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Keeping indoor cat amused??

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Lucy Bradley, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. Lucy Bradley

    Lucy Bradley PetForums Newbie

    Nov 26, 2019
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    Hi, I'm a newbie so apologies if this is the wrong board.

    I have a 4 year old cat (Taffy) who we rescued in September. He was initially incredibly timid and scared at first but with encouragement he came out of his shell and has come very far in a short time.

    My concern is that he is not active or stimulated enough - Taffy has to stay inside because he has FIV. We allow him freedom to roam about the house, so he can get into the attic and any of the bedrooms. When we are both at work all day, I open the blinds so he can see outside but (from what I have seen) he doesn't show any interest in jumping up on the windowsills to look out.

    We have tried him with toys but he is still jumpy and is intimidated by the movement of your arm when playing and tends to run away. We got him a ball that lights up but he was afraid of that too! Poor kitty has clearly had something quite scary happen in the past.

    I have considered getting him a cat tree but he's a very big cat and while I don't think he'd break it, he'd be too big for the hiding spaces and possibly the platforms. He also doesn't really like to feel fluffy fabrics under is feet- we have a fluffy rug in the porch and he will do anything to avoid stepping on it!

    Sorry that was a lot of information but I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice about how to make the environment more interesting for him? He was depressed at the rescue and hardly ever left his den, and I really don't want that to be the case at our house as well. Thanks for any ideas!
  2. MissFluffy

    MissFluffy PetForums Junior

    Nov 27, 2019
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    They've all got different tastes when it comes to toys, if you try different things (and it doesn't necessarily have to be "real" toys) you'll probably find something that works eventually – or maybe he will on his own if he has the run of the house. I've known a cat that would only play with pencil stubs and little tinfoil balls, another who'll go crazy over elastic bands and walnuts. Overall all the cats I've had seemed to like toys that were either really light, so they could easily be batted around or thrown in the air, or bulky enough to have a good wrestle with (catnip will help). My latest kitten will fight with a flat pillow that came out of a scratching-post. If Taffy seems interested in a rod but is scared of your movements, just drag it along the floor gently, stopping to give him a chance to make up his mind and pounce if you see you've got his attention. Potentially do this with a long string so you can stay at a distance. Once he's confident with that you can make the game more active. And if he's really not interested, don't worry too much. Maybe what he really likes is "hide in the most unlikely spot possible, have a nap and let your human staff seek" :)
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    @Lucy Bradley - hello and welcome :)

    Taffy is still only a youngster and he needs some physical and mental challenges every day to stimulate his mind and to compensate for the fact he stays indoors. Main thing is to make regular changes to the games you play with him, think up new games, so things don't become stale and boring to him. The same applies to any cats, not just cats who live indoors. It is just a matter of being creative really. Need not cost a fortune. :)

    I'd avoid the type of cat trees that have hiding spaces and boxes attached. I've never yet had a cat who used those parts of the cat tree anyway. A couple of ceiling high cat trees with platforms or beds to rest on would be good. Something like this perhaps - the width of the beds is 45 cm which would be OK for my large cats who both weigh 6 kg.


    (Note, this ^^^needs fixing to the wall).

    You can also fix shelves up the wall, at an incline, up to the top of a cupboard and put a fleece up there for Taffy to lie on.

    Also build high walkways, utilising the unused overhead space in your home. I had a fabulous high walkway right around my stairwell when my 2 girls were kittens and they loved it. I took most of it down when they grew up and began going out in the garden. [I have several 30 ft mature trees in the garden which they love to climb, one cat sits high in the tree for ages at a time, surveying the world.] :)

    Here are some ideas for indoors you could adapt quite cheaply :


    Or this :


    Taffy might also enjoy the Youtube videos for cats - of mice and birds. Download them onto a phone, tablet or laptop and put it on the floor for him. But be sparing with his viewing or the magic will be lost.

    Is there any chance of building an enclosed outdoor 'catio' or outdoor run for Taffy, so he can have some time outside safely? :)
  4. MissFluffy

    MissFluffy PetForums Junior

    Nov 27, 2019
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    @chillminx That's funny. I've got two scratching posts with hiding holes on 2 or 3 levels and both of my older cats (the youngster is still in a separate room) love curling up in them, both at ground level and higher up. Just goes to show they're all different :)
  5. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

    Sep 6, 2009
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    It sounds to me like Taffy needs a lot more time to settle before you start worrying about Games. He's been there a little over 2 months? He's still jumping and starting at sudden movements and noises. That doesn't sound like a cat relaxed enough to play yet. . For the time being I would continue to just let him settle in.

    Provide him with a cardboard box for a Box Fort. Or a couple, but keep one in the room where you spend most of your time with him. Put a study shelf in front of a window, with lower shelves leading up to it so he can get up to it, in case he doesn't want to jump.

    You said he is a large cat, is he obese or just big?

    What's his diet?

    To try a Game with him in a non threatening way, sit on the floor and just be peaceful and talking to him. Have a a couple small pieces of paper cumpled up and a string on a stick. After a while of sitting together, either quietly draw the string on a stick across the floor (avoiding a lot of movement of yourself) or roll one of the crumpled papers and see what he does. You might have something, a newspaper of paper towel even (if he doesn't like the noise of the newspaper) and drag the string slowly with jerky movements under the paper, to entice his hunting instincts.

    But I wouldn't push it at this time. Try those non threatening Games, but if he's not ready, don't worry.
    Orla and moomoowawa like this.
  6. Calee91

    Calee91 PetForums Newbie

    Nov 6, 2019
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    It sounds like taffy is still settling in to his environment and still unsure if he is ready to play yet.
    My cat is from a rescue and was very scared, I have had her 2 months now and she is much more settled.
    She likes to play with light toy mice with string tails so she can throw them around. She also loves feathers on toys and licks them so much haha
    She has only *just* started to stand on the cat tree after 8 weeks,on the bottom level. It could be that taffy didn't have toys before and doesn't know what to do with them as well
  7. kaisa624

    kaisa624 PetForums VIP

    Mar 5, 2010
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    So I have 2 large cats - the lilac is almost 6kg - we bought 3 different cat trees made for big breed cats.

    They are both indoor cats, with garden access when we are home and are supervised. The trees were expensive, but they love them and they won't break them, and don't need to be attached to a wall as the two large ones are about 45kg.

    We leave toys out during the day (balls, kickeroo's etc.) for them, and live in a 3 storey townhouse, so they get a lot of roaming :)

    Collage 2019-12-19 15_38_11.jpg
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