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When You’re Away, the Cat Will Play!

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The Spirit of Bo, the Heavenly cat, returning to cast more pet enlightenment upon our readers:

You love your cat. He is the center of your world.  You would do anything for him.  But what can you do for him when you are away for extended periods of time? You can’t always take him with you.  Some pet parents face separation anxiety, usually in the form of their own guilt when leaving their pets to take care of themselves while the pet parent is away at work all day.

How can you help keep your cat occupied for eight to 10 hours? Napping that long is not an option (unless you are the resident cat, Party Marty!).  According to petmd.com, here are a few things you can do to alleviate the boredom and put some fun time into you cat’s day while you are away:

  • Create a fun zone! When your cat is ready to fire up his engine, have a special place set up just for him that is designed for the purpose of play and fun.  If you don’t have a spare room, reserve a corner of a room or a window.  Set up a cat tree or scratching post that is made for climbing and claw exercises.  Perches that allow for overlooking the yard will give him a dazzling “reality” show of what is going on outside.  If you place a bird feeder just outside the window, your cat will be mesmerized for hours…if not a bit frustrated, too!
  • Get your cat a buddy! If your cat is the only pet in the house, consider adopting a brother or sister for him…the feline kind, of course.  It can be challenging initially, especially if your cat is older and used to being alone, but once they warm up to each other, playtime can be productive and fun. They might even invent new games to play together! (Better set up a hidden camera to capture the fun you will miss out on!)
  • Snack time!  Puzzle time!  A food puzzle toy is a great way to keep your cat occupied.  There are some ball shaped toys on the market that are designed to be stuffed with small pieces of food (treats), which are released once your cat figures out how to undo the catch or turn it just the right way to make the treat fall out!
  • Create an ambiance of soothing sounds. Music has a way of taming us all, and once you discover what types of sounds to which your cat responds, you can set up your stereo/iPod to play quietly while you are away.  When in doubt, you can never go wrong with classical music or meditation tunes.

While most cats truly do not mind being alone, enriching your pet’s environment can be a win-win situation: your cat has fun during the day and your guilt is alleviated, or, at the very least, somewhat lessened!

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