5 Ways to Keep 'your' Cat Intellectually Stimulated

If you can get Cat to skip around to Ballets Russes, he'll associate music with playtime. He might even develop a sense of cat-rhythm-to-go-with-human-music.

When you spend a lot of time with cats, and have cared to observe their antics, you quickly realize that like most of us, they get bored. Although one could argue that when the vile predicament of feeling restless and disinterested strikes, cats can get away with going to sleep, it is not that clear cut, I promise you. But I suppose I'll have to tackle the issue of feline sleep-overindulgence in a future article: 5 ways to tell if your cat is depressed.

In the meantime, if you and Cat (notice I will never write 'your' in front of cat, as it is not possible to own a living creature, even less so such a noble creature as Cat) enjoy a relationship of fondness and mutual appreciation, I could not but stress the importance of making sure Cat is entertained. Stimulate Cat, and Cat will prove to be the friend you always wished you might come across, but never quite found, in human form.

1 - When talking with Cat, prolong the conversation, allowing Cat to bow out first

It's rude to ignore anyone, and if a cat, of all creatures, deems you worthy enough to be addressed, it's simply insane not to reply. I live in a house with 2 cats. One of them cannot bear to see bedroom doors closed. He will miaow loudly outside any locked door until it is opened and he is free to inspect. But once you open the door, this cat needs to express his anguish, and he will ask you why you did it. Why was the door locked, contrary to his approval?

When a cat is directing a long complaint at you, the trick is to overdo the reply. Miaow for longer than Cat. Allow Cat to express himself, and then produce as many sounds as you can think of. Try intricate constructions, and prepare to see his little cat-jaw drop in amazement. Cat is thinking 'cool, an equal at last.'

2 - Be weird in front of Cat

It is almost never advisable to be weird in public, especially not when in the company of a member of the opposite sex you might like. Therefore enjoy the glorious freedom of being your gloriously weird self in the company of another creature: Cat.

Cats are used to eliciting the same responses in humans. They're used to cutesy talk. They're not used to being spoken to with a tone borrowed from Smeagle's 'precious' scene, or sung 1920s Italian opera to.

If you're going to do something incredibly strange like start chewing on your socks for attention, make sure Cat is watching. If you do strange things already, perhaps you should skip this step.

3 - Give Cat unusual food

Cats can be really odd when it comes to what they like eating. I was once acquainted with a cat who used to break into the cupboard and tear up ground coffee bags. We'd find him in the morning, rolling around on the floor, completely high.

You want to avoid being a facilitator in these cases where Cat has unhealthy habits. But giving Cat strange things to eat will relieve the tedium of having to ingest that ghastly looking foul smelling stuff that most people feed him.

Some ideas include fish paste, papaya skin and avocado. If you're not prepared to do this, at least let Cat sniff things. In the evening he'll have a new smell to put into his catalogue of life-experiences.

4 - Engage in blinking contests

Cats will blink at you when they're considering you with affection. Mirror the blinking, and try and see if you can synchronise: me, Cat, me, Cat. Etc.

5 - Dance around Cat with a string, and elicit movements that go with the music

If you can get Cat to skip around to Ballets Russes, he'll associate music with playtime. He might even develop a sense of cat-rhythm-to-go-with-human-music.

You'll never know until you try.

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