by Yahaira Cespedes
Building a Cat Playground
Many pet parents know that if left unattended, cats can wreak havoc on a house or apartment. From sharpening their claws on the furniture to shredding your beloved plants, a bored cat is a destructive cat.
If you watch kittens at play, you will see that felines enjoy simulating the hunt. That is because cats are predators, and their instincts are to stalk, chase, and catch their prey. What’s more, cats are crepuscular — which means that they are mostly active from dusk to dawn. To use their agility, speed, and incredible acrobatics, many cats (especially when they’re young) will want to jump, run, and play — all while you are asleep.
One solution to this is to build a feline jungle gym or playroom. From high-tech to recycled items, here are a few tips for encouraging healthy recreation for your cat without sacrificing your interior design.
Do It Yourself Construction Hacks
If you have an indoor cat, chances are he has limited places for climbing and jumping. In general, cats like to have a high vantage point from where they can survey their immediate environment.
If you can modify your home with simple construction, one of the best (and best-looking) ways for your cat to exercise and play is by building a set of cat shelves or cat stairs. The concept is similar to installing bookshelves, only in an ascending pattern up the walls that your cat will enjoy.
The website Saucy Dwellings features an article on how to build your own cat shelves using modified Ikea furniture. If you’re a weekend do-it-yourselfer and enjoy construction projects, you can find plans like these at Ikea Hackers.
Using a similar concept, Etsy seller Like Kittysville designed a collapsible medium density fiberboard holiday tree and made the plans available online for free here. Another great source of inspiration can be drawn from The Cat’s House, an online folio of a home that was redesigned to accommodate its four-legged residents.
Of course, if you would rather just do the installing and not the building, you can purchase ready-made cat shelves at many of your favorite pet retailers, such as Pet360!
Up and Down
When thinking about ideas to draw on to create a playroom for your feline, remember the most important aspect – your cat’s comfort. That is why it is best to design a room where your felines can feel at home either at rest or at play.
You can simply designate a room or area to stock with your kitties’ favorite toys and essentials. Sometimes by simply installing a feline scratching post or tree your cat will forego devastating your favorite couch or table.
While younger cats will likely prefer a tall structure they can climb and stretch their claws out on, older pets will be less prone to acrobatics.
If you are unsure what type of scratching post your cat will like, try observing their behavior. Do they prefer to stretch up and out while cleaning claws on a surface, or do they prefer to knead at ground level?
The more active a cat is, the more he’ll appreciate scratching posts. You can either purchase or make your own scratching post . If your cat is older or has a more laid-back personality, you might consider getting a horizontal or ground level scratcher.
Another innovative way to interact with adoptable cats, all without having to walk away from your computer, is the “Play with Adoptable Cats” feature on petMD that allows you to keep the cats entertained via a set of controls, which activate several toys in the Bidawee, New York playroom.
Contrary to what most people believe, cats are very social creatures and may become depressed if they are left alone for long periods of time. For this, there are a variety of interactive remote toys for cats (and dogs) available. You can also stock your cat’s playroom with laser pointers or engage their night time hunting instincts with toys whose eyes light up realistically in the dark, or a light-up mat that will keep them entertained in the wee hours of the morning.
You don’t have to break the bank to create a feline playroom. Many toys and grooming options are made from recycled items, some of which can be easily made or are even free by upcycling items from your home.
The Learning Channel provides a list of household items, many that you probably already have in your home, which can be re-styled as cat toys. Do you have old cardboard boxes or holey socks you’re about to get rid of? By constructing a cardboard cat fort and stuffing the socks with catnip, you now you have a toy your cat will love.
You can also purchase a copy of “Make Your Own Cat Toys” and discover great ways to create simple, earth-friendly toys, as you reduce your pet’s overall carbon paw print.
Family Fun Time
The most rewarding part of being a pet parent is developing and strengthening your bond with love and affection, and cats love to play with you! Even though they’re mostly active at night, indoor cats will adapt their sleep cycle to spend time with you.
So no matter how you envision creating a recreational space for your cat, don’t leave yourself out of the fun! Charm cats with feather toys, string toys and even grooming mitts. By now you’ve probably invested in some catnip-stuffed toys too. Add to the excitement by blowing catnip-flavored bubbles for them to leap up and catch.
In the end it's all about keeping your cat mentally stimulated and content. Hopefully you've found some great cat playroom tips to make this happen.