10 Best Ways to Enrich your Cat's life

Published: March 12, 2015

The ancestors of your cat lead busy and complex lives. Today, the only things our indoor predators have to kill is time. Providing enrichment for your cat is one of the easiest best ways relieve negative behaviors and bond with your pet.

Check out this list to get you started. 

  1. Training

    Training your cat can give them a great mental workout. Just like dogs, cats can learn a number of useful behaviors and fun tricks, like sit, come when called and shake. Only use positive reinforcement to train your cat.

  2. Outside Time

    Leading and indoor-only life is the best way to provide your cat a safe, healthy and long life. Supervised outdoor activities, however, is a great way to give your cat a taste of the outside world.

    To be safe, make sure your cat always wears ID tags on her collar when outside. Check with your Veterinarian to make sure your pet has the appropriate vaccinations and parasite preventatives for your area. 

    Suggestions: 

    -Build an enclosed outdoor area where your cat can spend time when the weather is nice.

    -Try creating a window perch where your cat can easily sit and look out the window.

    -Teach your cat to walk on a leash with a harness. Going on leashed walks is a safe way to take your indoor cat on outdoor adventure. 

     

  3. Fun with Food

    Force your cat to work for her food, by using interactive toys. Try stuffing a paper towel role with crumpled paper and your cat's food. 

    Provide several small meals per day rather than one or two large meals and avoid “free feeding”. If your schedule doesn’t permit giving multiple meals, you can purchase a feeder with a built-in timer, designed to open according to a preset schedule.

  4. Window of Wonder

    Cats love to watch birds, squirrels and other small animals. Position bird and squirrel feeders outside windows where your cat can observe animals coming and going during the day. If you live in an apartment, you can attach bird feeders directly to the outside of your windows.

  5. Improve your Habitat

    Provide objects for your cat to explore. Short of a magnificent cat tree, items such as cardboard boxes and paper shopping bags encourage your to investigate their surroundings. DIY Cat trees and shelves have become very popular.

  6. Physical Contact

    We all crave it. Spend time each day petting or brushing your cat. 

  7. Cat Garden

    Plant a small container with cat grass and catnip. Let it grow, then allow your pet to spend time rubbing and chewing on your cat crops.

  8. Water

    It's a myth that all cats hate water. Give your cat some variety and encourage her to drink using a comercially available cat fountian. Simillarly, a dripping water tap can provide hours of fun!

    Get a fish! An aquarium with real fish or even a bowl of fake fish that move around can fascinate your cat too. 

  9. Cat TV

    Some cats appreciate the commercially available “cat videos.” The most popular ones contain close-ups of birds and small rodents. Many cats can watch the same videotape for hours each day, tracking the animals’ movements, growling or chirruping and swatting at the screen. 

    You can also download Apps on your ipad or phone to engage your pet. 

  10. Toys! Toys! Toys!

    Provide a variety of toys for your cat. Some cats prefer toys that they can throw around themselves. Other cats prefer toys that require owner participation, such as those you wiggle and dangle. Stimulating play for a cat involves opportunities to “hunt,” so move toys in such a way that they mimic the movements of a rodent or bird. 

    Make sure to rotate the doys so your cat doesn't get bored. Try makeing your own toys and sharing with your friends!  

A boring environment can contribute to problems such as destructive behavior, intercat aggression, depression and anxiety. Under-stimulated cats are at risk of developing boredom-related or stress-relieving behaviors such as over-grooming, chewing inappropriate items, picking on companion pets, retreating into isolation, over-eating, self-mutilation, compulsive behavior and loss of appetite.

Try just a few of these activities to help you and your cat live a better life.