Summer is a wonderful season! Here in Michigan, we get 3 lovely months of beautiful weather before we plunge back into the deep freeze. As a cat owner, I think it important to involve my cats in making the best of the warm days we have. Why not have some summer fun with the kitties? There are some summer twists to normal activities that the cats really enjoy!
Take a Walk Together
Leash training isn’t just for dogs anymore! These days there are a lot of cats strapping on a harness and exploring the world with their owners. Why not spend some time outdoors while the weather is warm? Enjoy the sun and the fresh air together. If you cat is not keen on walking on a leash, you could even try a pet stroller or a pet sling. Your cat may love getting the outdoor experience while you are doing all of the work.
One word of caution- going outdoors isn’t for all cats. Please keep your cat’s personality and health in mind. I have one cat (Manna) that loves heading outdoors with me (we’re still getting the leash thing down) and one cat (Cinco) that runs and hides when he sees a person through the window. Forcing Cinco out into public could put enough stress on him to damage his health, so I have no intention of trying. It’s only summer fun if it’s fun for both you and your cat.
Iced Catnip Tea
Iced tea is a really refreshing drink when you are out having summer fun. Why not make some for your kitty? Making iced catnip tea is really easy.
- Choose a few fresh catnip leaves. You can also use ground catnip in a tea bag. The more catnip you use, the stronger it will be. When I make hot catnip tea for myself, I usually use 4-6 leaves for a single coffee mug. If you are using fresh leaves, don’t forget to rinse them off before you use them.
- Boil some water.
- Place the catnip into a heat-safe container and pour the boiling water over it. Only add the catnip and water to this. Cats do not need sweeteners in their tea.
- Let it steep. It can take several minutes for the catnip to fully saturate the water. It will be yellow in color rather than brown like black teas are. You can smell it or taste it to know when it has steeped enough for your liking. It has a mint-like flavor. Catnip is good for humans!
- Pour it over ice and let it cool At this point, you can place it in the refrigerator to cool down or just let the ice do its work.
- Serve and enjoy! If your cat loves catnip, this iced tea will be a hit! It is a great way to encourage your cat to drink more water. Water it down as much as you like.
If your cat likes his/her water to be really cold, a kitty slushie might be in order! You could flavor it with tuna juice, low-sodium chicken broth, catnip tea, or even pumpkin. Just crush some ice up in a blender with the flavoring of your cat’s choice. It might sound gross to you as a human, but it probably sounds wonderful to your kitty. Another option with this is to freeze the flavoring into ice cubes. Those could be crushed up or left as is. On a hot summer day, your cat might really enjoy the chance to lick a yummy ice cube.
What says summer fun more than barbecue?!
Food is great for creating bonding moments with your cat. If your cats are like mine, then whatever food you eat is far more interesting that what you put in their bowl. Why not let your cats in on some summer fun? Next time you barbecue, cook a piece of meat without any seasonings. When it is finished and cooled, cut it into kitty sized bites and give it to your cat as a treat! My cats love barbecued chicken. It is a healthy, human grade treat too!
Have a Summer Sensory Adventure
Not all cats are meant for the outdoors, but they can still have the summer fun experience. Go outside and gather some leaves, rocks, or pinecones, cottonwood fuzzies, etc that represent summer in your area. Check the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants and make sure not to include any of those in your mix. Rinse the items off if you can. Keeping a careful eye on the interactions, bring them indoors for your cat to smell and experience. It can be fun to see your cat react to things that are totally new!