Purina One True Nature of Cats Week 4 Update (Giveaway ends 5/12/13)



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.

Velcro (orange) checking out what Bella (black/white) is playing with.

Velcro (orange) checking out what Bella (black/white) is playing with.

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.

Bella in a tunnel/tube

Bella in a tunnel/tube

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.

Cat Crate

Padmé by the pet carrier

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 directions on how to make your own puzzle feeders which provide your cat with stimulation and fun while eating you can find directions here and here.

Additional information can be found at the Purina One True Nature of Cats Facebook page. And you can follow Purine One on Twitter too.

If you would like to read my experiences over the past month you can find the posts here,

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*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.

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.


  1. I have learned a lot during this series. I hope you will do monthly or semi regular posts on your cats. They have been great! Thanks!

  2. Cynthia R says:

    i’ve got 3 cats, feed them iams, cat litter usually arm and hammer but I switch based on sales. they have a little bit of outdoor time everyday and I put flea tick medicine and brush them well. water is refilled everyday, and they love ice water so i have to put some ice cubes in there. they are pretty spoiled

  3. We are also working on getting our cat outside and exploring but the harness is such a hated item for her.

  4. I thought the idea of a puzzle feeder for cats is great! Why haven’t I thought of that myself? I’ve got one on my wish list at Amazon.

    I’ve enjoyed this series. Thanks! Oh–and I love your cats.

  5. Cathy Truman says:

    Our cat Jasmine was a stray my sister in law found. We give her love ,food, she goes to
    the vet, she has toys. We brush her every day and play with her she sleeps In our
    bed and we take out on the patio to get fresh air. She is loved and well taken care
    of. She is our little girl.

  6. My boys love to go out hunting (we live out in the country so it is safer for them to do so). They both love doing this and play wrestling with each other. I also play with toys with them to get them to jump and run around (although the older one really doesn’t like them much). We also brush/comb them and pet them multiple times each day 🙂

  7. Since my cats are not outdoor cats, I bring nature to them. Right outside my large picture window, I put a bird feeder. They will sit for hours watching the birds and the squirrels come to it.

  8. Kathy Lane says:

    My cat is was dropped off on me by a unknown person.I live on a dead end road in the country,and people are always dropping off their unwanted pets.Some stay a while and others are given to family and friends to adopt.My grandson took up with her,and she ended up staying.She is a outdoor cat,but she has plenty of love and play time with my family.

  9. Robin Wilson says:

    I feed/shelter about 10 feral cats right now. They sleep, play, eat, drink in my garage. I try to make it comfortable ~ clean ~ fun for them by providing them with some inexpensive things like cardboard boxes, tunnels, balls to play with.

  10. I found the weight chart really helpful … it gave me a very good visual way to determine my cat’s weight. I’m happy to say that she’s in the healthy weight zone. 🙂
    Sml Footprints recently posted..Meet & Greet Monday (#MtaGt)

  11. Our cats live in the barn, so they get to explore their true nature on a regular basis hunting mice and rats! 😉
    Kristie recently posted..Cinnamon & Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

  12. Amy Orvin says:

    I have 4 indoor only cats. I recently bought them a 6ft. tall Go Pet Club cat tree. I love watching them explore their true nature by batting around the hanging fur mice and getting to know the holes and tunnels. They love sleeping way up high just like the big cats do in the jungle. They have such a great time.

  13. Diane @ Me, Him And The Cats says:

    I have 3 indoor only cats, they are on wet food only diets primarily, unless we are going to be gone all day, then we leave out some dry food. We have a 6 foot tall cat tree they love playing on and we have lots of toy baskets around the house and they go grab whatever they want when they feel like playing!

  14. Dorothy Teel says:

    I have two c
    zats Tory, and Yeller, they are in the house or on front screened porch cats only, they do not go outside inthe yard, I have climbing trees for them (@) i have scratching posts for them, and toys. I love to take empty soda bottles or other plastic containers and cut hole in them and watch the cats roll them all over till they get the treats out. My cats thoroughly understand when I say its come and get it time and shack snack container) they go for it then. I would not trade my cats for anything.. thank you

  15. My cats are my kids. We buy them play toys and play with them all the time, I brush them, give treats, buy Christmas presents. They are indoor cats, but I let them out on the sun porch to get fresh air and watch the birds.

  16. Debra Hall says:

    my cats are very spoiled they have toys everywhere,i open the windows when i can so they get fresh air

  17. Christina says:

    I love the idea of the puzzle feeder and think one of our cats would love it. Just a bit worried about the other cat since she’s allergic to plastic. I take our cats in the backyard atleast once a day. We have vinyl fencing so they can’t jump it and they just LOVE exploring the big yard. We make sure they get lots of activity inside too.. we have a cat tree for them and a window seat.

  18. One thing I learned is that a cat’s whisker is sensitive. My 4 cats have toys, a tunnel, and a cave-like thing, and a cord with a bell on the end to bat for fun and exercise. They love to have a package delivered as that means a fresh box to explore. They also like lying in our front bay window, our kitchen box window, or at the patio door in the sun or watching birds.

  19. Stephanie Larison says:

    Our cats are indoors cats do they’re never outside. I like to bring plants in to let them get back to nature. They have a bed that is attached to the window, they like laying here watching the birds outside.

  20. Our cats are outside/indoor cats , they like basking in the sun on the porch bench. I also have a nice little cat box for them that they can hide in and stay nice and cozy in the winter too. Have to make sure they have fresh water .

  21. Amanda Kinder says:

    We have a window that takes up most of a wall, and when the sun hits it, our kitties love to lay on the window sill. Of course, it’s often a fight over who gets the best spot. Most of the time, our oldest wins.

  22. We got the cat a cat tower, which she loves to climb in.
    Lisa Ehrman recently posted..Win, Win

  23. I play with my cats with cat toys, they especially love feathers and the lasor pointer, when I get packages they liove to check out the boxes, I also give them treats and they will sit up like a squirrel for a treat, i have also tried walking them on a leash outside, my cat happy enjoys it but my other 3 not so much i occasionally take them for a car ride(used to all the time before i had my dogs) all of my cats are older now so they seem less playful then they used to be I used to have a cat stroller and I would take them for walks in my neighborhood i also have a catsitter dvd that I play for them when I am going to be gone for a while

  24. clarissa says:

    our cat loves those little high bounce balls you get out of bubble gum machines We roll and bounce them for her for play

  25. Melissa Hartley says:

    My cat Jasmine loves to play with her toys–since she is almost 12, I want to keep her active & playful as possible..I may even buy a harness & leash to try & train her so she can go outside..yikes, think I have a chance? 🙂

    Thanks for the chance.

  26. We take time to play before they eat, so they get that “hunting” feeling!

  27. June Lisle says:

    I found the part about having cats hunt for their treats interesting. That isn’t something I ever thought of doing and will keep in mind.

  28. My kitties get to play outside and have fun just being cats. They are all three rescues and one actually came from a feral cat colony and they would go crazy if they couldn’t go outside. They come in and out with the dogs. It’s kind of cute as they don’t even like to use a littr box, preferring to go outside like the dogs…..and only use their box if needed at night. They cry at the door when they need out just like the dogs, do their business and run back inside. I let them chase squirrels or grab grasshoppers or climb trees or whatever they want to do outside and they are happy cats…..when they come back inside, they are ready to chill and sleep. I think it’s important for a kitty to have some outside time but if that is not possible, I think they néed to be stimulated in ways such as mentioned in the article above. Thank you for the chance to win for my kitties. They eat purina one now so it would be great to have some coupons for thm!

  29. Josephine D says:

    I thought your post was very interesting–especially the part about creating places for your cat to see and not be seen. (What cat doesn’t like boxes?!?). I really like the idea of the puzzle feeder. Sounds like it would be really interesting.

  30. A funny story about our one cat. He decides to stay in the house and snuggled up on my sons coat which was laying on top of the vacuum cleaner, he was there all day , when he decided he wanted to go outside he jumped down and in the mean time flipped the switch to turn on the vacuum cleaner – well I tell you I never seen him move so fast . LOL

  31. Carolyn G says:

    I let me cat go outside to do some hunting of whatever she can find

  32. We have two cats who are currently just indoor cats, but we do take them outside on a leash. They’re funny – they don’t care to chew on grass but they love to be outside rolling around.
    BusyWorkingMama recently posted..Promote Your Giveaway Or Enter to Win – 5/4

  33. we bought them a huge cat tower with scratching post so they can play and sleep and scratch it up to their hearts content and NOT on my furniture lol

  34. Krystal M says:

    We have two indoor/outdoor cats. They love going outside and playing in the sun! Well… one of them plays, the other one is lazy and just finds a place to bask in, or rolls in the dirt and gets dirty. haha

  35. Shelley P says:

    My bother made this big play house out of cardboard for our cat by combining boxes and creating openings. He attached toys on strings and it had ledges and her bed inside…..it was great! I love the idea of puzzle toys and working for food and treats by having to hunt for them.

  36. I found the absolute best tool for my kitties! It’s a net enclosure that we set out in the grass, and put them inside. They can be outside, they are safe, and they can enjoy the nature around them! I swear, it’s made them different cats!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com
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  37. Robin Wilson says:
  38. joseph gersch jr says:

    we built a ledge on the window and provide our cat with lots of toys for stimulation

  39. Robin Wilson says:
  40. Angela Cisco says:

    Out of our 4 cats, only 1 likes the outdoors. He comes and goes as he pleases. The coyotes are pretty bad lately and I’d prefer if they all would stay in but he always finds a way.

  41. Our cat likes to go outdoors in the Summer to chase the butterflies!

  42. Lynne T. says:

    My cat Desiree is an indoor cat, but we have a screened in porch that in the warm weather I let her out in so she can get fresh air and watch the animals that come through the yard. I also buy her lot’s of toys and every night I play with her by taking out her favorite toy which is a ball with a bell inside and feather attached to a rod and I make her run around and jump to get her exercise. She also gets some treats each night and lot’s of hugs, kisses and cuddles throughout the day.

  43. Paula Tavernie says:

    We have an outside (caged) walkway that leads from our kitchen window to the middle of or backyard!! They love being free to go out when they want to!!!!

  44. susan smoaks says:

    our cats spend most of their time outside. they enjoy hunting and bringing us their prey to show it off. they really are in tune with their true nature!

  45. Robin Wilson says:
  46. Lisa Garner says:

    I have 3 indoor cats and we help them explore their true nature through a variety of cat toys that help them stay active and a cat tower which they can climb and explore.

  47. Leslie L. Stanziani says:

    We do take our girls on walks outside.They love exploring the woods with us.

  48. Laurie Emerson says:

    We have an indoor kitty amusement park. We have a special corner where they have their own rug tree to climb as well as several rug tunnels they love to maze through. We love them all so much and want them to be as happy as they make us having them in our family.