Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Things are crazy right now. That's for sure!
If you're stuck at home, things may be a little different. Your cat is probably wondering why you're here more often now. Maybe they're pestering you, sitting on your laptop, meowing at you, or maybe they have the zoomies. Here are a few things you can do with your cat to keep them busy while you're working, keep them exercised and tired, and skills to work on!
1. Harness Training. If you've always wanted to get your cat used to a harness...now is the time! First, prepare your cats treats and have them ready. Next, put your cat in their harness and immediately reward them with their wet food or treats. If they aren't used to it, they'll likely roll around, bite it, and flatten out. This is normal so don't worry. If any of the above takes place, this is when you distract them! Use a toy or food and ask them to do a few of their normal behaviors without worrying about the harness. Make sure that it is not too tight or they are likely to flatten out or roll over. You'll want to start with just 5 minutes or less of them wearing it and gradually increase their time in their harness. Be sure to take the harness off only when they are comfortable in it. Don't take it off if they are fussy. Distract them with a toy or treat before taking it off. Before no time, they'll be used to it and have no issue wearing it and then you can gradually add the leash. When using a leash, NEVER pull them and always keep slack in the leash. Check out one of our favorite harness and leash combos here.
2. Got harness training accomplished? Take your cat on a walk outside, it's good for all of us to do that, especially now! After all, cats love to explore. You don't have to go far, but letting them explore the outside bushes, roll in the grass, or just walk around on leash is a great way to exercise your cat and introduce them to new environments. Your cat will thank you for the new adventure!
3. Wear them out! This can be done a few different ways but training is our favorite way to tire our cats out. If you're doing training sessions, throwing treats is a pretty common way to reset your cat when teaching tricks. Try throwing your treats farther than usual so they have to really run for it! While you're on your lunch break, you can also work on more physically demanding tricks like sit up (works their core), jumping up and off of surfaces, and anything that gets their body moving more! And if youre stuck at the computer all day, get out that laser pointer for a fun game of chase to wear them out.
4. Crate Training. We swear by crate training. We see it as a crucial training skill for any cat. You never know what is going to happen and we have to be ready for anything. From disasters to vet visits, being able to get your cat into their crate quickly is a necessary skill. Use these weeks to start feeding your cat in their crates, every day! Get them used to their crates by feeding their meals in their crates. You don't have to close the door but letting them venture inside at meal time will get them acclimated and teach them that the crate really isn't that bad after all! You can read more on crate training here.
5. Change to Meal Feeding. You've probably heard us say this a lot, but we'll scream it from the rooftops if we have to...NEVER FREE FEED YOUR CAT! Yes, there are some scenarios where it is necessary but generally, we NEVER free feed our cats. Meal feeding offers so many advantages and can fix so many behavioral problems. Meal feeding can help you to start to build a bond with your cat, it can help to nix that hunger cry at odd hours during the day and night, stopping obesity in its tracks, and so much more! You can read more on this here.