There are few things more entertaining than watching a cat play, stalk, pounce, stare-down, and ambush their “prey”. Luckily, there’s an endless supply of funny cat videos online to keep us going throughout the day!
But, while everyone’s amused by the internet cats, what’s happening with the ones we know and love at home? Are they flinging themselves off dangerous heights, climbing into cardboard boxes three times too small, or cuddling a fellow feline? If so, it might be time to consider the ways you can improve cat enrichment.
There’s no question that a cat’s overall health is tied to their environment. Of course, there are other things that are just as important, such as vaccines and parasite prevention, nutrition, and dental care, but the link to feline happiness is undoubtedly their surroundings.
Strictly indoor cats may live a longer life away from the threats of other animals, bugs, vehicles, and more, but when their day to day is the same-old, same-old, they are not immune to depression and obesity. There are loads of ways to enhance a cat’s living space, such as:
- Feather toys
- Catnip filled mice
- Laser chase
- Ball pit (shallow container filled with practice golf balls and a few treats)
- Vertical space, like a cat tree or walkways attached to the walls
- Scratching posts galore
- Other toys found here
Remember, part of a cat’s happiness at home has to do with a low-stress dynamic. If you notice that something seems to bother your cat, try to remove or minimize it. Try to understand what your cat’s preferences are and accomodate them from there.
Other Components of Cat Enrichment
Cats are super intelligent animals and they like a challenge. Perhaps, they’d like clicker training as a shared experience with you. Or, crate training is a fabulous opportunity to work their mind, and provide a safe place for them to go to when needed.
Likewise, a clean litter box is imperative and fresh cool water rounds out a cat’s general well-being at home.
Ready for the Next Step?
The concept of building a cat enclosure, or catio, outside is gaining in popularity. Sort of like a chicken coop, owners purchase heavy-duty framing lumber, galvanized wire or metal fencing, cedar shelves, and a solid roof. You can build it directly off your house and have your cat enter it through a window, or in the yard. Some of the cat enrichment benefits of catios include:
- Fresh air
- Bird watching
- Exercise (especially with free access to climbing inside)
- Peace of mind that your cat is safe and sound
- Protection from other animals
- Litter box can be housed inside, minimizing odor
- Reduction of bird hunting
You can even build it large enough for you to hang out, too. Install a comfy chair that you and your cat can cuddle in. Check out these great examples.