Did you know that one of the best ways to keep your cat happy, healthy and feeling good in your home is to do something called, environmental enrichment. Don’t worry, we, like you, were slightly scared of the phrase until we did a little bit of research and spoke to some experts on the subject.
All that environmental enrichment means is that you create an environment that will stimulate your cat and stop it developing behavioural issues that are sometimes associated when your cat is not mentally or physically stimulated.
From intercat aggression to depression and anxiety a boring environment is something that cat owners must avoid to get keep their cat happy and healthy. An under-stimulated cat can be at risk of over-grooming to self-mutilation, compulsive behavior and loss of appetite. Things, which we are sure no cat owner ever wants to happen.
We have put together a few suggestions to help your create environmental enrichment for your cat. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment or email us, we’d love to hear from you.
Like most humans, cats enjoy their playtime. It develops them both physically and mentally and there are various ways that you can create the right environment through different types of play, these include; interactive and object play.
Interactive play involves you interacting with your cat. This could be toys on the end of fishing style rods or strings, like our moggy mobile, the object here is that you cat reverts their nature a little to hunting. You don’t want to put the objects directly in front of them, instead you want drag the objects away from eye line, hide them in different places and use them as a trigger for playtime. Once playtime is over however, hide these kinds of toys away from the cat or they could end up chewing the strings off all together.
Object play on the other hand involves small toys, like fake mice or our crazy creatures that can be utilised by the cat as and when they choose to play. A great tip would be to place these kinds of toys in different locations so your cat will be intrigued to search for them adding to their daily playtime fun.
Humans live in a horizontal world, that’s fine for us, but cat’s much prefer the vertical space that we leave them. From napping to feeling more secure, cat’s search for the vertical environment as it can also help them establish order in the house, especially in a multi-cat living environment. Elevated environments also provide sanctuary for more timid cats as this will allow them to feel safe as they know it would be very hard for anyone to sneak up on them.
So how do you create vertical space in your home. Sometimes windowsills and bookshelves are great solutions but not always the best ones. They just happen to be there.
Things like cat climbers are a perfect way to give your cats the elevation they need to feel safe and live within that vertical space.
Hideaways and Tunnels
Remember the time you built a fort? If you haven’t and if you’re an adult, you really should. It’s great fun! For those that have, you know the feeling of hiding and scrambling around is a load of fun; well it’s just the same for cats.
Cats need hideaways, especially if they are timid, you can do this in a variety of ways. Our igloo cat beds are a great way to give them that feeling of being hidden away, and not being bothered.
Tunnels are also a great way to create the illusion of play and privacy. You can do this with soft paper bags. Fold a one-inch cuff at the top to make the bag sturdy. Cut the bottoms of the paper bags, fold a cuff around that end and then tape bags together.
Cats scratching is a natural thing that they do. If however they are scratching your furniture, then that can also mean that they are not happy with any scratching equipment you may have or potentially they are bored.
Ensure that you have the right kind of scratching gear for them. From scratching posts to even a good scratching pad, this will ensure that they have the choice when it comes to deciding what to go for first, a well designed, well built and attractive scratching post or your table leg.
One of the key things that is forgotten when creating environmental enrichment for your cat is this, companionship. Whether that is human or other cats in the house, your cat strives to be in the company of other creatures to continue to stimulate their minds and allow them to feel safer in the right environment.
We understand that not every home can afford to have more than one cat, but make sure you take the time to spend time with your pet when you can. This will allow the cat to feel protected and comfortable enriching their life greatly.