By SuSan Logan-Mccracken
e play brain games — jigsaw puzzles and word games — hoping to keep our minds
sharp. And for good reason. Every time we learn something new, we create new neural pathways
in our brains, which can improve cognition and even repair damage. So why not with our kitties?
Cats are clever animals. It takes intelligence to stalk and hunt prey and street smarts to hide and
escape from predators. Cats are even artful at bluffing to scare off a bigger animal. But just as we
get rusty when we don’t practice enough or bored when we practice too much, so do our cats.
“The most common reasons for behavioral problems are boredom, frustration, and
stress,” said Ingrid Johnson, Atlanta-based cat behaviorist and owner of Fundamentally
Feline. “Mental dullness leads to negative behaviors. Giving them stuff to do makes
them a lot happier.” So I talked to Ingrid and to Southern California-based pet lifestyle
expert Sandy Robins. From my conversations with them, we focused on seven ways to
keep your cat sharp.