Enrichment Tips For Cats
If you’re a cat owner, you’ll no doubt be the owner of some scratched or damaged furniture from an overenthusiastic cat. Boredom and destructive behaviours such as scratching and urinating are not uncommon in indoor cats. Cats are generally more challenging to ‘wear out’ than dogs since you cannot take them for long walks or trips to the park.
So how can you alleviate this boredom and enrich their days? Simply follow our easy steps to keep your cat both comfortable and entertained.
Importance Of Enrichment For Cats
The home environment for an indoor cat is somewhat limiting. Just like us, they need a change of scenery or introduction of something interesting to remain content. They are highly intelligent animals. Without adequate stimulation, indoor cats can quickly become lethargic, depressed and destructive.
Cats spend between 12-16 hours sleeping daily and another large period grooming themselves. Despite this laid-back lifestyle, they still require opportunities to play and exercise in order to remain happy. This is important not just for your cat but your home. A bored or depressed cat may scratch furniture, stop using their litter box properly or become aggressive.
You can support the overall health and mental wellbeing of your cat by introducing engaging and fun elements to their day to day life indoors.
Ideas For Enriching And Entertaining Your Cat
Thankfully there are so many ways to entertain your cat and enrich their indoor life. In just a few simple and inexpensive ways, you can create a fulfilling environment for your indoor cat.
- Cat toys, simple enough and very effective. Consider toys that hide food and encourage problem-solving. The food provides a reward for their hard work. Balls with bells inside are ideal for encouraging playfulness and physical activity. Even a simple feather on a stick or piece of string creates a great opportunity for you to play with your cat. Allowing for enrichment through play as well as important social interaction with you. Swap toys out and introduce new ones periodically to ensure they remain interested.
- Litter trays. Perhaps not the most obvious tool for enrichment, however cats like privacy when using the bathroom. Failure to provide an appropriate toileting situation can cause distress in your cat and cause them to have accidents elsewhere. To keep your cat comfortable, provide at least one tray per cat and keep them somewhere private and quiet. Frequent cleaning of the trays is also a must.
- Cosy hiding places. Cats really enjoy small, dark spaces. This is why you will often see videos and photos of them squashed in vases and other strange places. Ensure your home has ample hiding places that are safe and easily accessible. Consider installing cat walkways or shelves as they also like hiding up high.
- Food and water. Cats are independent creatures and like the freedom to eat and drink whenever they like. While constant feeding of large meals is not recommended, keeping fresh water and a small snack available promotes contentment.
- Scratching posts. Avoid the arm of your lounge becoming a favourite with your cat’s claws by providing appropriate alternatives. Scratching posts with carpet or jute rope are great options that your cats can really sink their claws into without injury. Choose a tall post that mimics a tree. This allows your cat to climb and fully stretch their body out as they scratch. Cats are natural-born climbers, so giving them a space to do this safely is very important to enrichment.
- A view of the outdoors. Just because your cat stays indoors, doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy watching what goes on outside the front door. Provide a comfortable spot for your cat to sit and watch the world go by on a window ledge or similar. This is an important step in providing visual stimulation and enrichment.
Help Your Cat Live Their Best Life
As a loving pet owner, it is important to make time and effort into the mental health and well-being of your cat. A happy cat is more likely to be an affectionate one and one that refrains from causing trouble. Being home indoors all-day doesn’t have to mean boredom. Proper enrichment through play, appropriate toileting set up, food, water, cosy hiding places and visual stimulation means a very happy indoor cat. Give your cat the same comfort they provide you as a constant companion and set your home up for successful cat ownership.