The term “cat enrichment” may sound like a way for your feline friend to diversify their portfolio, but it actually refers to the concept of meeting their mental and physical needs. Indoor-only cats live longer, but that doesn’t always mean they are happier animals.
Is it possible to achieve the best of both worlds? It’s certainly more likely when cat enrichment becomes a priority.
Cat Enrichment for the Finicky Feline
Cat enrichment is basically a way to enhance feline quality of life through environmental stimuli. Ideally, by creating a place that makes a cat happy we are highlighting their psychological and physiological well-being. In other words, when we know what a cat wants and needs, we can truly help them become the healthiest cat on the block.
Cats are predatory creatures, and they must hunt to thrive. Stalking, pouncing, and clawing are normal feline behaviors that may be limited inside the home. However, when cats are given opportunities to engage with their inherited hunting skills, life is considered more fun and interesting.
An outlet for predatory play can be just as easy as buying catnip mice and engaging cats in play. Laser toys and feathers are also great additions. Be sure to rotate toys when you notice signs of boredom.
Use That Vertical Space
Cats enjoy climbing and love perching on high surfaces that allow them to observe the room. We recommend installing numerous climbing shelves (that alternate between sleeping or grooming stations) covered in different fibers like carpet, sisal, wicker, fleece, bark, and more.
Cat trees are not the only way to provide cat enrichment, although they rank pretty high among owners. Indeed, installing bridges, hammocks, and high perches all around the house that are accessible only by your cat is a great way to feed their brain and body.
The Snooze Factor
Cats sleep between 12-16 hours every day. A phenomenal bed, cat cave, nap zone, perch, window shelf, or feline hammock will always hit the spot. You may aim for a variety of different beds placed throughout the home so your cat can have choices.
When designing your home for cat enrichment remember that scratchers are essential components. Not only does scratching sharpen claws and help them mark their territory, but they get a great back stretch, too.
Cat enrichment for indoor-only felines can grow tiresome, especially if you notice they are constantly staring out the window, or trying to bolt through open doors.
Building a catio, or cat patio, can make all the difference. A fully enclosed area just for your cat can be built right off an indoor window or doorway, or can be freestanding in the backyard, patio or deck. Not unlike a chicken coop, a catio keeps your cat safe while giving them access to the great outdoors.
It’s critical to remember that cats can become frustrated and stressed out if their environment doesn’t meet their needs. If you start to notice negative or unwanted feline behaviors, please contact us. Our team at Bayshore Animal Hospital & Avian Practice is always here for you.