We Need Novelty and Our Cats Do, Too!

This past week Portland, Oregon had a snowpocalypse!

(❄️ Scroll to the end to see the videos I posted on Instagram 🥰)

We had about 11 inches of snow overnight, which for us, is a lot! (Actually, this was the snowiest day Portland's seen in 80 years!)

Being born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, snow is A Big Deal!

I remember the first time it snowed after moving to Portland. I woke up, walked down the stairs to the living room...and the yard, shrubs and patio were covered in white.

There’s something incredibly magical about waking up to the snow.

First the white is so bright, it can feel like daytime when it’s night and it can be overwhelming.

Second, because the snow absorbs most sounds, it’s extremely quiet.

And then, the beauty of it all.

It just feels like I’ve been transported to another world.

As I write this, it's been several days and the snow is still out there.

My partner kept inviting me to stop and get outside.

But I was in my old patterns:

“I can’t. I just can’t. There’s just too much to do!”

But, as I said that I could hear how ridiculous I sounded.

So I grabbed my socks, snow boots, and jacket and carefully stepped outside.


As soon as the crisp, clean air hit me, all of me was pulled into the moment.

I wasn’t thinking of the work emails, the calls I needed to return and the projects I needed to complete.

I was in the moment.

And with that, I walked, with each step, ankle-high in powdery snow, the breeze wafting through the branches with the blue of the sky in between and the sun shining, full out.

I felt joy standing in this magical wonderland.

I spent maybe 10-15 minutes out there and when I got back to my desk, I was energized and focused, ready to continue with work.

We need novelty.

It refuels and refills our wells.

And something I need to keep reminding myself of is: It doesn’t have to cost a lot of time.

If you don’t take many breaks, novelty can be taking some.

Just step outside to take 3 full fresh-air breaths (that have or have not been anointed by pine trees).

"Novelty" does NOT need to be big, or super different.

I like to think of it as play because I don’t play enough.

So for me, any play is quite novel.

When I think of play, it’s not like a vacation or anything big.

Novelty can be quick, like:

  • skipping to the kitchen for my coffee
  • literally jumping up and down like a kid to celebrate finishing a dreaded phone call
  • or just laughing, exaggerating it so much that it just makes you laugh more!

Novelty is not only need that we humans have.

Our cats need novelty, too.

You know this and also know what happens when they haven’t had much of it - they can act out, kinda like us!

Bear, our cat, will go and swat the plant he knows he shouldn’t be swatting.

If we ignore him, he’ll start to stretch his body up, really high (and make us panic that he’s going to fall!) to try and reach the spider plant, and try to nibble any part of it.


Here are some easy ways to create novelty for your cats:

  • Rotate toys to prevent toy fatigue; keep them in the closet and just bring out a couple at a time. Your cats will act like they’re brand new!
  • Move things around; don’t underestimate what moving one dining room chair can do! Move it to the living room.
    • Or move your cat’s scratchers to different places.
    • Take your online shopping boxes and packing material and scatter them around.
    • Get a bed sheet and drape it over a chair and scatter a few toys underneath. Bear loves playing with sheets! In fact, I can drag it slowly and he’ll jump right on for a ride!
  • Put on some Cat TV; search "Cat Games" on YouTube. Although this isn’t ideal because there’s no real interaction, it can provide novelty and stimulation for your cat. Just be ready with a wand toy for them to release any pent-up energy, and have a snack ready to end the play.

❓ What are some ways you keep things fresh...
– for your cat
– or yourself

I’d love to hear! Tell me in the comments!

1 comment

  • Sue Williams

    Taking a break from media but love to reading your blog! I’m a big fan of routine, so appreciate the Novelty reminder. One of our favorite activities is to fill a small storage tote with a couple of inches of water and add some floaty things. We have robotic fish too! Fun for all!
    Love and Above Cat Club replied:
    Hi Sue! Oh I love this enrichment routine! I have some robotic jelly fish that I forgot about so thank you for the reminder! We will put this in our rotation today!

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