Guest post by Angie Bailey
In some parts of the country, the temps majorly dip during the winter months. I live in Minnesota, which is definitely one of those parts. I have no desire to frolic outdoors when it’s below zero, so I spend a good part of the winter indoors. My cats are indoor kitties, so cold weather means we spend a lot more time together. I’m always looking for ways to keep all of us entertained while we’re stuck in the house.
Here are four ideas that pass the time, as well as provide fun for both humans and cats.
- Make homemade cat toys
Before you protest that your crafty abilities are zilch, please know you can easily create cat toys with little to no talent in the crafting arena. Plus, I promise your cat will not judge the artistry of your finished product. Probably. I’m told some cats have secret lives as art critics. Whatever the case, I say go for it!
Of course, the easiest homemade cat toy is a wadded-up piece of paper. Voila! The cats go wild! I’ve also had success by placing a couple of treats inside empty toilet paper roll and folding in the sides to create closure. It rattles! It rolls!
You can create a treat puzzle using an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll by closing only one side and letting your cat work to release the treats from the open side. This exercises their bodies and brains. And it’s exercise for us to make these toys! I’m pretty sure we burn a lot of calories folding the sides of empty rolls.
- Make blanket forts
Did you make blanket forts when you were a kid? Me too! My parents even let my sister and me sleep overnight in our cool forts. Sometimes we’d use multiple sheets and blankets to create a multi-room extraveganza!
Cats love hidey-holes and private getaway spots. Why not channel your inner kid and whip up some fun blanket forts for you and your cat? You can always make ones of various sizes and let your cat choose his favorite. When you climb inside your magical fort, your cat will probably join you. Bring toys and snacks (for both of you), and you’re good to go!
- Create games
My cat loves to play “peek-a-boo” with me. It’s the whole hunter-prey concept. I hide around the corner, peek at my cat, and then hide again. If you’ve ever seen the Ninja Cat video, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
My Phoebe will play catch like a dog. She especially enjoys chasing toys up and down stairways.
I find if I sit or lie on the floor, games just happen. Kitties love it when we’re on their level. They become curious (nosy) about our activities, and want to be involved in every way. This is especially evident when we’re wrapping gifts, playing board games, or putting puzzles together. Seriously, sit on the floor and see how long it takes for your cat to join you. Oh, there he is! I once sat on the floor and my cats quickly joined me. Then I took off a sock, balled it up, and lay it on the carpet. That sock became the best entertainment they’d had all day. The smells! The swatability! You just never know what will happen when you park yourself on the floor. Think outside the box–and maybe climb inside a box!
- Grab some extra cuddles
My favorite cat-centered winter activity is cuddling. When it’s chilly outside, there are always extra blankets, and humans and cats both seek extra warmth. If you’ve had a rough day, or just feel like being lazy, grab a blanket and a cat or three. Now don’t move for several hours. Even though you’re sedentary, there are calories burned simply by breathing, petting cats, and sitting under all that warmth. So technically, you’re exercising.
Photos: Courtesy of the author