Clever Ways To Keep Your Cat's Brain Sharp
Without a doubt, cats are intelligent animals. They may not respond to training and instructions like dogs, but our feline companions are cunning hunters with unmatched curiosity. That said, cats, like all other animals, experience age-related cognitive decline and dementia. According to the SPCA, 55% of all cats aged between 11 and 15 suffer from Feline Cognitive Dysfunction (FCD). This condition affects a cat’s memory, ability to learn, and awareness of the environment. As your kitty grows older, she could develop cognitive, memory, and sensory challenges.
But you can do something about it. Your kitty does not have to add to the count of felines affected by FCD. Here are clever ways to help keep her brain sharp.
Provide good nutrition
We all know that adopting a pet cat is always better than shopping. However, if you have adopted a cat from a shelter, remember that rescued and abandoned cats can be improperly nourished. So, besides plenty of love and affection, give her food good for her brain.
The brain, like any other organ in the body, requires proper nutrition. A poorly fed cat is likely to experience FCD symptoms much earlier. On the other hand, good brain food helps to counter brain deterioration by facilitating regeneration.
Look into pet food ingredients that are rich in fish oil. They are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that boost the development of the brain and enrich the nervous system. Remember to keep to the recommended portions. Otherwise, overeating could lead to obesity and cause immobility issues which aggravate cognitive dysfunction.
Let the cat work for her food
Nutritious food helps to build “brain muscle.” But how do you help her to exercise that extra muscle?
Start by letting the cat work for her food. Don’t just give her food in a bowl. Make the cat search for her food. She could even solve puzzles to satisfy her hunger pangs. Instead of feeding her using a bowl, you can prepare a simple food puzzle at home and let the cat solve it. For example, you could punch a small hole on an empty paper towel roll and hide some food inside the roll. The hole should be large enough to let out small amounts of food. As she tastes the little treats, she will want more and work to get it. If the cat wants your help, first make her do high paws or a "rollover” trick. Then you can reward her by letting out more food.
Are you mean to the cat by making the cat work for her food? No way! Cats enjoy toying around with their meals. You are helping to stimulate instinct and maintain excellent brain health.
Exercise is vital for all animals. It boosts both physical health and brain wellness. Make sure kitty gets her daily workout, even if she is an indoor cat.
There are many ways you can make exercise time a fun time with your cat. You can play games like prey and fetch or provide your kitty with a cat tree or a cat gym. The cat will move around and work out those limbs. Other simple games like having fun with a laser beam, a wand, or a fishing rod toy will also help you bond as the cat gets some exercise. Where possible, take the cat out for walks while on a leash. If you have a well-fenced yard, let her roam around the open space. Exposure to different sights, sounds, and scents also stirs the cat’s awareness and makes her sharper. However, if the cat is a strictly indoor pet, upgrade your home environment.
Redecorate the house with the cat in mind. Set up climbing structures or high shelves for the cat to perch. You can also build a play area for the cat and fill it with mind-stimulating toys.
Retrain basic skills
Retraining the cat's basic skills like using the litter box or any other skill will tremendously improve her cognitive abilities. Just think about what a refresher course does to you, and make plans to train the cat.
Adopt another cat
Perhaps you have one cat and wonder how you can keep her engaged when you are away. Consider adopting another cat. It is the best and easiest way to keep your cat happy. But make sure both pets are neutered or spayed. It will help them explore, play, and exercise without hormonal interferences.
By adopting another cat, you will be sure that they always have a playmate. And it will not significantly change the cost or demand time from you. Look on the brighter side. You will have two felines to keep you company.
These methods will help keep your cat’s brain sharp and avert conditions like FCD. Remember to schedule regular visits to the vet for checkups. Your cat will stay healthy and maintain cognitive abilities throughout her senior years.