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How To Provide Mental Stimulation For A Cat: 16 Simple Ways

Cats are remarkable creatures. Clever, loving, and frequently independent, cats vary from dogs in that they typically refuse to accompany their owners on walks or move from room to room.

Each cat is extremely unique, yet they all require mental stimulation to maximize their quality of life.

In light of this, "How to Provide Mental Stimulation for a Cat: 16 Simple Way" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) provide sixteen methods to give mental and physical stimulation for your beloved cat.

The 16 Fun Ways for Providing Mental Stimulation for Cats

1. Talk

Talking to your cat frequently can not only give it with cerebral stimulation, but will also build your relationship with it and make it feel more safe.

Cats are excellent communicators, and while they aren’t as physically expressive as dogs, if you pay close attention to their body language (and even vocalizations), you may learn a great deal about their emotions.

Cats meow only to humans; they do not meow to any other species, including their own. This demonstrates that conversing with a cat and listening to it respond may effectively engage it.

2. TV Time

It may sound unusual, but there are several YouTube videos particularly designed to delight your fuzzy feline companions. Videos of wild birds, laser pointers, and mouse movements are available for free viewing with accompanying music and sounds.

Supervising your cat as he or she watches a movie is a crucial consideration to keep in mind while showing them a video. If your cat is truly engaged, it may use its paw to tap the screen. Depending on the device used to view the films, this might destabilize a television and be harmful; thus, close monitoring is strongly advised.

Cats have a strong hunting drive and may become upset if they are unable to “get the kill” after seeing television.

3. Toy Rotation

Like to humans, cats may soon tire of the same toys. By providing your cat with a variety of toys (such as feather chasers, toy mice, and kicker toys), you will enhance its life by letting it to engage in various natural behaviors and challenge its brains by helping it to solve a variety of issues.

A weekly toy rotation program is beneficial since it allows you to mix and match different toy groupings while inspecting any damaged toys (which, if present, must be thrown away and replaced).

4. Hidey-Holes

The best way for a cat to feel safe and comfortable is in his or her favorite hiding place. Hidey holes may be built from cardboard boxes or huge containers, or purchased like this adorable cat house with a scratching post.

Playing with toys around the hidey-hole may be a fantastic way to practice your cat’s reflexes and judgment, as they’ll try to guess where the toy is when they can’t see it and then pounce on it when they do.

5. Hide and Seek

In continuation of our previous point, hide-and-seek is an immensely helpful activity to play with your cat since it allows them to exercise their hunting abilities in a safe and controlled environment. Start by grabbing a toy that your cat adores and dashing around a corner while shouting its name.

Waving the toy around a corner or wriggling it on the floor might replicate the behavior of prey hiding, luring your cat into the famous “bum wiggle” position with pupils dilated and ready to pounce. Going from place to place and hiding with the toy may be a lot of fun for you and your cat as it attempts to find you and steal the toy.

Your cat is stimulated by any action that simulates hunting since it gives excitement and satisfies their prey drive. Ensure to give your cat the toy after the game is done, since your cat only want successful hunts.

6. Laser Pointer

You may use a laser pointer to play with your cat if you have limited movement, are occupied with another task, or simply want to see them go bonkers.

Experiment with several laser pointer shapes, such as mouse and star, to see which one your cat favors. This is best accomplished in a dimly lit (but not totally dark) area, and flashing the laser can attract your cat’s interest and get them moving.

Likewise, ensure that they can successfully pounce on a toy when the game is ended; failure to do so might lead to frustration.

7. Obstacle Course

This is enjoyable for both you and your cat. Create an obstacle course for your cat in your living room using boxes, tunnels, and even shredded newspaper in boxes containing concealed goodies.

This practice heightens your cat’s awareness of their environment, enhancing their ability to seek and locate objects using their sense of scent. You may also purchase prefabricated obstacle course components, such as tunnels, if you are pressed for time and prefer to purchase one.

Even common household things may be utilized to cognitively engage your cat; this mat-based toy will provide hours of entertainment.

8. Cat Trees and Vertical Space

Cats are natural climbers and feel most secure when they can survey their environment from a height. Cat trees and the use of vertical space in the home, such as cat shelves with linked bridges or perching spots, may give excellent cerebral stimulation.

Just ensure that the location of the trees or shelves is secure and away from windows or dangerous edges (in case they fall). Cats may not be able to jump or climb as effectively as they formerly could as they age; therefore, make modifications.

9. Treasure Hunt

In a manner similar to an obstacle course, concealing your cat’s favorite goodies throughout your home provides for a fun game of smelling. Feeding your cat a reward at the outset helps stimulate their minds and inspire them to discover the goodies, but some cats may require a little assistance in finding the correct location initially.

Best are odorous goodies, such as these delicious salmon cat food. Remember where you placed them and pick them up after you’re through, since certain unfound goodies may begin to emit an odor if they are forgotten!

10. Music

Some cats may find music just as enjoyable as humans do. Music (particularly in the form of species-specific music or music interwoven with human speech, such as a classical radio station) may be quite psychologically stimulating for cats, as well as something to keep them company throughout the day if they are home alone.

Your cat’s communication-related brain regions are stimulated by music produced specifically for felines. According to studies, young and elderly cats were more interested in this music than human music, but middle-aged cats were not interested in either.

11. Relaxing Touch

There is nothing more calming for pet owners than having a purring cat on their lap, and the same is true for the cats themselves (as long as it is done on their terms).

The release of chemicals that alleviate stress in both cats and humans can be triggered by gentle, thoughtful stroking. Nonetheless, some felines are more sensitive than others and might get overstimulated by excessive touching.

As long as you provide your cat with alternatives and enable them to approach you when they need love, everything will be OK.

12. Puzzle Treat Dispenser

Cat puzzle feeders are another excellent method to amuse and nurture your cat. Puzzle feeders and dispensers enable your cat to solve problems and figure out the riddles in order to receive a reward, which means they are actively exercising their brains and receiving a rush of endorphins.

Some puzzle treat dispensers are available for purchase, while others may be constructed at yourself. By cutting small holes in a bottle and filling it with goodies, you may create a cat puzzle dispenser. Other dispensers range from balls or eggs that perform the same function to elaborate, interactive mazes.

13. The Humble Cardboard Box

Sometimes cardboard boxes make the finest cat toys. You may use cardboard boxes to make mazes, toys, hiding places, puzzle feeders, and lucky-dip boxes. Nonetheless, most cats will smell a box and sit in it since enclosed places provide them with warmth and security.

This allows your cat to positively interact with their environment, engaging their minds and making them feel safe and content, all for a couple of bucks. In addition, they have an engaging texture that cats will rub and scratch, providing additional stimulation in the form of natural, instinctual activity.

14. Electronic Toys

There are so many options for electrical cat toys that you’re likely to find one that your cat loves, whether it activates their hunting instincts and sends them flying around the room or challenges them to earn a reward.

Some toys, employ authentic bird noises to attract your cat to hunt, or uses disguised motion to imitate prey hiding beneath a blanket, urging your cat to use its vision and pounce at the optimal time to be successful in the hunt.

15. Catnip (or Silvervine)

The picture of a cat going crazy over catnip is accurate. Catnip is derived from the plant Nepeta Cataria (the Catnip plant). The dried herb, when sniffed by your adorable cat, produces nepetalactone, which triggers euphoric neurons in a cat’s brain, making them exceedingly happy. Some cats may touch it, lick it, smell it, or roll all over it, while others may go berserk and search for every toy they can find.

No one knows precisely why certain cats do not exhibit this response. Silvervine is a plant that occasionally provokes a response in cats due to the actinidine it emits, which has a similar effect to catnip but can also induce rest.

Catnip is available in a variety of forms, including dried and loose for dusting, baked into snacks, infused into sprays, and incorporated into adorable toys. Often, dried sticks of silvervine are available for your cat to lick, chew, and massage.

16. Tricks

Cats are bright creatures who are capable of learning several tricks. Positive interactions with your cat will strengthen your relationship and stimulate its brain by allowing it to acquire a new ability.

A clicker may be a terrific tool to teach your cat new things, despite the fact that it is normally designated for dogs. It must be acknowledged that teaching a cat to sit is more difficult than teaching a dog; nonetheless, it is well worth the effort and will offer you and your pet with countless hours of entertainment.

Why Do I Need To Provide Stimulation for My Cat?

Cats are predators and hunters by nature. Because to this, animals exhibit a number of behaviors that are intrinsic and instinctive, meaning that they must be carried out as a routine part of their life in order to remain happy and healthy.

Scratching, pouncing, climbing, and tracking are examples. Lack of mental stimulation in a cat may lead to behavioral disorders, as well as stress and sadness, each of which have their own medical complications.


Following suggestions in “How to Provide Mental Stimulation for a Cat: 16 Simple Way” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) can guarantee that your cat has sufficient cerebral stimulation and give opportunities for bonding, allowing you to enjoy your time with your cat more.

Whether you choose to do a few or all, it is crucial to keep an eye on your cat and act according to what they desire. If you force your cat to perform something it does not want to do, it may have the reverse effect and cause unnecessary anxiety.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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