We’d like to welcome our cousin Thunder back for this week’s post.
Hello everyone! It’s Thunder, and today I’m going to be giving you ideas on what you and your human companion can do for fun and bonding during the heatwave months of summer!
As some of you may recall, I am a Michigan kitty. In the winter, spring, and fall, this is excellent, because it’s typically cool enough to cuddle and nap all day, and there’s always something on Cat TV! Unfortunately, from about mid-May to mid-September, we have summer. As I discovered, summer is hot, humid, sticky, and gross. This leads to my humans whining that it’s too hot to cuddle (obviously they’re wrong, but have you ever tried correcting a human?) and even to Cat TV being put on pause due to rain storms. It’s an overall sucky season! Thankfully, there are still things to be done to ensure both you and your human are entertained.
Play hide and seek
This is inspired by my sister, Angel. It works similar to the human kitten version of the game. Basically, while your human is distracted, decide where you’re going to hide (some favorite spots for us include behind the stove, under the sofa, and behind the laundry facilities). Then, when your human is in another room, stealthily position yourself in your spot. It’ll take a couple of minutes before your human realizes it’s game time, so you may be able to get a nap in. Once your human misses you, the fun begins! Watch in amusement as they search for you. Make sure you ignore their calls of “here, kitty!”, and only come out if a litter break is needed or if rare treats are offered. When they find you, simply choose a new spot and start over!
Tired of your human losing the best mice you found? Take the off mousing season to practice hunting with them! Our favorite targets are stink bugs, spiders, flies, and moths. The first couple of targets you’ll have to demonstrate how to catch the prey, but after the first 10 or so, give your human a chance (just be sure to be ready to swoop in and make the kill. Humans need a lot of support). Also, make sure they’re not afraid of the target you chose for them. We decided to let Mom go after a huge moth, but apparently she’s terrified of them, so it led to her sitting on the sofa crying while Dad chased and captured it. We thought it was funny. They did not.
Start a collection together
You can piggyback off your hunting practice, or you can choose a totally inanimate object to collect together. Some personal choices for us include stink bugs and flies (that’s a pure Thunder K. Katt choice!), pacifiers (human kitten just spits them out, and they’re fun to bat around), hair ties, lip balm tubes, and bath poufs (Onyx is obsessed with them. We just let her be). If your human is actually organized and keeps things tidy, try helping them collect pens, rubber bands, paper, and shopping receipts. Should your human attempt to clean up your collection, simply take it back out and drop it in a more pertinent spot for them (such as their pillow). They’ll catch on eventually, and hopefully start adding pieces of their own. If you need an easy starter, try toy mousies or balls. They’ll think it’s cute and be more likely to participate.
Do food and beverage tastings
Apparently humans have a thing called “wine tastings”, and in addition to the wine, there’s often cheese, olives, and nuts. Because wine, olives and nuts are not cat friendly (and we all know cheese is delicious- no sample needed on that), I would advise a slightly different approach. Find a cat friendly food that you normally would avoid, and give it a couple nibbles. I’ve tried lettuce, Angel has tried oatmeal, Onyx tried a quinoa chip, and all of us have tried butternut squash. In return, try offering your human some catnip or silver vine, or even some wet food gravy. Make sure you clean your palate between tastings by using their water glass. And always request extra ice, it helps you stay cool in the heat.
I’ve found that humans tend to lounge under a fan or in front of the air conditioner when they get hot. What a purrfect opportunity to lounge next to them, tummy side up, and allow them to enjoy your company! They won’t complain about you making them hot, you’ll get tummy rubs and attention, and the fan will also cool you off. Please note that some humans are not good at just laying there, so you may have to demonstrate a few times prior to any big successes.
Invite your human to watch Cat TV
This is contingent on storms and rain not ruining the cat TV channels (Michigan has been horrible about that this year). The best way to do this is to find the largest window in your house. Choose your spot first (feel free to nudge things around as needed), and create a spot for your human. Once you find a good show, start meowing loudly and often, until a human comes by. At that point, grab them with your paw and pull them towards you and the show. Hopefully you can enjoy a nice bird or squirrel show together.
Do computer work together
When your human is on the computer, be it shopping, work, or video watching, join in on the fun! You can plop in front of their screen, sit on the keyboard, play with their mouse, or help organize their desk area. Some kitties prefer to walk back and forth, which is a good option if you need attention and they have a deadline to meet. Some more technology-savvy kitties may be able to operate functions on the computer for their human- I can open new pages, adjust text size, and unmute the volume. If your human gets irritated, I would choose to sit on their wrist while they type or navigate the mouse. Out of the way, but still with your human (this trick was taught by Onyx).
This is a very literal you scratch my back, I scratch yours situation. Approach your human wanting pets. After an appropriate amount of petting (make sure not to sit down and get comfortable), either jump on and off of them really fast, keep walking back and forth across them, or stand (don’t sit) on a pressure point and purr (you can toss in some head bonks if wanted). Keep up this pattern until they’re satisfied with their cat massage, or until you find something better to do. An added benefit for you is the likelihood of loose, itchy furs being removed during the petting process. Don’t be alarmed if your human yelps a little during their massage- it’s the tension leaving them.
Hopefully you and your human can have an enjoyable summer together! Stay safe, stay cool, and enjoy the time with your human. Don’t let the rain get you down, and keep your furs cool and brushed. And remember, cuddle weather will be back before you know it!
Furs and purrs,
Thunder K. Katt