Frisky feline bounds toward a bright future

Jako the cat eating some greens with ears back
Jako had so much energy that he was positively overflowing with it, so caregivers invented games and activities to focus all that go-go-go.
By Sarah Thornton

From the moment Jako burst onto the scene at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, there was no doubt that the world was his. He was all quick paws and big green eyes, leaping and climbing and darting around, investigating his new space, and making sure everyone knew he was the cat to pay attention to. He never stopped, even for a second. Jako had seemingly limitless energy — but he didn’t always know what to do with it all.

Jako struggled to get along with other cats, playing too hard and too rough for most of their tastes. He was no stranger to scuffles. Sometimes that misplaced energy rebounded onto his human friends, and Jako wasn’t always aware of just how strong (or sharp) he could be. It became clear pretty quickly that he needed more outlets for all that energy, so caregivers set to work finding him some. And oh, the fun that was to come!

Of course, there was the usual: plenty of toys on rotation to make sure they stayed new and interesting; long wand toy sessions to get him moving and jumping, leaping and twisting until he was all tuckered out; and free time in the hallway to explore and interact with caregivers and volunteers as they came and went.

[A Guide to Clicker Training Pets]

But like so many busy kitties, it wasn’t enough just to keep his body moving. Jako needed something to get his brain engaged, too — and he was smart. He picked up clicker training fast, learning to high-five like it was a breeze before he was on to tougher tricks.

Turns out, he was a whiz at agility, too.

When Cat World hosted the Kitty Olympics, there wasn’t even a question about who would take home the gold(fish). Jako stood at the top of that cardboard podium with a wild kind of pride, already ready for the next challenge. It would stand no chance against the force of nature that was Jako’s playful drive.

Jako also decided stroller walks outside were pretty fun. With so many smells and sounds in the air, and tiny movements in the scrub brush as he wheeled past, all his senses were engaged. The outdoors was great! So how, his caregivers wondered, could they bring that fun indoors?

Well, with a sandbox, of course. A plastic kiddie pool full of red sand from outside, bits of old wood, and cat-safe plants to sneak through and chew on was just what Jako needed to really get in touch with his wild side.

And when the novelty of the sandy oasis wore off, the pool was perfect for even more activities. When Jako went through a “water cat” phase, splashing in his drinking bowl like he was trying to swim away, the kiddie pool provided its standard service: a shallow pool of water to fill with toys and give Jako a chance to really get his paws wet.

[As seen in Ellen's Paws Up Club]

On another occasion, the pool was for paper. Crinkly tissue paper is just the kind of thing a playful cat like Jako can spend hours pouncing and trouncing through. And with a wand toy to further draw his interest, he was scrambling in circles like a little whirlpool.

The fun doesn’t stop there, of course. That’s just a taste of the kind of stuff Jako gets up to in his free time. His human friends are always looking for new games and activities to engage the frisky feline, and he is always down to try them out. And with all of that to keep him busy and burn up that energy, Jako is also able to enjoy some quiet downtime in between — with all the lap time and ear scratches he could want. But we have even bigger plans for Jako and know he’s got a bright future ahead. We can picture it now: a new home filled with the same boundless enthusiasm and love for adventure that he has. Until then, if you’d like to help feed Jako’s endless want for new fun, you can sponsor this furry force of nature.

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