Monday, March 26, 2012

Get Your Kitty Supercharged For Spring + $100 AmEx Gift Card Giveaway!

I've partnered with Apartment Guide to serve as an Official Apartment Guide Pet Blogger! As an official blogger, I will be sharing articles filled with tips for living on a budget.

It's springtime, and I'm officially done being cooped up inside - or at least ready to make time to step out for a few minutes and get some fresh air. But what about your indoor cats? It's not like they have the pleasure of visiting cat parks, and many only leave the house once or twice a year to go to the dreaded vet. Since my Apartment Guide posts are about living on a budget and keeping your cat happy and healthy in any space, I was inspired to offer of a few ideas on how to keep your cat physically and mentally stimulated this season, no matter what kind of environment you live in.

Charlie on-the-go!

Exploring the outdoors is a no-no for many indoor cats, but what if it can be done in a safe and comfortable way? Taking your cat for a walk on a harness and leash is a great way to help them burn energy and socialize, while also keeping them (and you) in tip top shape. Cat behaviorist and "My Cat From Hell" star Jackson Galaxy extolls the virtues of leash training, although he warns it may require some behavior modification on behalf of the owner and the cat. Last year, Galaxy worked with New York Times writer Stephanie Clifford to leash train her cat Mac, and also offered some tips on how to get started in the process. Before you set off on your journey, make sure you have the right gear, and choose a safe area away from free-roaming dogs. You'll also want to keep a close eye on your cat to make sure they don't attempt to climb any trees, or chew or ingest anything they shouldn't when they're out on the prowl.

For the cat who's not quite as active, a stroller is another possible way to give them the taste of the outdoors without really putting paw to concrete. Once again, it really depends on the personality of your cat, and what they feel comfortable with. My cat Charlie enjoys a short jaunt around the block where he can catch the breezes and check out the birds, but will start to fuss once the stroller stops moving. I've heard stories of other cats who are able to attend different events like parades and festivals in their strollers, and others still who don't tolerate the experience at all. Listen to your kitty (and your gut) to see what works for you, and prepare to have some fun with the neighbors when they ask to see your fur "baby"!

Sure your cat has a million and one toys, but are they the right ones? Out of the zillions of options in my house, Charlie's favorite (and cheapest) toy is still a plain old plastic spring. I wrote a post about how the original green coil took a permanent vacation a few months back, but since then a new package has been purchased, the contents of which are usually half missing. He literally plays with these things for hours on end, but I'm still not sure who gets more of a workout: Him running around and batting them all over the house, or me fetching them from under the furniture.

On the other hand, Priscilla doesn't touch them at all, and prefers to get her rocks off with a furry mouse that brings her immeasurable joy. The point I'm making is, if your cat's toys aren't driving them to pounce around like a kitten again, maybe it's time to do some experimenting to find out what does the trick. Try out different brands of catnip, get a wand (it will also give your arm a nice workout!), or invest in an electronic toy to rev up your cat's predatory instinct. Just like little kids, not all cats like playing with the same toys, so mix it up and open up a whole new world of fitness for your finicky feline.

Enter to Win!

Throughout the Apartment Guide How-To Guide for Living on a Budget series, I've given ideas on cool kitty decor (for cats and humans), offered ways to get your kitty cat craft on, suggested tips on moving with cats (presented by kitties in boxes, natch), and even fashioned Charlie his own DIY cat palace using little more than a discarded peanut box from Costo and some scrapbooking paper.

As a thank you for following the series, and to give you the chance to splurge on some goodies of your own, Apartment Guide has generously offered one lucky Catsparella reader the chance to win a $100 American Express gift card!

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name and some way for me to contact you if you win (email, link back to your blog or profile, Twitter, etc.). The winner be will chosen in a random drawing next Monday, April 2nd at 5:00PM EST. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents aged 18 and up only. One entry per person, please.


Whether you're living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide offers how-to tips for making the most of a space for you and your pet on a budget on and

If you’re ready for a whole new space or are looking to move, Apartment Guide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect pet-friendly apartment community.

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Disclosure: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. have partnered with bloggers like me as Official Apartment Guide Bloggers. As part of this program, I have received compensation. They have not told me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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