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.
It’s an argument that has raged for centuries, what makes a better pet, Cat or Dog? Search the web and you will find thousands of results that speak of this fractious debate; but never fear, we at Cleo Pet have decided to step into the debate and give you some original paws for thought on which makes a better pet for your home.
The working world has changed dramatically over the last 40 years. With more and more people spending more time at their desks, commuting and away over night, having a pet, any pet, means that responsibility on supervising the animal is required.
However, it is also impractical to expect someone to be able to look after your pet whilst you’re working the hours, or having to take overnight stays in a different location altogether.
Why? Cats can be left unsupervised for quite a long period of the day, and whilst we don’t advise you should do this long term, as long as cats have all the necessities provided for them, mainly access to water and food as well as into your home, cats are predominantly self sufficient and can manage their time on their own.
Change can be a good thing
The modern day environments are constantly changing as our social lives as well. From visiting friends and family a few hours away in the car to having to move for work into new and different cities, being a pet owner can also mean having to consider how well your pet can adapt to these changes.
From the environment that surrounds them to their new daily routines, if your pet is settled, and the quicker it settles, the better it will be for both you, the pet and the family.
Why? Dogs are more adaptable than cats in new environments and changes to their routines more so than cats. In essence, your dog’s behaviour is more philosophical than a cat to these changes and can provide great company in those times of change for you as well in your new environment.
Keep fit and healthy
It is recommended that everyone does at least 30 minute exercise, five times a week that gets your heart pumping and your lungs working to stave away diseases related to being overweight and generally unfit. Things such as heart disease or diabetes can be countered with such exercise routines and measures.
Why? Have you ever tried to walk a cat? Probably not, and nor should you. Cats are independent and develop their exercise skills in a host of different ways; including toys, cat climbers and general tom foolery in their own private time and space. But dogs help get you off the couch and out into fresh air every day, guaranteed. Yes, the downside is when it’s cold and wet you need to go with them, and that’s not a pleasant thought but overall, you will reap the rewards with daily exercise that your dog helps provide.
Size of home
Homes are getting smaller. As reported in February 2016, the average size of a home in the UK is four square meters smaller than the recommended sizes given as a guideline by the government. When you also consider that the cost of buying homes is going up and people moving into apartments to save on cost and space factors, you need to think of what pet would be best suited to these smaller, cosier spaces.
Why? Cats, no matter what size, can find a way to be able to live in a small environment without causing any or much distress whilst dogs, even the smallest ones, need space to move around and explore their territory. Cats can live in small homes or even studio apartments and will be comfortable in their smaller spaced environment.
There are many different reasons to have a cat or dog as your new pet, either however can make great company when it comes to being a treasured member of the family. Keep in mind your environment and lifestyle before making a decision on owning a pet as all pets require time, patience and lots of love.
We’re back and we’re talking about dogs! How many of you think you know everything there is to know about dogs? Show of hands, anyone? Well, we’re sorry to tell you this but we’re keen students of many an animal, dogs being just one of these creatures that we’ve studied assiduously. Why? Because they’re cute, funny and just when you thought you knew everything, they surprise you.
We think we know at least five things that you don’t know about your canine friend and we’re so sure we’re not going to give anything away in case you already knew it…
- They know when you’re happy or sad
Apart from saying to your canine companion that you’re happy or playing Adele records to show you’re sad dogs know all about human emotion. They are in fact the only creatures in the animal kingdom that can read human facial expressions which solves two mysteries; why bears don’t understand you are scared witless when they’re chasing you and why dogs know they’ve done wrong when they’ve stolen the last slice of cake from the fridge. The big question is, do they know when someone is HANGRY, hungry and angry?
- Your dog knows what the weather is like before you do!
Your dog may not be a fully trained meteorologist, but they do have the ability to sense when the weather is going to turn thanks to their impressive hearing and what can only be described as freakish sixth sense. If your dog is acting up, this may be the reason why. Dogs have been known to be early warning systems and it’s not uncommon to hear about dogs ‘playing up’ before storms and even worse, earthquakes.
- Some dogs can increase your home insurance
There you go, definitely one we think you haven’t heard of. A badly behaved dog can radically increase your home insurance especially if they ask for your specific breed. The Akita Inus are particularly well known for causing disruption around the home and breaking things. We would always advise to keep prized possessions locked up or stowed safely out of any dog’s reach, but there sometimes is no guarantee. If you’re applying for home insurance, you may want to omit the breed if not specified.
- Dog’s don’t have the biggest vocabulary but they know sounds
Well, you may have know that but did you know how big their vocabulary actually is? Any idea? It’s around 150 – 250 words; the latter is for smarter dogs only. But did you know that in a large portion of the time spent trying to learn words what they’re actually learning is sounds. That’s right, it’s about sound association with behaviour which is why they don’t understand some context of what you’re saying in the moments that you say them. Very much in the same way that you can’t teach dogs different languages but if you were to take your dog on holiday, the sound similarities between translated words may make it behave differently for one word over another.
- Tails are for wagging and chasing
If you’ve ever seen a dog behave in a strange way, you will notice one thing, the tail going like the clappers. This is not uncommon as it is a sign of emotion and muscles working in unison. But did you know this? When dogs chase their own tail they are doing this to flatten any area around them, mainly grassy areas to make a comfortable sleeping spot.
It looks like you can teach an old dog new tricks after all, we hope you liked our ‘5 things you didn’t know about your dog’ piece. If you have anything you think we didn’t know, then why not drop us a message or comment.
Shredded carpet, scratch marks on the leather sofa, claw marks down the wallpaper. As a cat owner, the chances are you have encountered at least one of these situations in the past. Whilst this probably drives you crazy, the last thing you want to do is to deter your cat from scratching. The important thing is to understand why your cat scratches and what you can do to encourage them to use an appropriate scratching outlet such as a scratching post.
Scratching is second nature to cats and is an essential part of everyday life. It serves a number of purposes that we as humans may not be aware of. Primarily, cats scratch to condition their claws. Scratching helps remove the outer sheath of the claw to expose the new sharper claw. In addition to this cats also scratch as a form of exercise, stress relief and as a way of marking out their territory.
Now you have a brief insight into why cats scratch, what can you do to make sure they don’t scratch your furniture? The simple solution is to get a scratching post or a similar scratching product. When choosing a scratching post make sure it is tall enough and strong enough for your cat to be able to stretch out and have a good scratch without it toppling over. This is where cat towers and climbers become very useful! If your cat has a particular liking for carpet or wallpaper then a scratch pad maybe the solution for you as they can be placed on the floor or securely attached to a wall.
If you purchase a scratching post make sure you think carefully about where you put it. Keep the post in an area where your cat spends a lot of time as when they feel like a scratch they usually head for the nearest object. If they prefer to scratch a particular item of furniture or a certain area of wallpaper, then place the post in this area. It is advisable to buy multiple posts if your cat has several preferred scratching locations.
If your cat seems disinterested then try and encourage them to check it out by using catnip or by placing treats nearby.
If you are a cat owner, you know well enough the unique effect this particular product has on your animals. Catnip has proven to be an alluring, near irresistible attractor for cats, and yet pet owners often have no idea what this mysterious, potent concoction actually is! On an equally important note, the question must also be asked: why do cats enjoy catnip as much as they do? Here are a few interesting research notes which may be prove to be helpful in this investigation.
The first inquiries into the quasi-magical powers of catnip began with the Etruscans, who noticed that a particular weed, Nepeta Cataria, was capable of a number of surprising results, including the treatment of various skin ailments, colds and fevers. Soon enough, individuals began to notice that Nepeta Cataria also stimulated their domestic cats in a very unique fashion.
Nepeta Cataria, also known as catnip, can be found across southern and eastern Europe, as well as the Middle East, central Asia, and certain locations in China. Its relative abundance have allowed this product to be market across the world at large. On a fundamental level, the chief explanation as to why catnip serves as such a powerful stimulant for cats is due to the fact that the weed emits a strong scent that closely mirrors that of cat’s sex pheromones Because of this, cats who come across catnip are often completely overtaken by its presence. Pet owners who provide their cats with catnip should not be surprised if their pets suddenly seem overtly ‘physical’ with the item in question. Common behaviours including rubbing against the catnip-laden item or licking/chewing it. The effects of catnip often last for approximately 20 minutes. Therefore, catnip is often considered to have a ‘short-term’ effect on animals that have been exposed to it.
Although Nepeta Cataria is now commonly referred to as “Catnip”, at one time this weed was also labelled “Cat mint” due in large part to the fact that many individuals consider the smell of this plant a close match to mint.
Pet owners should take note, however, that catnip can be used in excess. Cats who have been exposed to excessive levels of catnip may appear confused, groggy or begin uncontrollably drooling. Although these effects are largely temporary, those who do notice these behaviours in their animals are advised to reduce the presence of catnip in their residence in order to ensure that their animals behaves normally in the future.
Catnip has not always been solely a luxury for animals. In fact, it was not uncommon for catnip to be incorporated into various condiments throughout European kitchens many years ago. Humans, too, enjoyed the unique aroma of this weed. Catnip has also been found to be a natural repellant against various common pests, including mosquitos, termites, fleas and cockroaches, among others.
Ultimately, catnip should be considered a fun diversion for your pets. There is little to no harm that this weed can cause your animals, and should therefore be used at the discretion of the pet owner. Those who may be tempted to worry that their cat has been overexposed to catnip can take comfort in the fact that no lasting health effects have been observed in animals that have been repeatedly exposed to catnip.
As an interesting side note, it is also worth mentioning that catnip is considering an excellent bee-foraging plant and is, therefore, often incorporated into public gardens and other large open spaces. With all of these ideas in mind, it seems reasonable to declare that the benefits of catnip far outweigh any critiques some may have of this naturally occurring “guilty pleasure” for cats. We hope your pets enjoy it!
Cats, would you believe it, sleep a lot. You probably already knew that if you are a veteran cat owner, but to some, the amount of hours a cat sleeps during a day can startle even the most avid cat lover.
On average, a cat sleeps up to sixteen hours a day. Yes, sixteen. Put another way, in the average life span of a cat (fifteen years), a cat will sleep for ten of those years.
There are lots of reasons as to why cats sleep so much. These are mainly;
- Genetics. Cats would spend a lot of time hunting a gathering prey using up all of their energy, so it is only natural that they sleep so much. Of course, in a home environment, there is no need to use up that energy, but the genetics remain the same.
- Nature. Cats are very light sleepers, spending most of their lives in light sleep, once again caused by an evolutionary tale of being alert against larger predators.
- Boredom. Cats, like humans can get very bored. Boredom in the animal kingdom can lead to prolonged hours of sleep. If you can keep your cat regularly exercised and entertained with toys and games, this will cut down the amount of hours a cat sleeps.
- Diet. Have you noticed how much food they eat and what kind of food it is? Full of nutrients and protein from meats and fish, cats are the carnivore kings of the animal world. If they don’t have a balanced diet, this will lead to longer hours of cat sleep time.
- Time of day. Cats are crepuscular which means that they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. They tend to lay low in the darker night-time and day-time hours, when other predators may be hanging about.
So what can you do to help your cat get the best possible sleep and ensure that they are getting enough exercise to fill their day?
- Give them plenty of exercise. Unlike dogs, cats are a lot harder to walk, but activities which involve climbing, scratching, chasing items and general play will help keep their activity high levels high during the day.
- Feed your cat before bed time. A warm meal isn’t only good for humans, but for your cat as well, it helps relax them and automatically helps their body clock adjust to sleep time.
- Give them attention. A few minutes of gently stroking before bed time will help set them off for the evening.
- Set a time. If humans have a regular bed time, so do cats. Keep a regular time for bed set, this will help your cat sleep through the night.
- Set a good environment. Make sure that the room is quiet; that their cat bed is in a warm well ventilated area. Turn down the lights and cut out noises. Remember, your cat sleeps on average for sixteen hours a day, so if the environment isn’t distracting they will rest comfortably.
- Give them a comfortable sleeping area. Cat’s seek the warmth, even in summer, so a comfortable and warm environment is ideal. Our Cleo Pet radiator and Duffle Beds are ideal solutions.
These are of course just some general sleep facts about a typical cat sleeping behaviour and should help with abnormal sleeping patterns or behaviours. If you notice any changes in their sleeping behaviour, whether it is more or less than they should be getting, then contact your local vet and get them in for a regular check up.