Lately we have been hearing the term “Feline Enrichment”. This term is usually used to describe the need to improve the environment of an indoor cat.
Do you have an outdoor only cat? Do you have an indoor / outdoor cat? If yes to both of these does that mean you can stop reading this blog?? NO!!! No, you must read on because we have some great information to share and hope once you read it you will share this information and tell other cat owners just how great we are and of course we want them to know how to have a happier cat in their life too.
Most indoor cats can become a bit sedentary. Did you know that 58% of cats in the U.S. are overweight? True, they are! Do you know how they get this way? They don’t have to hunt for their food any more. Cats are natural born hunters. They love to hunt, frolic, run, jump, leap, stretch, climb, chase, and sleep. In the wild your sweet, loving house cat would hunt several times a day, some research states over 10 times a day. That means small meals that your cat has to work for each day. That is how they stay so lean.
Our indoor cat’s today, like mine, have me bring them their canned cat food of their flavor selection twice a day. They demand I do this before I even get to eat. They also demand some dry crunchy food in between their two main meals. Cats like to snack in between meals too.
Oh and my cat’s also demand flowing water. My cats share their home with me and it is 2 floors so they have requested a water fountain for each floor with a carbon filter. They love their fountains. In the wild your cat’s and mine would find running water to drink. It is more appealing to them than a bowl of stagnant water. So find a great water fountain for your cat to drink out of such as one of the many options from http://www.petfountain.com//. Cats do not drink enough water, just like many of us humans so we want to encourage more water consumption and a fountain with flowing water is a great way to do that.
My guess is your house is one of two kinds. The first kind is like mine with set feeding times and then some snacks. The other type is called free feeding. This is where food is left out all day for you cat to eat from when their hunger strikes. Neither one sounds much like hunting to me, does it to you?
To make feeding you kitty part of your Feline Enrichment lifestyle you should hide their food around the house in small stashes for them to seek out. You can even take their kibble and toss it like a game for them to go and hunt. We know this can be a challenge but you can give it a try. If you are a set timed feeder like myself or a free feeder you can cut back the amount of food. Then set aside time to “play feed” your kitty. You can try stashing just a small amount of food around or taking a small amount of food for set play time feeding.
Cats love to climb. They really do and offering them some place to go up vertically is important. Even the smallest of homes can get super creative. You can buy a cat tree, the kind of special cat furniture at pet stores that has carpet and sisal rope on them for the cats to climb up and down. You could do a custom shelving unit that is attached to your wall. They have tons of ideas on Pinterest. You just need to think more like your cat and have fun with it.
Toys, oh cats can make a toy out of anything, that is the best part. Cats just want to hunt again so think of fun toys like laser points (do not use this with your dog ever please call us to find out why if you have questions). Cat teaser toys are the ones that have a stick type of handle for you to hold and a feather end for them to catch or a toy on the end for them to catch. Again this is all interactive play with your cat that is wonderful exercise. You can even get up off the couch to do it to have some movement yourself. They want you to play with them and interact with them.
Other ways to provide feline enrichment are to have a safe spot for your cat. Cats like to hide in things such as boxes, bags, and cabinets. Sometimes it is best to try and give them a spot other than the new Amazon box that is sitting on the kitchen table. So see where your cat likes to nap and get them a nice box, bed, or cat specific crinkle bag bed and put it in that area.
Even knowing how your cat prefers to “sharpen their claws” is important. Some cats like to scratch vertically and some like to scratch horizontally. So watch your kitty and see how they are scratching and buy them the appropriate scratcher.
The term Feline Enrichment is all about interacting with your cat and making sure your home is a place of fun and entertainment for them and you.