Cats are predators, made for a life of action. As more and more cat owners opt for keeping their cats securely indoors, cat behaviorists are seeing a new cause for behavior problems: boredom. Many cats simply do not get enough stimulation in their secure indoor environments. That can lead to a myriad of behavior problems or simply to a bored, sleepy, and often overweight feline.
The right amount of stimulation is essential for our cat’s physical and mental well-being. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can enrich your cats’ lives. Here are ten awesome ways for you to provide environmental enrichment for cats.
1. A Cat Enclosure
A cat enclosure is a great way to let your cat enjoy the atmosphere of the great outdoors while keeping her safe. You can read more about cat enclosures here, and get some inspiration for building your own here.
2. A window sill shelf
A window sill shelf is probably a more viable option if you live in an apartment. Even if you have no access to a backyard, and thus can’t build an enclosure, you can still place a cat shelf right next to a properly screened and secured window, allowing your cat a safe place from which to look out and check out the street.
3. Cat Furniture
Speaking of shelves, the more cat furniture you can put up for your cat, the better. Whether you call them cat trees, cat gyms or cat condos, providing your cat with solid and stable places to climb and perch on, will add more space to her territory and more places to explore. Read this to learn how to choose the right piece of cat furniture for your cats. And here’s some more information about using vertical space to make your home feel larger for your cat.
4. Cat Toys
Cat toys are a great weapon in your fight against kitty boredom! Try a variety of toys, to see which ones your cat prefers. Keep the toy collection out of reach, and provide your cat with only 2-3 toys at a time, rotating them every few days. Read more about cat play and cat toys here. Don’t just think about cat balls and fake mice here, try interactive toys such as the Smartcat Peek A Prize Pet Toy Box.
Catnip can be a great way to spice up kitty’s day. Try it with your cat to see if he or she reacts to catnip, as not all cats do. If catnip works for your cat, you can use it in toys or just sprinkled around in a nice little heap, once in awhile. If catnip doesn’t work for your cat, you may want to try honeysuckle instead.
6. Interactive playtime
Interactive play is a great way to relieve kitty boredom while strengthening that special bond between you and your cat.
Try fishing rod type toys such as Da Bird Cat Toy, where you can simulate a hunting scene, by moving the object around as if it were a mouse or a bird. Make sure your hands do not come into contact with the cat during those games, as cats will naturally be aggressive towards prey.
7. Feeding with a Twist
Work-For-Treats type toys can be a great option for some cats. Instead of just giving out treats to your cat, leave them in a toy such as the Play N Treat Treat Ball, with some dry kibble treats inside. The extra play and work will keep Kitty entertained and happy while you’re away.
8. Send your cat to the movies.
Or rather, try letting Kitty watch nature-show DVD’s produced especially for cats, such as the Petqwerks Kitty Movie Entertainment Dvd. Not every cat responds to recorded shows, but some do find them fascinating, so it could be worth a try.
9. Take Kitty For a Walk
Depending on your cat’s character and your neighborhood, you may consider training your cat to walk on a leash for some joint outdoors excursion. This solution is not for every cat, and the training process can take a while, but some owners and cats find it a good arrangements and there’s nothing quite like a supervised walk outside. Read more about how to teach your cat to walk wearing a harness and leash.
10. A Feline Friend
Lastly, if you’re worried about leaving your cat alone for long hours, consider getting him or her a feline playmate. Obviously, there are more aspects to be considered when it comes to the decision of whether or not to adopt a second cat.
Not all cats benefit from having another cat introduced into their lives, and you could be looking at a long and demanding introduction process. Usually, this is a better solution with kittens or younger cats, but it could also enhance the life quality of some older, more sociable cats.
Considering a second cat? Take a look at our guide: Your Second Cat: How To Choose The Best Friend For Kitty.
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