with it all because we love them and they are excellent companions. My cats Zeike and Waldo are excellent foot warmers and great companions during a scary or dramatic movie. They are always in my lap offering security and warmth. 

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Cat:

1. Vibrissae is a technical term for whiskers, which have well innervated hair follicles allowing them to sense their surroundings, especially at night.
2. They are solitary animals, not pack animals.
3. They are actually marking you as theirs every time they rub their face on you.
4. You can train your cat.
5. They are a predator and need playtime to release their instinct to “pounce.”
6. Lillies and Poinsettias are 2 of the most common plants that are toxic to cats.
7. Around 6 months of age, kittens lose their baby teeth for adult teeth.
8. The two outer layers of a cat’s hair are called the guard hair and the awn hair.
9. Clowder is a term used to refer to a group of cats. 
10. Cats have 5 toes on their front paws and 4 toes on their back paws. If they have more than that, they are called polydactyl.

Do you know what the term “bunting” means associated with your cat? Has your feline friend ever head butted you? They seem happy and affectionate at the time so we assume they are just showing us love and playfulness, but it is a known cat behavior called bunting. When cats do this, they are actually depositing facial pheromones on the object, other animal, or person at the time. This indicates to them that the person or object in the environment is safe, demonstrating a level of trust.

Cat head bunting Oakview Pet Gazette Plover WI

Are dogs and cats the same when it comes to where to pet them? I know that from years of cat examinations that there is one place that I leave until last when performing a yearly physical exam. Can you guess? It is a spot that can turn a friendly feline into a hissing maniac– their belly! They seem to love a good chin scratch and especially a butt scratch, but many do not tolerate their belly being touched. And have you noticed that even when they flop down in front of your feet, and if you are tricked into petting their belly because it is face up and exposed, that they just latch on with all four legs! They GOT YA! My Waldo is notorious for this! I always warn unsuspecting visitors to beware.

Before we get going with ways to enrich your indoor cat’s life, there may be some problem areas that need to be addressed first. Seems like a perfect time to introduce one of our problem solvers!

Our Local Behavior Resource

I want you to meet Emily! In addition to this information online, Emily is a reliable local resource.  She is a certified Veterinary Technician here at Oakview Veterinary Medical Center who has a special interest and love for animal behavior. If you need help, please contact Oakview to schedule a consultation that can be conducted in person or on the phone. A few of the concerns she can assist with include, but are not limited to:

  • Inappropriate use of the litter box
  • Inappropriate scratching
  • Kittens play attacking your hands and legs
  • Inter-cat aggression
  • Guarding resources (food, toys, litter boxes, people, favorite locations like cat towers)

Come back in a few weeks and I will discuss all kinds of ways to enrich our indoor cat’s lives.

See you then!

Dr Curtis Oakview Pet Gazette Plover WI
Written by Valerie Curtis, DVM

Dr. Curtis received her undergraduate degree at UWSP and her doctorate of veterinary medicine at Purdue University. She has been in practice for over 10 years. Her knowledge, attention to detail, and compassion are integral to our practice here at Oakview.

Continue reading “Indoor Cats”

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