Cat Environment Enrichment
What is environment enrichment? This is the term we use to describe making your home an interesting and stimulating environment for your cat.
Cats are very intelligent animals who require both physical and mental stimulation. Contrary to popular belief that cats look after themselves, they do rely on us to ensure their environment provides everything they require, in order to become a balanced, happy feline.
Boredom in cats can manifest itself in many ways. Some cats can become withdrawn and others destructive or exhibiting signs of stress such as inappropriate urinating.
How do we eliminate boredom?
If we look at the natural instincts of cats some of the core things they love to do is sleep, play, hunt and climb.
Sleep is an easy option as the cat chooses to sleep in their chosen spot, whether your bed or the lovely plush cat bed you bought them.
Play and hunting can be classed as one need. Typically cats play by hunting insects, birds or wildlife. In the case of indoor cats this isn’t possible. Therefore, we re-create and fulfil this need by utilising toys that enable the cat to use its natural instincts and abilities through play to satisfy their need.
People tell us all the time how they think their cat needs outside as they are chirping at birds outside. That’s not what they are telling you. They are telling you they want to hunt and play.
Interactive play with toys such as Da Bird, Da Butterflier or any other rod style toy are excellent for both physical health and allowing your cat to use their hunting skills to catch the ‘prey’. Interactive play should form part of your daily care routine at least once a day. Doing so before bed is typically a good time as it tires out your cat before bedtime. If your cat is not used to playing in this way start with short periods gradually extending length of play.
Another key way to keep your cat mentally alert is to utilise puzzle feeding. For ease there are a number of products available to buy that you simply fill with their dry food and they use their hunting and intelligence to work out how to get their food.
Retail products such as the CatIt Puzzle Feeder, Catmosphere Feeding Ball and the Trixie feeders are all good options or you can have a go at making your own at home.
Home made puzzle feeders can be made from old cardboard boxes and toilet roll holders and as easy or complicated as you like. They are equally a great way of getting children involved in the care of your cat whilst making it fun.
The last element we have mentioned is climbing. When you place your furniture in the house it is always wise to stop and take a look at possible paths for the cat to get up high and to hide. Our typical advice for bookshelves is to leave a shelf empty for the cat to lay on, if not, they are sure to empty it for you.
Why is this important? Because not all cats react well to visitors, children or even other cats in the home and by giving them places to hide up high allows them to feel safe and out of harms reach.
There are also various cat scratching activity towers available these days too which provide a sleeping and scratching point for your cat and with correct training will save your sofa and door fascias.
Environment enrichment can be as easy or complicated as you like and doesn’t need a lot of money or time to provide, especially if you build it into your daily routine.
Where to Buy?
The Internet is always a good place to start in your search for toys and feeding puzzles and will typically return the best prices by enabling you to shop around.
You can also browse the Sunny Harbour shop and bag a bargain! We offer our toy range at reductions of up to 30% off RRP to provide good value all round. Our toys are tried and tested – we know they are robust and will be enjoyed by cats. Plus, enjoy a touch of guilt free shopping – as proceeds from our shop go towards helping us to carry out our cast rescue work across Fife.