Are the Hours You Spend with Your Cats “Wasted Time?”


Is any time spent with cats really time wasted? Most of us would probably say, “No way!” And really, the definition of time wasting is relative. One person’s wasted time is another person’s fun. Yet, with plural cats in the household, a lot of time goes to the cats. Do I beat myself up saying, “I could be working!” or “I could be making more money!” or similar things? Not usually. Here’s how I entertain my cats. You decide whether it’s time wasted or not.

1. We watch TV

This activity is highly unusual for me, because I have very little time to watch television. But I’ve discovered the show House, and I enjoy its tight writing and its bizarre characters. So, we watch it on Netflix. The deal is, the cats LOVE it when we watch TV. They get instant lap opportunities. Since we both sit on the futon and the cats plop down instantly to join us, it gets pretty crowded. We have to find our spaces fast, and first, or there’s no room for the humans.

I also love Downton Abbey, but we’ll have to wait a few months for the new series (alas!). If it arrives here during Minnesota’s long winter, we’ll have a great time on dark nights providing lap space for cats. It’s easier to justify watching TV in the winter, anyway, when there’s nothing to do outside once it’s dark. The cats will be waiting!

2. We play musical rooms when it’s time to feed cats

With multiple cats in what’s basically a two-room house, feeding gets very interesting. If I had cats that nibbled daintily all day, I could leave out food and let them free-feed. But my cats usually turn into horses (not overweight, just big), and they love their food. So I feed them twice a day and move them into various rooms and watch while they’re eating. I make sure that no cat tries to hog another’s food. This takes time! They also get any required meds — traditional or holistic.

3. We play “chase the pellets”

This is a great game you can try at home. If your cat likes it, you’ll have a great time, and your cat will get lots of exercise. Find a place in your home or apartment where your cat can run for a long distance. A hallway might work well; stairs might work if you have them. I use a runway from the open kitchen through the bathroom. Take dry food, one pellet at a time, and throw it across the floor, aiming low as if you’re skipping a stone across water. Some cats love the sound of the pellet skidding across the floor. Watch them chase it and capture it. You may even be able to train your cat to come back for another pellet toss by standing at one end of the runway and dropping a pellet into a bowl for noise effect. You’ll certainly get their attention.

4. We play “chase the sheet”

Same idea as “chase the pellet.” The cat is still doing the chasing, although you’ll get a lot more exercise doing this than your cat will. Drag an old sheet or piece of material on the floor. A hard floor is best, as the sheet will move fast and make your cat crazy with play. Drag the sheet and watch your cat jump and ride it! Or, use this cool cat toy that I found at Target once. Not all my cats have figured it out, but some have, and they love to be dragged around the house in it — head sticking out proudly as they ride and you pull.

5. We do yoga

Yoga is never a waste of time — not for me, not for the cats. And I’ll admit, I’ll extend my practice if the cats are hanging around. I let my cats shape my day to an extent. Waste of time? Maybe. But I get yoga, and so do my cats!

I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to entertain the cats. As I write this, my new kitten is racing around the office for the first time. I’ve interrupted my writing several times to throw him toys and make sure he’s safe and having fun. It’s all about the cats!

How do you waste time with and entertain your cats? Share your thoughts in comments!

Read more ways to play with your cats:

About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.

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