Wow. I can’t believe we’ve just completed week four of the Purina One True Nature of Cats “challenge”. Time flies so quickly!
First let me give you a few updates, then I’ll give you my over all thoughts about the program and what I’ve learned about my furry feline family members.
Stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts with a food scavenger hunt.
This has been a bit more challenging than it should be. We have a couple of toys that we have been trying to use with our cats to help bring out their hunting for food instincts. Our only obstacle is our dog, Espn. He’s not being mean about it but he keeps finding their treats and bits of dry food that we’ve been using and eating them. Even when he’s just been fed and should be full he still goes after the goodies we have lying around for the cats. He even goes after their toys. I’m not sure if it’s a dog thing or a jealousy thing. He’s spoiled rotten like our cats, so I’d like to think it’s not so much jealousy as it is a dog thing, but you never know.
I’ve tried to hide both fuzzy mice toys and treats/dry food bits in places where I know my cats go, but without making it too obvious. I have been trying to put them in higher places so that the dog can’t reach them such as the top levels of the cats tree, on my desk and on the bookcases. Some things they have found on their own but a good portion of the goodies my dog seems to find and will do whatever he can to reach them. That is why this part of the week’s challenge has become more of a challenge than it should be. But I’ll keep working on it and trying to figure out how I can stimulate their hunting instincts without our dog getting in their way.
Recheck your cat’s body condition score.
In my first week’s post I commented on what each of my cat’s body scores were based on the Purina One Body Score graphic/chart.
Here is the chart again in case you missed that post.
I’ll post each of my cat’s again and what their initial score was (in black text) and what I consider their score now, a month later.
Velcro – 3 or 4 – he’s more of a 4 now (before I was leaning more towards 3)
Kitty – 6 – I would say more of a 5
Padmé – 8 – still an 8
Anakin – 8 or 9 – more so an 8
Bella – 5 – still a 5
There have been some changes. Nothing drastic. Padmé and Anakin still have a lot of weight to lose. I have a hard time getting Anakin to play. He seems more content playing with the other cats than he does with the human members of our family. He also doesn’t engage in playing with the toys as much as I’d like him to. He does however LOVE the fake mice. They usually get him going. His only other exercise is chasing the girls around (Padmé, Kitty or Bella).
Padmé will play but she doesn’t put as much effort into it as I’d like her to. I think he weight limits her from being as energetic and “flexible” as Kitty and Bella are. I think once she loses a few more pounds she’ll be much more energetic and playful.
Velcro doesn’t want to be bothered much. He’s an older cat and more content to be fed and have clean water and a clean litter box then he is anything else. Occasionally I can get him to swing at the dangling toy on a wand, but not as much as I’d like to. Most of the time it seems like I’m bothering him more than anything else.
Kitty and Bella love to play and are constantly playing with things, as well as each other. Kitty is actually only a year younger than Velcro, oddly enough. She has just as much energy as Bella does, and Bella is not yet two years old. In fact they were just chasing each other around the living room not too long ago.
I personally think that weight plays a bit part in this. The key is NOT to let your cat get overweight. I honestly don’t see how Anakin and Padmé are overweight. They don’t appear to eat more than our other cats. It doesn’t make much sense to me. In fact, Padmé seems to eat LESS than my other cats because she’s the picky one and won’t eat anything she doesn’t like. She’s also not big into eating wet food. She prefers just one brand of dry food, which I’m trying to wean her from and get her to eat better-for-you foods.
This challenge I’ll continue working on until I can get all of my cats close to be 5’s.
Create areas where your cat can see without being seen.
My cats LOVE boxes. When they see a box they get just as excited as a human would being handed a million dollars. It doesn’t matter the shape or size of the box. If there is an opening they will find a way to squeeze into it. Anakin especially will some how manage to get his large body into the tiniest boxes.
We’ve been trying to come up with creative ways to build some hiding spots for our cats. One thing I did was put an old towel on the bench out on our balcony and drape it down around the bench so that it almost looks like a tent underneath. My cats have been going outside and lying under the bench, peaking their heads out every so often to check out the birds that sit on the tree directly in front of the balcony. It’s as if the cats are hiding under there to spy on the birds.
When I get boxes delivered to our home I try and do creative things with them such as cutting out openings or sealing up all the flaps except one. That way the cats can go in/out of the boxes. I also put the boxes in different locations. We normally put boxes in the hallway so we can take them down to the recycle bin. Normally my husband takes down the boxes in the morning. Instead of leaving them in the hallway I’ll put them in different rooms or out on the balcony (depending on the weather) just to mix it up a bit.
Our cats LOVE those pop-up tunnels/tubes, most especially Bella and Anakin. We have an older one that has seen better days that Anakin loves to sleep in. We have a newer one that is longer and has two openings in it that Bella plays with constantly. She’s always dashing in and out of it. Sometimes she waits for one of the other cats to walk by and springs out at them through one of the holes in the tunnel/tube.
We also have “cubes” which are pet beds that are shaped like a cube/square with a single round opening. They love sleeping in those beds.
Whenever we go out for a long time we always put an old sheet on our couch to keep our dog from sleeping on it. Bella LOVES when the sheet is on because she gets to hide underneath it.
Another place our cats love to hang out where they can see without being seen is under my kid’s beds. I don’t mind that they hang out there. I only hate having to vacuum up all the hair that gathers under there. Over the years they have also made holes under the box spring and hidden up inside the mattresses. I wish they didn’t do that.
We keep our pet carrier in the corner of the living room. We remove the door when not in use and keep a fuzzy blanket inside. The cats, and even our dog, love to sleep in there. It’s quiet and away from everyone and everything.
Try taking your cat for a short walk outdoors, using her harness and leash.
I’m still working on this. So far Bella is the only cat that I’m having some success with. I’ve actually tried to get Anakin to go outside. He’s still not keen about wearing the harness, but, I actually got him to step outside in the hallway which is something he has never done before. We live in a condo (building). There are three floors. The top two floors have hallways with the front doors to four condos. The bottom floor (basement) has two condos, the laundry room and storage room. Anakin has never stepped out in the hallway just outside our condo unit’s door. I’ve got him to go out into the hallway (a major step for him). He’s still inside and unless he ran down a couple of flights of steps there is no way for him to get outside (yet). So far he’s been enjoying just walking around from door to door on our floor and checking things out. I’m thinking I might be able to get him outside eventually. I’m going to carry him downstairs to the floor below ours and let him check out that level. Once I know he’s comfortable being away from our front door I’ll try taking him outside. Of course I need to work on getting him used to the harness too.
Bella has been outside several times already. She only sits where ever I put her down. She won’t walk around. Even when I have my husband or kids come outside with me and try and lure her into moving around. She just won’t do it.
Bella’s time outside is spent either sitting where ever I put her down or me carrying her around letting her sniff at things like trees and bushes. I also try to put her down in different locations so she can get a sense of what things feel like, for example tall grass compared to cut grass.
I uploaded a video I took of Bella outside (just a few seconds). As you can see she’s still nervous to be outside.
You can also view the video here in case you are reading this post via e-mail, http://bit.ly/11RBYGI.
I was holding my cell phone the wrong way so the video is tall rather than wide.
As you can see she appears curious about what is around her outside, she just hasn’t made an effort to walk yet. My husband was even off to the side trying to coax her into coming towards him.
Monitor your cat’s responses to the changes in her environment.
I think over all my cats are happy. I know Bella is very happy. We have her asthma under control and she can finally run around and have fun without having an attack (trust me that makes ME very happy!).
The nicer weather combined with extra stimulation (toys, playing with our cats on a daily basis, engaging them in their natural instincts…) has helped to make our cats happier and hopefully healthier too.
They all love the Purina One food, except Padmé. She likes a few of the canned varieties, but I could never get her to eat the dry food for some reason. Bella LOVES the canned Ocean Whitefish Pate. In fact she prefers that flavor over the rest of them. My other cats love all the flavors of canned foods and the dry food.
I have learned A LOT throughout this program. The videos have been especially interesting and educational. I have owned cats almost all my life. I THOUGHT I knew all there was to know about them. I was very wrong.
People think of cats as a “low maintenance” pet. To some degree they are. You need to give them fresh food and water, a clean litter box, shelter and engage with them. However if you want your cat to be truly happy and healthy you need to “feed their inner wild cat”, so to speak. That is what this program has taught me. There is more to having a cat than just the basics.
Now that the program is over I am going to continue working with all of my cats, from playing with each of them several minutes each and every day, to helping them to discover new places to hide, new things to play with and “hunting” for their treats. I am determined to get all of my cats at a “5” on the Body Condition Chart.
There are A LOT of great videos on the Purina One YouTube page that talk about the True Nature of Cats and what you as a pet owner can do to help develop these things in your own cat. You can find all the videos here, www.YouTube.com/user/PurinaOne. Look on the right side of the page where it says “Featured Playlist”. You’ll see the True Nature of Cats videos (there are currently 43 of them!). Some of the videos include Curious by Nature, The Importance of Play, Healthy Hydration and Interpreting Tails. Even if you THINK you know everything there is to know about your cat, think again.
For even more information on the True Nature of Cats visit www.PurinaOne/pursuits/The-True-Nature-of-Cats.
If you would like to read my experiences over the past month you can find the posts here,
Meet the Participants (learn a little more about each of my cats)
I am also doing a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive FREE product coupons for the following;
– FREE bag of Purina One Healthy Metabolism Dry Cat Food
– FREE cans of Purina One Healthy Metabolism food
– FREE Case (or 24 cans) of Purina One food
That is means 28 cans and a bad of dry cat food. Even if you don’t want to use them for your cat please consider donating to a local pet shelter.
Thank you Purina One!
This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end at 11:59 PM (EST) on May 12, 2013. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.
To enter please comment on this post about anything you learned, or found interesting, about the True Nature of Cat program – OR – tell me what you do for your cat/cats other than feed then, provide them with clean water and a clean litter box. Another words, how to help them explore their true nature?
For extra entries you can use the Raffleopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.
*I am participating in this campaign through Purina One. There is no compensation however I did receive free product coupons and products as part of the campaign to implement with my cats.