Friday, June 15, 2018

Are your cats bored?

Disclosure: We received a Cat Amazing Box for free in exchange for an honest review. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat only shares information we believe would be of interest to our readers. The content is ours - Cat Amazing is not responsible for the contents of this post.


The problem.

Over and over again, when I've been approached by people having problems with their cats, it's become apparent to me within seconds that the cats in question are bored. There's a misconception that cats can be left alone all day - and they prefer it that way. I used to think so too - and then I adopted Bear. It took me a couple months to realize that when he's bored - he becomes destructive. Stalking me ... knocking stuff off tables and counters ... climbing places that he shouldn't be ... shredding papers ... stealing items I use to work ... he truly kept me on my toes. Every time was show-time and he made sure I got a front row seat to all his antics. Less obvious and severe was his tendency to over-groom out of boredom. He's spent much of his life without fur on his lower belly. And now, when Bear's bored, he attacks his sister. Is he a bad cat? Absolutely not. He's just bored. All of those behaviors are due to Bear trying to communicate to me that he needs something more.

I found Bear on the street when he was a kitten - and the transition to being an indoor-only cat was much easier than I could've imagined. But in taking away all the stimulation and excitement (and yes, outright danger) of being outside, I missed the need he had to do SOMETHING. He's not really that into bird or animal watching. And adding a cat tree to our household wasn't enough to keep Bear engaged in his environment. He continued to test the limits and tried to create his own adventures (much to my dismay and the health of many items in our household) with what he could. He taught me that cats have a whole world going on in their heads that we can't even fathom. And I'd venture to guess that many of the cats surrendered to shelters each year due to misbehavior - are about boredom - and not trouble cats.



I learned that by playing with Bear every day, that took the edge off - in addition to drawing us closer emotionally. He wasn't interested much in solo play - except for tossing his micey over the top of our seven foot tall entertainment center. Unfortunately, there were days where playing with him just didn't seem possible. What then? He's got a wealth of toys of every kind and every shape. But I think he craved the interaction WITH ME as much as he did excitement. I tried over and over to find ways to keep him stimulated - even on days I couldn't find a few minutes to play with him. And to be honest, I could've played with him - but for whatever reason I just didn't want to (feeling depressed myself, being sick, etc). Yes, that's the sad truth.

CATS NEED STIMULATION. To be healthy and happy, they require emotional connection, love, and stimulation of their instincts. They need to play out scenarios in their heads. They need something more than a couple toys and a cat tree. They need us. Just like us, they crave attention, purpose, and stimulation. In recent years, we've heard more and more about puzzle feeders and other toys created so the cat can play even when we can't. I still believe that playing with one's cat is necessary - to give the cat our time and attention - to bond - to connect. But we can't do that all day long every day - so what can come up with as the next best option to keep our cats entertained?




Bear hasn't shown much interest in puzzle feeders - in fact, whenever faced with one, he gets a betrayed look on his face because Male Princess Buttercup Black Bear Cat of the Forest DOES NOT work for his food. However, Mr. Male Princess DOES scarf down his food and then barf it back up. Puzzle feeders sound like the perfect fit for him!

When I was contacted by Cat Amazing to test their box toy, I was hesitant. Both my cats are food motivated - but Bear resists working for his food. And years ago, I made a similar toy for him and that was all well and good for a few minutes until his enthusiasm got the best of him and he stuck his entire front leg in the hole in the box and got it stuck. KITTY TRAUMA DRAMA!!! I have been wrong about my cats before - they have a way of surprising me, so I decided to give Cat Amazing a chance.

Cat Amazing has a program for shelter kitties to help manage boredom in the shelter - and boredom once the cats find their forever homes. The end result is fewer cats are re-surrendered due to boredom-related misbehavior. The fewer cats surrendered means fewer are euthanized from lack of space. So not only does Cat Amazing make your kitty's life better - but it might save lives as well.


Our experience.

The box comes flat in a portfolio type box.
What's this?!? I hope it's treats ...

As Bear would tell you, I'm somewhat challenged with following directions, so the assembly of the box was more complicated than it should've been - but I got it done ... eventually.

Looks easy, right? NOT for Momma ...


Before ...


In progress ...

When assembled, the box is sturdy with different shaped holes around the top and sides. There are three levels of difficulty with the holes.

The assembled product.


Fun directions!

EM: What does it do?
BC: Are there tasty whole chickens in there?
EM: How should I know?
BC: You're the know-it-all!
EM: Do you think it's safe to approach?
BC: As long as you're the one doing it.

Ellie was first up. I followed the instructions that suggested putting the treat on the edge of one of the holes so the cat knocks the treat in the hole when it tries to lap it up. This worked brilliantly until Ellie found a way to get the treat without knocking it in the hole. She's too smart for her own good. I imagine it just really stuck in her craw that the box ate her treats - and she gave it what for. After a couple minutes, she still couldn't get the treat out and The Boy couldn't stand the pathetic and frustrated look on her face - so I felt so sorry for her and got the treat out for her.
Ooooh! It's a TREAT! I LOVE treats! Treats are the best thing EVER. This one looks so lonely.

It says there's a secret level!!

Instead of reading the instructions, you could help me! It ate my treat!!!





Maybe if I try ... I can almost reach ...MONKEY NUTS!!!

Bear was next. At first, he was clearly offended that I expected him to work for treats. When he finally gave up that I might just give them to him, he fell for the treat on the edge trick. And he was MAD! Then all of a sudden, he just gave up and walked away.
It's a treat! I'll just help myself before my piggy sister sees it ... then I'll show her how it's done!

It ate my treat!!! Oh, no you didn't. You DID NOT just eat my treat!!


BC: Are you messing with me?!?! HUH, PUNK?!? I don't take this kind of disrespect from anyone. Prepare to die. Where's my bazooka?!
EM: You don't have one!
BC: RATS! Every self-respecting cat should have a bazooka, a tiara, a tank, and a tasty whole chicken.
EM: You have self-respect?!


BC: No one messes with Bear Cat Kat's food and gets away with it.
EM: {AHEM}.
BC: {sigh} Except Smellie.


Get my treat out, Momma!!! I'm NOT working for my food ... unless you got a tasty whole chicken in there.

Work for my treats?! I don't THINK so!

Our thoughts.

I really like that there are different levels to keep kitties occupied as they become more skilled at the box. I was disappointed that neither cat was able to get the treat out. Are my cats just intellectually challenged, lazy or not stubborn enough? Bear lost interest entirely. Ellie learned how to lick up the treat without landing it in the hole. I later tried the trick with a toy mousie - and she tried just as hard to rescue mousie. So the Cat Amazing can be used with treats or toys.

I plan to keep working with them - using treats and toys. The box doesn't really capture their attention like a toy with moving parts - but once they lose that treat in the hole, the box has a thing or two coming. I can't say my cats were as involved as the cats in the video on the Cat Amazing home page. But I think the box solves many problems our modern housecats experience: boredom, instinct to hunt, and too much food consumed in relation to how much exercise they get. To take advantage of all of those benefits, I'll have to work more with them on the box. It's not a one shot to success thing. It's about keeping them interested long enough for them to discover the benefits. My cats are so removed from having to work for their food, it's going to take some time to readjust their expectations. It takes time to re-train ourselves and out cats to be more active and involved.

Your turn!

Tell us what you think! Do your cats show signs of boredom? Did we miss any? And what do you do to help stimulate your feline? If you're interested in this product, Cat Amazing is available on Amazon and at many other retailers. Of course, the cost varies, but we believe it to be very reasonable. And the box is fairly durable too. Our box got stuck in some barfing crossfire and you can't really tell after I cleaned it up. Works for us!

48 comments:

  1. MOL Oh awnty Kat, don't feel bad. This is our second time reviewin' this toy and mommy still had a hard time puttin' it together. MOL We don't get many treats, so we fur sure don't wanna do extra work fur them, but we do like to play with it when mommy puts one of those flashin' track type balls in it. You can get those balls at most pet stores or wally worlds fur a few dollars. Or wait fur our package and use one of the ones we're sendin' (not a track ball, but hopefully, just as fun). Mommy said she planned to get it off next week. Good luck with the cat amazin'. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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  2. We are getting one of these to review soon too, and we're hoping our extra-smart Lucy will figure it out. We have a homemade puzzle toy I made from a soda bottle that both her and Ringo enjoy, so here's hoping they'll like this toy too.

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  3. I don't work for my food neither! TW made one of these for me once but she put shmousy toys in it. I did play with it by myself. I want and need interaction. Anything less and I get bored and sleep. TW is thinking of stopping my blog so she has time to play with me. All she does not is blog and read other blogs. It's an endless cycle with no attention given to the cat except those annoying photo sessions.

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    1. Momma's talked about the irony more than once - we blog because we love our cats so much - but every minute blogging is a minute not spent with our cats.

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  4. The Hubby is concerned that leftover or abandoned treats will attract ants or mice, or whatever, into the house, so he's put his foot down on puzzle toys. Manny is the one who appears to get bored the most; he starts flinging himself all over the walls, the climbs, the table...he rushes around like a crazypants! The fabric-ribbon wand toy is his favorite; we play with him as often as possible.

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    1. He sounds much like Bear when he was younger. I never thought I'd say this - but I miss it.

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  5. We have that box and sometimes even the red dot runs and hides in there. It's darn popular here!

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  6. This is a very nice review!! I don't work for food - ever. Lexy likes to have fun with it and likes food puzzles. We had one of these and she loved it. OUr mom has since donated it to a shelter so shelter kitties can have fun, too.

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    1. The humans say we can have enough toys. HMPH. I don't think so. ~Bear Cat

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  7. Bored critters come in 2 and 4 legged versions and usually it doesn't take much to change their state. Have a pawsome weekend!

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  8. At least it held their attention for a while. Eric and Flynn were lucky, or maybe I should say it was me who was lucky because when the "purrison fence" was built they were able to go into the garden 24/7 if they wanted to. Also I took them for walks around the fields for about 2 hours every day so they never got bored.

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    1. I wish I could do that! Your pictures of the boys patrolling always make my day!

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  9. Pawsome review, guys!!! Mudpie has one of these to review too but I haven't even had chance to put it together. I'll be putting toys inside because she definitely isn't food motivated. She would go hungry before she'd exert any effort to get it out! MOL

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  10. Hey Bear,
    As Alpha of the Tribe of Five, I'm with you buddy! If my Humans think I'm gonna' work for my treats, they've got another think coming. I just hop up on the counter and wait patiently for the Female Human to do the right thing, and the right thing is to deliver my treat. The goofballs Alberto and Oliver are a completely different story. They're kids and the Humans can get them to work a little.

    We cat bosses must stick together and not let the Humans try to manipulate us!
    Purrs & Head Bonks,
    Tucker

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    1. Well, they can TRY ... we're just not like the suck-up siblings we have! ~Bear Cat

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  11. AMARULA: How dare she make you work for your food Bear! Next time you get hold of some electrical tape I say you wrap the fridge up real tight and see how she likes working for her food!

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    1. BRILLIANT! We'd make a great {and gorgeous} pair! ~Bear Cat

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  12. That does look like a good idea. But I have found the perfect toy to relieve the boredom. It is one of those toyes that runs on a battery and it has a element that goes back and forth under a skirt. My cats line up to get a turn at it. Great review.

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  13. We had one of those (and reviewed it and had a give-away a few years ago)......Cody wasn't a huge fan, I have another type made out of wood that both of us prefer. Great review though!

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    1. I was worried when I saw Bear barfed on it - but you can't tell now. Wood would be beautiful though!

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  14. You did a great job with this review and all the info about bored kitties. I like the idea of using it with toys. I bought a treat ball years ago, and even though my cats love food and treats, they could never get the hang of the thing. I then received the Temptations treat mouse, which is close to the same principle as the treat ball, and the same thing happened. Ellie sure was tenacious. :)

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    1. NO ONE messes with that girl's food ... not even her brother!

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  15. Hmm, I’m not sure it would be exciting enough for Mrs H. A live mouse in that box and watch her go! Well she’d pribably flatten it with a broom, but with practice... great review, and thanks for sharing
    Toodle pips and purrs
    ERin

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    1. Perhaps you should try the box with your Kraken? Hehehehe.

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  16. Oh yes! Our cats keep us on our toes so we try everything to combat boredom! We haven't tried this yet but looks like something our cats will love. They are addicted to anything cardboard, and of course holes would be a bonus. MOL. A really thorough and informative review you did!

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  17. My cats aren't bored, but I am- I over eat all the time. Great review. Bear and Ellie look so cute with their paws in the box.

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  18. Great review ! Zorro would have destroyed the box, because he's a little bit food-obsessed, but I don't work for food. Purrs, Pixie

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  19. "Are my cats just intellectually challenged" - MOL! If I recall, our cats had a hard time getting the treats out, too. Your post reminds me that I should get this box out again and see how they handle it now. Harley has never seen it and he LOVES treats, but rarely ever plays. So it would be interesting to see what he does with this box.

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  20. What an absolutely brilliant post!! Bravo Bravo. I, Madi(son) D cat have been very lucky to have always had one or both of my peeps here with me 24/7. I would definitely been a cat that bored easily. So I've never been bored, snoopervising humans is a full time job. Dad retired from Duke Energy with 33 years under his belt in 1999. I came here in 2002. Then mom retired in 2009.

    Hugs madi your bfff

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    1. We know you keep everyone in your house in line! My kind of girl! ~Bear Cat

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  21. No male princess should ever have to work for his food. That's... just... crazy talk, people. It REEKS of wrongness.

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    1. THANK YOU! I might need some of your muscle, Leia! ~Bear Cat

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  22. I hope my Mom does NOT get me one of those boxes! Mom is really good about playing with me. She does in the morning and then when she gets home with work. She does hide treats for me every morning...different spots all over the house and some days I don't find them all. she also leaves the Cornell Burd Feeder Channel on You Tube for me all day and I have a bunch of toys that I do live to play with!
    Now I gotta go...Mom and me are going to play with da burd...
    Purrs
    Marv

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    1. My Momma's for the birds! How come I don't get all of that?!? #grounded ~Bear Cat

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  23. Sam is too old to worry about being bored...she mostly wants to sleep! But she did have fun with some homemade treat games when she was younger. I think her late sister Katie would have loved something like this, since she was very treat motivated. Sam and Katie were our first totally indoor cats, but back then I don't think there were treat games out there for cats.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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  24. I bet a slew of mousies could live in that box, but they wouldn't be there long before I'd ATTACK them all! Tee hee hee. Work for treats? Is that like when I tell Mom I won't pose for a photo unless she gives me treats?! Tee hee hee.

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    1. I've learned to con the entire bag of treats from her! Though I think that will only work a few times before she gets wise to it. She wants me to cooperate so badly ... ~Bear Cat

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