Am I a Bad Pet Owner If I Don't Want Cat Furniture All Over My House?

lotus tower for cats
Courtesy of The Refined Feline
Cat furniture doesn't have to be ugly. Look for elegant and modern pieces like this tower from The Refined Feline.

Cats Need to Play

It isn't enough to just provide scratchers and trees, your favorite feline needs mental and physical stimulation, and playing with him, particularly focusing on play that taps into his natural hunting instincts, is rewarding for your pet. This is especially true formore sedentary cats or a cat who lives as the sole feline ruler of his home. Also,Becker notes, cats who bite at your hands or feet or get snarky with other cats in the home may just need some stimulation. “It could be a result of pent-up energy that needs to be focused on productive outlets,” she says. “Exercise helps the cat to mentally and physically feel better and to be better behaved in the house.”

Tip 1: Use a wand for "batting" play.Some cats like to bat and jump at objects swinging above them. Wands are perfect for this. You can swing it above them so they jump and grab at the feathers, bells or toy at the end of the line. Remember to let him catch it once in a while.

Tip 2: Play a pounce game.Other cats prefer "pouncing" play, which appeals to their natural hunting instincts. They may follow a squiggly toy through the house (you can use wands for this type of play, too) and try to pounce on it. Some toys are made specifically for this type of play.And for those who love their iPads, there are even apps that have a mouse or bug running across the screen for the cat to pounce on.

Tip 3: Try a food puzzle. "Treat puzzles are excellent for cats because they keep their minds engaged and use up physical energy," Becker says. "Their natural eating is a multistep process rather than a one-step meal from a bowl, so the food puzzle makes it more natural and similar to a hunt for the cat," she says.

Tip 4: Let your cat "rabbit kick."
Some cats like to "rabbit kick," which is pretty cute to witness but actually mimics a cat's instinct to wrap its front paws around its prey, while kicking with its back paws.Look for toys that are made just for this purpose.

Different cats have various play preferences, so try a few types of toys until you discover what gets your cat in the mood for fun.

With a bit of education and effort, a dedicated cat owner can go from “bad” to “good” in no time. In addition to alleviating cat parent guilt, some easy changes can help make your cat happier and enhance your bond.

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