Cats used to be wild outdoor animals before humankind domesticated them. That said, your indoor pet cat is still that feline in the wild and they require the environment that nurtures their peculiar behavior. Providing that environment, in simple words, is called enrichment for cats. It is obvious that enrichment is important for cats but how exactly can you do it? You might have many questions and we have the answers. Read on to know more.
Cats always look for opportunities to exhibit their natural behaviors. An ideal enriched environment should be able to provide different things including, scratching surfaces, outlets for predatory and prey behavior, and a safe haven. Moreover, the environment should be able to provide them mental stimulation regarding all five of your cat’s senses where they have a variety, choice, and control over their daily activities.
In a nutshell, an enriched environment is required for a cat to stay happy.
You can do enrichment with different aspects of a cat’s life. Generally, it is categorized into three sections: 1) Indoor enrichment, 2) Outdoor enrichment, and 3) Different enrichment activities. Let’s start with Indoor enrichment first.
Spray cat pheromones lightly across their bedding and furniture. For instance, you can use a product that includes a cat’s facial pheromone which cats use to mark their territory safe and secure. This will help them feel safe and happy indoors.
My cats start romping up the shelves at night after I fall asleep as if they are partaking a cat Olympics. Most cats love to engage themselves in climbing and a little rough play to have fun. You can always enrich your indoor environment by building up cat furniture in your house that includes cat scratch posts, cat trees, cat cave setups, baskets, tunnels, wall beds, climbing steps, etc.
You can purchase different items from the store and arrange them creatively. Or if you like to make stuff on your own, there are too many DIY ideas available online.
All cats love catnip. It is pretty easy to grow catnip at your home. Use a kong-type toy to fill in the catnip and let your cat play with it.
Cats eat grass to use it as a natural laxative and to improve digestion. You can grow or purchase wheatgrass and place it in your home and they’re going to like it so much.
Some felines including cats love to drink running water. You might’ve also observed your cat prefer drinking from running tap water rather than from her bowl. If your cat rarely gets a chance to witness running water, a water fountain is necessary for enrichment.
Cats are quite detectives. When they finally get some free time from their play and sleep, you can observe them sitting on the window porch and looking outside as if he is solving a mystery. They like it! Birds eating from the bird feeder right outside the window will keep him entertained.
When you go out with your cat, let them enjoy the fullest. Here are some ideas about how you can do it.
You can walk your cat like people walk their dogs. Remember you use the right equipment specially made for your cat. Leash and harness are all you will need. Also, ensure that if your cat is okay with harness and leash. If you’re not sure, put them on a leash in the home so that they can get used to it. Be sure to check out this cat harness review for more options.
If your cat does not quite like the idea of walking on a leash, you can use a cat stroller and let them enjoy the outside world. Using a stroller to keep kitty secure is another benefit considering other animals and vehicles out there. All in all, using a cat stroller is a good idea for outdoor enrichment.
You definitely don’t want your cat to be an outdoor one and make them vulnerable to life-threatening conditions. However, you can give them the joy of staying outdoors without being worried about their well-being and security. Catio, a cat patio or other enclosures provide an outdoor life without any dangers.
Like dogs, cats also want human attention. I know about that ‘cattitude’ of your feline buddy, but hey, that doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t care or doesn’t love you. Activities with your cat is a part of enrichment.
Talk to your cat and sing to them. Cats recognize human voices and feel happy when you interact with them. And when you do this, also include your kids; if they like to dance to songs, that can be really fun.
Read to your cats. I know this sounds useless but cats would sense the variation in your voice and would enjoy this activity. What you read doesn’t matter so, you can just start reading your unfinished novel or whatever you like.
Yes, you can teach your cats some tricks using positive reinforcement training used for dogs. A clicker can also help you with this.
You’re not always available for your cat. If a cat has another feline partner, he would play and interact with them. If your cat wasn’t an indoor one, he would’ve met a lot of cats in the wild. So, another cat can make a good choice for enrichment. Fostering and adopting are acts of kindness and also will give your cat new friends.
Enriching for your cat is quite crucial for your cat’s mental health and well-being. I have mentioned the easiest and most important ways you can do that. However, there can be many other ways you can achieve this and if you want us to share your idea, we are all ears. Let us know about it in the comment section below.