Offer an Escape Route

Cats are kind of like teenagers in that when they want to be left alone, you’d do best to stay out of their way. While they do love spending time with us, it’s got to be on their terms. And with so much chaos in our homes right now, many cats feel like they have nowhere to escape from it. Between the dogs trying to chase them down to play, and the kids looking for an underappreciated cuddle session, even Boots is liable to have enough and let you know in *no* uncertain terms that he needs some space.

So if you have a home with a lot of action, having a high cat tree that they can escape up into and decompress for a little while is a great idea. Alternatively, if your home lacks the space for a cat tree jungle, another option could be a winding tunnel or a spacious homemade den, tucked neatly into a shelf or under a table, for them to crawl into instead.

The critical detail is to make sure your cat has somewhere to go where nobody else will bother them. After all, we all deserve some undisturbed relaxation time, now and then! So if you notice your frisky feline has been acting a bit more disgruntled than usual, try giving them some space and time alone, and you’re sure to notice that their icy demeanour will defrost into a much warmer disposition.

Exercise and Brain Games

Many cats are content to spend their days lounging in sunbeams, but for the ones who have a more adventurous approach to life, they require more direct work to keep happy—and their mischief contained. If you’ve got a cat who loves using its brain, you’ve certainly found that cupboards tend to open themselves, dangling decorations come crashing to the floor when nobody’s around, and countless knick-knacks find their way across the home, in locations suspiciously favoured by a *certain someone.*

If that’s the case in your home, then your little Shadow might be letting you know that they *probably* need a bit more enrichment in their lives. (And when a priceless item becomes a casualty to their boredom, then oh, boy, do we ever understand that there’s nine of them for a reason!) With access to the tables and cupboards that dogs can only daydream about, cats are *only* too happy to explore their environment, looking for anything that could qualify as fun. And often, they have quite a different definition of what that entails.

For many mischief-makers, the best solution is as simple as a regular schedule of playing and brain games. Cats require several bouts of daily exercise, just like dogs do, and more and more cats are donning a harness and leash for their daily walk down the block, right alongside Lucky and Patches. The exercise is fantastic for their health, with being outdoors incredibly enriching for their minds. And all the while, staying on the leash will keep them safe from all the dangers that outside life presents, like cars and wild animals.

But if your daily schedule doesn’t permit a stroll around town, there are still many activities within the home you can keep busy with. Aside from a good, old-fashioned play session with a feathery toy on a string, you can get the gears turning with puzzle feeders, teach them new tricks (yes, just like a dog!), set up automated toys, and much more! There are endless options to get Shadow moving, active and thinking. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting creative and trying to figure out what they’re seeking and find the most fun. And that will be the best way to prevent them from snooping around looking for trouble.

As an added bonus, an increase in exercise often helps reduce stress, just like with people. It will also contribute towards reducing any stress-related irritability and aggression issues, as well. If that wasn’t enough reason to spend some bonding time together, play sessions with your cat will also help improve your relationship by strengthening the trust they have in you. After all, the family that hunts together stays together!

So if Sylvester is having a rough time adjusting to quarantine life, try introducing some extra play sessions, reliable escape routes, and scheduled quiet time. Chances are, you’ll see a huge improvement in your favourite kitty’s conduct, and everyone in your home – especially your tiny lion – will be much happier for it!