Some days I look at my cat Clover and wish we could change places. She seems quite content to spend the day sleeping and eating. Sounds pretty good to me. But the truth is that cats need more to help keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Boredom in cats can lead to unwanted destructive behavior, stress, inter-cat aggression, over grooming, obesity and feline lower urinary tract disease. By providing a home that meets their needs, we can create a safe environment for our feline family members.
Ways to increase the environmental enrichment in your home:
- Scratching post: Scratching is a normal cat behavior. It provides an outlet for stress. By providing a place for a cat to scratch, we help prevent them from going after our furniture.
- Vertical space: Cats love to climb and jump. You can easily provide vertical space with a cat trees or shelves. This provides a high place where your cat can rest safely.
- Litter box: A clean, fresh litter box is essential for a happy cat. The cardinal rule is plus one litter box for every cat in the household. So if you have three cats – you want to have four litterboxes. It is important to keep it cleaned everyday.
- Window watching: Cats love to watch out the window. You can also place a bird feeder just on the otherside to increase the activity. Just make sure the window is closed to prevent our feline friends from escaping.
- Toys: Toys don’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Cardboard tubes and boxes can be just as exciting for most cats.
- Puzzle feeders: As cats are natural predators, puzzle feeders (like Slim Cat) make them work a little harder to get their meal. This not only provides more exercise but also provides mental stimulation. Win win!
These are just a few ideas to help increase the environmental enrichment of your home and to help provide a healthy environment for our cats.