Happy Cat Month continues, cats rejoice, and this week our focus is ensuring the humans know all about enrichment.
Enrichment is all about the environment, which is one of THE most important aspects for an indoor cat. Without the proper stimulation, boredom ensues, and havoc can be wreaked.
No one wants havoc.
What then can you do to ensure your cat is enriched and happy within their environment?
Provide exploration opportunities. One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy is with a new toy or a new way to explore their environment. Every cat has a preference as to what they like best, and experimenting will be fun for both you and your cat.
Find fun ways to work for food. Feline obesity is an ever increasing issue and one way to combat it, is to make cats work for their food. Owners can purchase (or make) food toys that release kibble in small amounts or hide a cat’s food in different places so that they have to find it. Working for food is great physical and mental exercise.
Explore the outdoors (appropriately). Yes! There are ways owners can safely take their cats outside and allow them to broaden their horizons. Cats can be walked on a leash with a harness or confined in a special outdoor area — always under supervision, of course — so they can periodically and safely experience the world outside their window.
Ensure there are scratching areas in your space. Cats should have places they are allowed to stretch and care for their claws. Scratching is an important aspect of feline behavior. Providing a long and sturdy scratching post in a vertical, horizontal or angled position is a good way to keep your cat happy … and your sofa, too!
Find out what works best. Sometimes cat owners try their best, but the cat has other ideas. There are many resources for exploring your options including the Gear Guide at Hauspanther and Jackson Galaxy. Cats can also get their very own subscription boxes that provide a consistent variety and allow owners to see what their pet fancies. KitNipBox (who offers a treat-free box) and MeowBox are the two prominent services available.
Ensuring your cat has proper enrichment will make for an all around happier pet and a saner household.
For more information on the needs of indoor cats, please take a look at the Indoor Pet Initiative from The Ohio State University and our Board Member, Dr. Tony Buffington.
Cover Photo by Erol Pohlreich