What is Feline Enrichment and Why do I Care?
Imagine if you were confined to a small apartment with only mats on the floor, no windows, no internet, no phone, no television, no one to talk with for life. You might be a little stressed. Our indoor kitties can feel the same way.
Although living indoors is the safest lifestyle for cats, they do not get the stimulation that they would outdoors. That is reason enough for us to make a more enriched environment for our pets. Another compelling reason is that a stressed cat can have physical and behavioral problems, like urinating or defecating outside of the box, licking or biting at themselves, or fighting with housemates. So how do we make our pets’ environment more satisfying for them?
In nature, cats feed 10-20 times a day, intermittently hunting, eating, and resting. They are not designed for the way we tend to eat and it shows in the high number of obese cats we see. By feeding them twice a day and leaving kibble out all day, we’re up-ending a cat’s natural eating pattern. The solution is to have multiple food toys or puzzles hidden throughout the house. Small, frequent meals require your cat make an effort to get to his or her food and that is healthier for them in the long run.
Toys are also incredibly effective, particularly ones that simulate hunting behavior. They’re most likely to entertain your cat. Be sure to rotate the toys so your cat does not become bored.
You can make toys for your cat and nothing can entertain them like a brown paper bag or a box.
Litter Box Care
Most cats prefer large open boxes with unscented clumping litter. Using a box with a top, unless it is meticulously maintained, is a bit like using a Port-o-let at Mardi Gras. Nobody likes that.
You can try different boxes (including an under bed storage box for large cats) and different litter to see what your cat prefers.
Cats not only love to climb, but they feel safer higher up. Climbing towers can be purchased or made. Combine your cat’s climbing tower with a scratching post to make them extra happy.
If you can make a perch near a window so your cats can see outside, they will love you for it. Add a bird feeder outside the window for an extra bonus.
Feliway is a calming pheromone that we recommend be used with all cats. It comes as a plugin that you can place in rooms your cats frequent. There is a stress-reducing Feliway and a multi-cat Feliway.
An enriched cat is a happy cat and a happy cat is a healthier family member.
Call us if you have any questions.