Teaching Our Old Cat New Tricks


I am a huge fan of enriching environments for our pets. I do believe zoos do a better job than we do. And who says you can’t teach an old cat new tricks? This is Roxy, who is nearly 15. She never before saw the Friskies Pull ‘n Play toy – but she managed (with a tad of help) to figure it out. And this ‘toy’ can be more than a toy, it can be a ‘feeding device.’

Cheese string for mouse ears and a place inside the mouse “belly” to stash kibble and/or cat treats, even catnip if you like. This is great “occupational therapy” for any cat, a means to enrich the environment. And stash two or three of these in different places around the home and you’ll stimulate the cat’s prey drive – which is a very good thing. As your cat seeks the Pull ‘n Plays, calories can be burned too.

This all ties in with the Fear Free Pets initiative, and Fear Free Happy Homes. Fear Free is an initiative to lower fear, anxiety and stress during veterinary visits. But really lowering stress, period. We know enriched environments diminish stress. And in cats, you might not be able to identify stress. While cats don’t appreciate wholesale changes around them, static environments cause most cats anxiety. And with anxiety may come illness.  

More detailed description of enrichment for cats.

How I enriched our cat Ricky by teaching him to play a little kids piano from the PBS TV show Pets: Part of the Family.