Get Book Smart With Brain Games for Cats
As I write this, my feline housemate Owen is knocking himself out with a twist-tie that has eluded capture by flying across the floor and under the sofa. I watch silently and wonder “am I a bad pet parent”? Should I engage more in his playtime or would he consider me be that proverbial bad penny that just keeps showing up and taking the fun out of everything.
According to Claire Arrowsmith, an animal behaviorist, trainer and now author, there is room for improvement in the one-on-none time I spend interacting with my cats and she has written a book to prove it – Brain Games for Cats. The goal is to shape your pet’s behaviours through a rewards-based series of games that work for any age of cat.
I am intrigued. Is there a chapter for twist-ties? No, but there are some simple activities that my crew might enjoy.
I stand in the middle of the room and call each of my cats. They look but won’t respond to me bending down and pretending to hold a treat. Note to self: the fake treat scam doesn’t work anymore.
Whoa, out comes Fifi who drops to the floor and rolls onto her back. She is ready to play and because this book does stipulate “rewards based” I’m assuming they mean real rewards so I head to the treat drawer to arm myself with sufficient goodies for my test subject.
Now any pet parent worth his salt has a treat drawer, shelf or jar and just knows that any step in that direction garners immediate attention. I now have my crew of volunteers.
The activities are actually quite fun, made more so by the fact that in spite of their incredibly short attention span I can get my cats to do things with minimal coaxing. The castle box is a no-brainer and all quickly bought into the idea of hiding in a box and jumping out at bits of string and toys I dangled outside the openings.
Equally so with the leg weave, where I could lure Owen in and around my legs in pursuit of a treat with relative ease.
Clearly I have raised their expectations in terms of future playtime, and to be honest, I did enjoy the time spent with critters I previously considered self-sufficient when it came to entertainment.
There are other games which will require a little more work on my part. For instance they out and out refused to jump over anything. Nope, never going to happen today – maybe tomorrow.
The series of activities are designed to help you connect with your pet by physically and mentally toning the little guy. From stretches, to sit ups to retrieving, to fishing and the aforementioned leg weaves the exercises are easily achievable and because cats refuse to be a quick study in anything, they require some time and effort on your part.
Now off to buy more treats!
More by Mary Simpson