Easy Enrichment: Make a Box of Dry Fall Leaves for Your Cat

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Looking to give your cat access to more natural games this season? This simple DIY puzzle is a fun way to ignite your cat's senses and activate playtime. A perfect fall DIY cat enrichment activity for fall, this game is easy to make. You probably have the supplies you need around the house already.

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Celebrate the fall season with your indoor cat

This enrichment activity is a fun way to provide indoor cats with environmental enrichment. This activity brings leaves from the outdoors for them to play with and explore. When you set up this activity in any area of your home or a catio (if you have one). Though be sure to set up the activity in an area with easy-to-sweep floors — the crunchy leaves can sometimes get a little messy.

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Why you should create cat enrichment opportunities

Cats benefit from having mental and physical outlets for their energy. Enrichment games can be a great way to help cats from getting bored and lethargic. Cats who are bored are more likely to have behavioral problems and their overall well-being can suffer as a result. Providing cats with opportunities to use their sense of smell and inspiring them to pounce and "hunt" is an excellent way to keep your cat mentally and physically entertained. It can improve your pet's overall quality of life.

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This simple DIY puzzle is a fun way to provide your cat with a natural form of entertainment. A sensory game and enrichment puzzle is a great way to activate your cat's sense of smell while encouraging play.

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How to make a cat sensory puzzle box of fall leaves

Supplies you will need:

  • Paper bag
  • A small to medium cardboard box with an open top
  • Cat kibble or treats
  • Clean dry leaves
  • Cat toys (optional)
  • Catnip (optional)

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1. Go outside in your yard, neighborhood, or local park. Collect clean, dry, and crunchy leaves into a paper bag. Make sure the leaves you select are clean and dry. They will work the best for this puzzle. Cats should not be eating the leaves during this game. However, you should select leaves from trees that are not toxic to cats — just in case your cat gets excited and bites into a leaf.

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2. Once you have collected clean crunchy leaves, bring them home and put them into a clean cardboard box. The number of leaves you use put in the box is up to you. Though the more leaves you put inside, the more challenging the game will be for your cat.

3. Once you have leaves in the box, sprinkle in bits of your cat's dry food and kibble or their cat treats. Then, show the box to your cat and encourage them to start exploring in the leaves. As your cat starts to find the food and treats, praise them. Then, encourage them to keep looking around in the box.

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4. For an added challenge and level of enrichment, you can also add toys for your cat to pounce on and pull out of the leaves. The goal of this enrichment puzzle is to provide your cat with a natural and fun way to use their senses — and to safely engage with the changing of the season.

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5. As the leaves get broken down, you can compost them and refill the box with more leaves. For added challenges, you can provide your cat with many leaf filled cardboard boxes with dry cat food, toys, or treats. This can encourage your cat to do multiple searches.

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Supervise your cat during this activity

When you provide your cat with a puzzle-type toy it's important to always supervise their interactions with it. Be sure to watch for any signs of stress or frustration. If your cat seems frustrated, remove the puzzle immediately. Pay attention to make sure your cat isn't trying to eat the leaves.

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In summary

If you are looking for a festive way to provide your cat with some Fall enrichment then this simple DIY project will keep cats and kittens of all ages entertained. This enrichment puzzle can be made with supplies that you already have around the house or can find in your neighborhood. It's an interactive and fun way to encourage your cat to pounce and explore.

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