Wrex can be a bit annoying. When he gets hungry, he makes sure I know about it. He rubs his little head on me or my hand, he sits between me and my computer screen, he paws at me and tickles me with his fur in my face. It’s understandable – after all I can also get a bit grumpy when I’m hungry. But sometimes Wrex sits happily on my lap and looks up at me with his big eyes, lets me stroke his fur and drools because he’s so happy. It’s hard not to like the little bugger.
So if you have a cat like him, maybe you’re thinking: What nice things can I do for my cat? Here’s a collection of 12 nice things you can do to spoil your cat or kitten.
1. Cat grass – Our cats love it. Strictly speaking, cat grass shouldn’t be something “nice” you do for your cats, as it should be available to them at all times. When they lick their fur, they tend to swallow hair they can vomit up by eating cat grass. But how about filling a big planter box with cat grass seeds? It’s cheap and your cats will love their new comfy cat grass meadow. Cat grass seeds are available for a few dollars from any pet shop or garden center.
As you can see, I also have a big planter on my balcony and I filled one half of it with cat grass. Garrus immediately decided this was his new favorite spot. He nibbles the cat grass and then lies in it and dozes. Pro tip: I’d get cat grass with thick leaves such as cat grass by Vitakraft. You can get it online, but I’m sure there are similar thick-leaved brands available in a pet shop near you. Cat grass at times is very thin and I’ve watched our cats struggle a lot more with eating the thin types. Thick leaves make it easier for them to rip off with their teeth.
2. Cat milk – You can get special cat milk or cheaper lactose-free milk. Cats usually love it and if you only give it as a small treat, you can make them happy easily. (Grown cats usually are lactose intolerant, so you can’t give them “normal” milk. As with humans, lactose intolerant cats who drink milk will get diarrhea.) Consider that milk contains a lot of fat. If you constantly give your cats milk, you’ll have some pretty fat cats at home very soon. As an occasional treat, it’s a nice change and might also help them stay hydrated.
3. Hiding treats – A new form of hide and seek! Sometimes before I go to work, I like to walk through our apartment and hide a few treats in different places, which my two cats can then look for while I’m away. They need to use their senses, it’s fun and they’ll get a treat as a reward when they find it. Pretty neat! Alternatively, you can get your cats an activity toy like Snackball. Your cat needs to push it about until the treats fall out. If you hide treats, they’ll have to look through the whole apartment to find them.
Do it yourself
4. Extra long playtime – Your cats will love it! Play with them for a long time – not just for five minutes before you feed them. Most cats love wand toys (see the article Cat toys as tested by cats), maybe add a cat tunnel – you don’t really need much more. Garrus and Wrex also love it when we’re putting new sheets on the bed and they can run around like crazy under the sheets. You as the owner surely know which kinds of play your furry friends love.
5. Making toys – You can do this without spending much money. One suggestion I’ve come across often is to take a cardboard box and fill it with crumbled up paper, leaves from a tree and a few treats. Now your cat can go digging in the box, looking for the treats. Ours also love toys made of wire. Garrus loves the wire clips that come with packets of white bread. He could chase those forever. It doesn’t have to be expensive to entertain your cat. We once received a salad spinner as a gift, and the box it came with was a great source of entertainment for our cats for weeks. We cut a hole in it and a cat would hide in it and poke a paw through the hole whenever a cat or human passed. Just be creative!
6. A new cat bed – Cats love boxes. A new box can be a nice new bed or cave for your cat. Cut a hole in it and it instantly becomes a toy. We once received a big basket full of food from a friend – the basked has become one of Wrex’s favorite places to lie in. It’s sat on our window sill, right above the radiator, and sometimes in the afternoon you can hear Wrex snoring in it. Another idea is to wrap an old t-shirt around a cardboard box to make a nice cave.
7. Brushing your cats – Brushing your cats is a good idea, as they usually like it and it means they eat less hair when they lick themselves (so they’ll vomit up fewer hairballs). But cats usually like being brushed just because. Our cats will purr like crazy if you brush them, and they can’t get enough of it (see Things for cats to see which brush I recommend). Another advantage of doing this (besides your cat being happy) is that it gives you the opportunity to check if your cat is okay. You can touch it and feel its fur, so you can find out if they have any injuries or if they’re hurting. If all goes well, your cat is healthy and simply happy that it’s getting all that attention.
8. Clicker training – Clicker training is yet another idea to entertain your cats. Look for books explaining how to clicker-train your cat for plenty of ideas of what to teach your cats. Ours can give their paw, do a high give, touch a pen with their noses and if you give them a command, they will also jump on chairs or shelves. They mostly do this because they get a treat for it, but supposedly they also get a kick out of hearing the clicking sound once you’ve conditioned them, as it means they did something correctly. Either way it’s a nice opportunity to bond with your cats and make them think.
Stuff you can buy
9. Catnip pouch – A little pouch or pillow filled with catnip or valerian. Catnip or valerian are like drugs for cats – but without any side effects. You shouldn’t give it to them all the time, as they get resistent with time, but once a week to relax them or occasionally before you play with them is a good idea.
10. Toy mice – Small toy mice are available at any pet store for a few dollars. Our cats love them, they chase them through our flat and chew them up until there’s nothing left. If you put the mice on a valerian or catnip pillow for a while before you give them to your cats, they will be even more interesting to them. Pro tip: If you notice that all of the 10 toy mice you bought have disappeared, look under your sofa. Usually you will find them there, covered in dust. (Maybe I should vacuum under my sofa more often.)
11. A new cat tree – That’s a bit more than a small gift for your cat, but a new cat tree or scratching post for climbing around and sharpening their claws is a fun thing for your cat. I mentioned this elsewhere before, but you can look on eBay or Craigslist to find cheap used cat furniture. Amazon also has a large variety of nice things for your cats to climb around on, like fancy cat trees, cat barrels, or cat perches for windows. With all the lovely cat trees available today, it’s really the available space in your apartment that’s the limiting factor.
12. Apps for cats – I’m not kidding, there really are apps for cats! If you have a tablet lying around somewhere, go to the Play Store to find apps like Cat Alone, which has little bugs crawling across the screen. Wrex does like to attack them if we put this on, and luckily he hasn’t scratched our screen so far. I’ve heard that some cats also like watching TV – even though ours have never been particularly interested in it. Maybe you’d also rather not have your TV on all day. If you have cats who like that kind of thing, you can always put on a sleep timer, though, to at least entertain them for a while before it goes back into power saving mode.
Those were 12 ideas of how to do something nice for your cat. Spoil your kittens and spend some time with them, even if you have a busy schedule. Especially indoor cats don’t have much else to entertain them, and they do appreciate it if their human pays attention to them.
If you have any additional ideas, feel free to put them in the comments!