Tips to Help Keep Your Cat's Brain Sharp

Cats are living longer than ever nowadays, so it's important to incorporate mental health activities into their daily lives to help them make the most of their twilight years.

It's never too early to start exercising your kitty's brain. With that in mind, we've put together seven tips that can help keep your feline friend mentally spry.

7 Tips to Keep Your Cat's Brain Young

Kitten Playing with Ribbon

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1. Start training the brain early.

Make sure your cat stays physically active and mentally engaged throughout his life — starting when he's a kitten. Teach him tricks and challenge his mind with food puzzles and toys from an early age.

Cat Batting Ribbon

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2. Play daily.

Adhering to a daily schedule that includes playtime means a better chance of your cat continuing to play later in life. Toys don't have to be expensive — homemade playthings such as wads of paper and socks stuffed with catnip can provide countless hours of entertainment. But always keep a focus on safety — your kitty might love batting a ribbon, but if he chews and swallows it, you could be in for a trip to the ER.

Cat looking at bird through window

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3. Create some kitty TV.

Provide your kitty with visual stimulation by placing bird feeders or birdbaths outside windows.

Cat playing in box

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4. Build obstacle courses.

Set up boxes, paper bags and cat trees to give your cat places to climb, lounge and hide. Be prepared for some serious games of peekaboo and hide-and-seek!

Cat grooming kitten

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5. Adopt a younger pet.

A younger, playful pet may re-energize an older, sociable cat and inspire him to get moving again. Just be sure that any new pets are introduced safely and correctly.

Cat in Harness

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6. Offer a new leash on life.

Yes, many cats can be taught to walk on a leash! If you can train your cat to use one, you may be able to enjoy walks together that can provide him with much-needed mental stimulation.

Cat Eating from Dish

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7. Make treasure hunts out of meals.

Hide small amounts of food all around the house so that your cat has to "hunt" for them. Placing them at different heights will make it more of a challenge, as long as your cat doesn't have any health conditions, such as arthritis, that might make this difficult. Just make certain he's finding his food and eating the proper amount each day!

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