If your cat is stuck in the life-saving, indoors- only lifestyle I recommend [along with most other cat experts] you can bet she is bored to distraction. This is true even if she is lucky enough to have a fully enclosed outdoor “catio” – because even that has its limitations on offering something for the cat to actually do. Everybody needs a job in life, otherwise how do they pass the time and get a sense of accomplishment? What does your cat have to do all day? Even if your pussycat gives the appearance of being willing to sit curled up all day on one piece of furniture or another, what kind of life is that, really?
By nature, cats are predators and they are hard-wired to be hunters: stalking and capturing their prey, which can be anything from insects to small animals and birds. Unless there are no screens on your windows and there is an ample supply of flies and moths zooming around your house for your pussycat to catch, she feels like a bump on a log, sitting around twiddling her paws with nothing to do all day.
It’s marvelous if you can schedule a few five minute play sessions with her, using a realistic wand toy like a NekoFlies or one of Jackson Galaxy’s new toys for Petmate. But there are still an awful lot of empty hours in the day to fill, especially if you are out of the house during most of them.
A cat activity toy is a brilliant solution to this problem. There are many companies making them that have turned their attention to feline leisure time needs, but there’s also a cool website showing you ridiculously easy ways to make your own puzzle toys out of household items. You can fill the puzzle with freeze-dried protein pieces, like Halo Liv-a-Littles, along with a small amount of high quality dry cat food. If may be feeding a wet food diet to your kitty but also giving her some kibble because you cannot afford a canned-only diet. If so, then let that dry food be put to good use: put a small amount into the activity toy when you leave the house. Depending on the sophistication of the design of the toy, and how creative and determined your cat is to get at those little pieces in there, you’ll come home to find her genuinely tired and content from a hard day’s work capturing her prey.
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.