February 29, 2016

While canine behaviors can be puzzling to some pet owners, feline antics can be even more mysterious. Most owners accept that kittens can be bundles of destructive energy and expect them to soon outgrow this behavior. Unfortunately, kittens do not always outgrow rambunctious energy. Sometimes, they even regress and begin scratching furniture, chewing plants and committing other youthful indiscretions.

There are many reasons why cats might act out. Changes in their environment, such as a new pet or family member can result in destructive behavior in older cats, as can replacing or moving scratching posts and litterboxes. However, one of the most common instigators of destructive behavior is one that is frequently overlooked: boredom.

Cats are intelligent animals whose natural environment (i.e., the great outdoors) provides lots of stimulation. Hunting and exploring new territory require focus, strategy and energy. Indoor cats, however, might have little to do besides counter or furniture surf, eat and sleep. It’s a safe life—potentially a boring one, too.

When bored, cats will find something that they consider interesting and focus on it. Under similar circumstances, a person might take up a hobby or learn a language. A dog might dig holes in their owners’ backyards, while cats opt to shred couches or destroy houseplants—both of which can be expensive to replace or repair.

Luckily, solving cat boredom issues can be simple. By recommending activity-inspiring products to your cat-owning customers, you can help them redirect their cat’s behavior away from couch shredding or lying around doing nothing. This is where interactive toys shine.

As you know, interactive toys can be either those that owners and cats play with together or ones that cats play with on their own. The challenge with the former is that cats can become bored when left home alone. Cats really can’t play with a laser pointer or wand toy on their own.

While these types of interactive toys are a great way for owners to have fun with their cats, they don’t address the problem of home-alone boredom.

Fortunately, you can recommend to your customers a plethora of interactive solo toys. The variety is seemingly endless: treat balls and dispensers, activity centers, peek-a-boo boxes, toy mobiles, motion danglers, wobblers and crawlers, track balls and much more.

Here’s just one example: the Catit Design Senses Circuit and Senses Circuit 2.0. Both track-ball setups can be configured into a hundred different layouts to ensure your customers’ cats never get bored with them.

Due to the complicated nature of many of these toys, some cats might not interact with them right away. Alternatively, some owners might just assemble a toy, put it down and hope their cat starts playing with it—and then get frustrated when it doesn’t. To get the most out of their purchases, owners first need to show their cat how a toy works and then encourage the cat to play with it. Placing catnip on or near a toy can boost a cat’s incentive to play.

Some cats might lose interest in a toy over time. To prevent this, recommend that owners switch the toys out from time to time or move them to a different area. In addition, owners could only bring the toys out before they leave for the day or evening, making them a special treat for home-alone times. Doing either can assist owners in encouraging their cats to focus on the toys. With the myriad interactive toys on the market today, you can help owners alleviate their cats’ boredom issues.

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