Your cat might impress you with their ability to relax and nap for hours on end. Though cats also need to be active and mentally stimulated. Otherwise, they can become bored and stressed. They can even develop depression. Whether you have one cat or a few, you should create a home where they can feel at ease. They will need to be able to keep themselves occupied when you aren't around. This is what environmental enrichment is about.
Environmental enrichment for indoor cats
After growing out of their boisterous kitten stage, your cat may mellow out. The toys that used to entertain them might now be left on the floor untouched. Aside from the zoomies, you might find your pet calmly gazing out the window or napping on your bed. However, this doesn't mean your adult cat doesn't want to stay mentally and physically active.
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Cat enrichment activities can prevent behavior problems
Even if your cat has plenty of food and water, a cozy bed, and a clean litter box, it may not be enough to keep them happy. Destructive behaviors, as well as compulsive behaviors like over-grooming, might occur when your cat feels bored or frustrated.
For example, a disgruntled cat might start scratching furniture, especially if there aren't enough scratching posts in the house. Or, they might start to eliminate outside of the litter box. They might also become aggressive if they don't have toys to play with. Or if you never play with them.
Easy ways to enrich your cat’s environment
Environmental enrichment for cats doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. With the right pet products and a little creativity, you can give your kitty a home that's safe, comfortable, and full of fun things to do.
1. Entice your cat to play with a variety of toys
Toys can fulfill your cat's desire to hunt and help them to get their much-needed exercise. The best part is that you don't need to spend a lot of money on toys — if you don't want to. Sometimes, cardboard boxes or a paper bag might be enough to get your cat excited.
Provide your cat with a variety of cat toys to prevent boredom. For example, you can leave toy mice or balls around the house for them to find and play with. Food puzzles can challenge your kitty's mind and provide them with a satisfying reward. Interactive toys or clicker training can also give your cat the physical and mental stimulation they need.
2. Let your pet climb with cat trees and wall perches
Cats love to climb, and many prefer being up high. Setting up tall cat trees is another way to enrich their environment. Plus, a cat tree might come with built-in scratching posts and catnip toys. This product can provide several forms of cat enrichment.
Don't have enough room for one or more cat trees? There are wall perches that can save space. They're designed to be easy to set up. You can also choose the configuration that will work best for you and your pet.
3. Give your cat a space to safely enjoy the outdoors with a catio
Some people enjoy taking their cats outside to have little adventures, whether that is on a leash or in a stroller. If you don't like that idea or your cat gets stressed leaving the house, set up a catio that can let them safely take in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors.
You can set up a catio that's attached to your house so your kitty can walk outside through a door or window. Another option is to set up an outdoor enclosure in your backyard. Either way, these can keep your cat secure and keep wildlife safe from them.
4. Provide a view of the outside world with window perches
Your pet can enjoy fresh air and sunshine by sitting near a window. If you don't have a wide enough window sill or furniture that your cat can sit on, they could miss out on the view. A simple solution is to use window perches designed to keep kitties comfortable and secure.
There might be plenty going on outside, so your cat might often head to the window to see what's happening. If you want to make the view even more interesting, consider setting up a bird feeder that will attract birds and squirrels.
Your feline friend needs more than just nutritious food and a cozy place to sleep. Understanding a cat's natural behaviors can help you enrich their environment so they can release energy and exhibit natural behaviors in positive, non-destructive ways. There are many easy and affordable ways to ensure your cat will have everything they need to stay mentally and physically active.