Help Keep Your Cat Stimulated Through Lockdown
In this blog we have asked Sonja Farrell, founder of luxury cat accessory brand Cheshire & Wain, about her experience with kittens, keeping her indoor cats stimulated and some expert advice to help us all through this period of lockdown.
Sonja launched her brand in 2013 as a response to the lack of leather collars with breakaway buckles. Since then Cheshire & Wain has expanded from their unique collar design to I.D. tags, charms, catnip toys and gifts for cat lovers!
What are your secret expert tips for a new kitten owner?
Routine! It's scary for a new kitten when they first arrive in a new environment - especially if there are other cats or young children in the household. The first few months of a kitten's development are really important and you want them to feel happy and safe in their new home. It's a good idea to introduce your kitten to your home, room by room so they don't get overwhelmed.
Set up private 'safe' areas based on the areas they choose to hide and sleep. Try putting a shoebox lined with an old jumper under your bed or put a sheepskin rug under a table or chair.
How can I tell if I am disturbing my cat or kitten?
I feel cats are quite easy to read if they are agitated, they will flick their tail and may lean back with wide eyes and a puffed up tail if they are in attack mode!
Stroke your cat in the direction their fur grows and be careful around their tummy area. Some cats love a belly rub and invite it by lying on their back but they can quickly change their mind and strike you if you're not stroking them to their liking!
If your cat seems annoyed it's best to walk away and leave them to cool off.
I have to keep my cat inside during lockdown, what can I do to keep them stimulated all day?
Toys are really important for keeping a cat stimulated and engaged with their environment, and playtime is also a great way to bond with your kitty now you have more time at home with them.
But there are lots of household items that can be quickly made into engaging toys too.. Try tying string to a champagne cork or scrunch tin foil into a big ball or turn scraps of material into your own fun shapes and stuff with cotton wool and loose catnip if you're looking for a craft project.
I’m now treating my cat so much! Are there ways to increase exercise for indoor cats?
A laser pointer is a really good way of getting your cat to exercise and you don't need lots of space for this to be fun and engaging for your cat. You can even try introducing a routine to factor in bursts of exercise and playtime as various points in the day. Let your cat set the rules if you can. By this I mean, play with them when they indicate that they are in the mood and don't disturb them if they are having one of their many cat naps.
A good way to do this is to factor in play prior to mealtimes. I believe cats are creatures of habit and a sense of routine is comforting for them. I feed my cats twice a day (breakfast and dinner) with a few treats around lunchtime. They have a big basket of toys which they can dip into throughout the day on their own terms.
My cat goes outside - how can I keep them safe during lockdown?
If your cat goes outside it's important that they are microchipped and wear a collar with an ID tag in case they get lost or injured during one of their expeditions. Unlike a microchip which is unseen, a collar also communicates to others that your cat is not a stray and you can put your phone number on an engraved tag as a quick way for someone to get in touch with you in an emergency.
This was one of our main concerns when designing for Cheshire & Wain and we have a range of engraved tags that you can also emboss a name, phone number or important message such as 'DO NOT FEED' or 'I'M DIABETIC' on the collar strap itself. This is particularly useful if your cat has a medical condition that others should be aware of.
My cats are primarily kept indoors as we live by a busy road. We have a small garden which is their little enclosed 'catio'. However I still fit a collar on them in case they get out by accident. Their tags are engraved with 'INDOOR CAT' and my phone number.
As cat owners you don’t have to miss out too! Check out Cheshire & Wains colouring pack for adults and cat themed activity pack for children