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Keeping your cat active when you have kids

Submitted by on Wednesday, 17 December 20082 Comments

I’m not going to lie to you.  I don’t play with our cat a lot.  I am a better father to my kids than to my cat.  I’m not happy about neglecting my cat from time to time, but what’s a father of two young kids to do?

lasercatOur cat got a lot more attention from me before the kids were born, and having small kids around hasn’t been an easy adjustment for her.  For one, Smarty Pants chases her around until she finds a hiding spot.  For two, we have less time to play with her and keep her active.  I’m sure there are other parents out there with cats and dogs that feel the same.

A couple of weeks ago I took our cat to the vet for a check-up, and he noticed that she is slightly overweight.  It didn’t come as a big surprise to me, since the only exercise she gets is running from Smarty Pants to her favorite hiding spot.

I confessed this to the vet.  Luckily he is a reasonable, friendly guy, so he didn’t put me in cat-jail for neglect.  He understood my predicament and gave me a great tip for keeping the cat active when my hands are full.  (That’s not the only thing he gave me — I also walked away the proud owner of some not-so-low-priced diet food — grumble grumble)

What was his tip?
You got it:  A laser.

Yes, a laser.  Okay, well, a laser pointer.

He said we should buy a cheap laser pointer (you can get them these days for less than five bucks), and see if our cat would chase it around.  He explained that about 50% of cats will chase a laser dot endlessly, and the other 50% will chase it for awhile then figure it out and never chase it again.  Our cat falls into the former 50%.  Not sure if that is something I should be proud of or happy about, but I am.

The beauty of using a laser pointer, if you have the “right” cat for it, is that you don’t have to run around the room with it to keep your cat running.  And you never have to pick it up off the ground and throw it (well, you can, but you might break it).  You stand in one spot, and with just a flick of the wrist, move the dot from one end of the room to the other.  You can do it from any distance too.  Back and forth, high and low, round in circles.  Skip to my Lou.

Our cat loves it and chases after it with vigor.  Smarty Pants even plays with her and the laser now.  He points it across the room and watches with bliss as she chases it around.  (Of course we monitor him to make sure he is not misusing it or pointing it in anyone’s eyes, including the cat’s.)

Now if I have Sweet Cheeks in one hand, I can entertain the cat with the other hand, or if I’m reading a book to Smarty Pants, I might have the book in one hand, and move the laser around across the room with the other.  Or I might just hand the laser to Smarty Pants and let it keep him and the cat occupied.

We like our little laser.  For $3.99, both our cat and Smarty Pants have had hours of fun, and the cat got some good activity out of it too.

Have you noticed you have less time for your pets since having kids, and what have you done about it?  Add some comments to this Jam and let us know!

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Flickr photo courtesy of fofurasfelinas

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  • Treemama says:

    My girls do this with our cat with a flashlight.

    It keeps them all occupied for awhile.

    Annabelle is eleven years old and slightly paunchy.

    I tell her I love her JUST the way she is.

    And your right behind two kids and a dog, poor thing has to wait till I’m asleep to curl up next to me to get some loving.

    Treemama’s last blog post..A Feel Good Day

  • Head Jammer says:

    Thanks Treemama, we love our cat just the way she is too, but she is still pretty young and our vet is really keen on us getting her weight down a bit, to avoid potential future problems, so we’ll see how it goes. Glad to hear that you have a similar experience as us with your cat, both with the playing and with the time for loving sometimes only being once everyone is asleep!

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