Pet Connections

Ease Cabin Fever with Enrichment Games for Your Pets

By Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist at Animal Friend

Animals need ways to stay active – physically and mentally – year-round. With the weather turning from cold to colder, here are some fun indoor games you can play with your pet to ease cabin fever this winter.

Build a Cat Activity Center

Things that would typically be thrown away can easily be made into an entertaining play station for your cat. Toilet paper tubes, pipe cleaners, ribbon spools or egg cartons can provide hours of brain-stimulating fun! Use a shallow cardboard box as the base and securely glue your items in place.

Once your activity center has taken shape, add a few pinches of catnip, jingle bells and treats. Your cat will put her brain to work and will enjoy exploring the textures, smells and sounds. Once she has lost interest, refill the goodies and move it to a new location. Your cat will think she has made a brand new discovery and you’ll be able to reuse your activity center time and time again! 

Have a Bottle Party with Your Pup

Dogs can use their superior sniffers to have some fun and put their brains to work. Fill a large box or container with empty water bottles and drop in a few treats. Let your dog sniff, search and dig for them. If you have a fearful pup and the bottles make too much noise, try crumbled newspaper instead – it’ll also help to his build confidence.

You can also lay out a trail of tiny treats – this can be done in any amount of space so use your imagination.  After leading your pooch through the kitchen, around the couch and up the stairs, leave a jackpot (a small pile of treats) at the end of the trail as a reward for your little explorer.

Another fun game for your pooch is to place treats on a towel, roll the towel up and twist. Let your dog work the towel open to find the food. Too easy? Place the treats in a Kong and then roll up the Kong in the towel.

Foraging Games for Your Rabbit

By creating a foraging game you can easily encourage your rabbit to get some exercise while searching, sniffing and thinking to find a treat. 

Make a trail of fresh greens across the room, hiding some of the pieces. If your bunny makes quick work of the trail, you can take it to the next level by slowly dragging one leaf across the floor and hiding it at the end. Your rabbit’s mind will be working to follow his nose all the way to the treat. The better you hide the prize, the harder he’ll have to work to find it!

These are just a few of the countless enrichment activities you can use to keep your four-legged family members active all winter long. For more great ideas, visit


December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023