Enrichment goes a long way in seeing to your cat’s natural behaviours of pouncing, hunting, playing, climbing, chasing and hiding. Just like dogs, cats need outlets to rehearse species-specific behaviours. Providing our feline companions with safe outlets for natural behaviours and daily enrichment is vital in keeping them healthy, safe and mentally stimulated.
A wide variety of toys are available in our vet shop. Toys, like feathered wands, encourage play and see to a cat’s natural behaviours of chasing, stalking and pouncing. Some cats enjoy pawing at soft toys or catnip-infused balls that they can claw at or bat around.
The important thing to remember when playing with a wand toy is to wave it gently (subtle movements) to stimulate their curiosity and natural instincts.
Sometimes the simplest DIY toys create the most fun! Take a paper roll and cut the ends so they splay outwards (see image). This is such an easy design that can bring your cat lots of entertainment. Some cats like the sound of scrunched-up paper rolls and will chase them for hours on end.
We hear all about food enrichment for dogs, yet the same applies for cats. Get your kitty hunting for his food. Hide treats or a portion of his kibble around the house or inside a cardboard box enrichment project (see image) to appeal to his natural instincts.
Start off by gradually introducing your cat to the food puzzle and eventually he’ll learn how to figure out more challenging games.
Remember, the objective with enrichment is not to create frustration, but rather mental stimulation, problem solving and fun.
A must for all cats, as scratching is a natural behaviour. You can encourage him to use his scratching post by placing a little bit of catnip or his favourite treats nearby.
You can also place his favourite bedding on it or place the post in a sunny,window spot, so he enjoys accessing it more frequently.
Did you know that cats live in a vertical world? What that means is they prefer an enriching environment that has multiple levels and surfaces to climb. Provide him with access to high perches like a table or scratching post or hammock near a window.
Cats enjoy the safety of a cat igloo or objects or areas to explore like a cardboard box or scratch posts with hidey holes. If he wants to curl up inside an igloo, don’t disturb him. Cats like to have the option of a safe space to rest or retreat to if they want some peace and quiet.
Plants for Indoor Cats
For those cat families who don’t have garden access, you can bring the outdoors inside. Plant some catnip, lemongrass or peppermint (greens that are safe for your cat to enjoy) in pots inside on a window sill. These particular plants have appealing scents for your cats. Ask your vet which plants are safe for cats.
A wonderful way to bond with your cat is through engaging in play. The more positive interactions you have with your cat, the stronger the healthy, happy bond you will develop with your pet cat.