Indoor Cats: The Importance of Environmental Enrichment
Topics | Indoor Cats
Posted | April 15, 2019
Domestic cats are interesting animals. There are very few other creatures that
are both predator and prey in the natural world, and this dual role makes
housing a cat in your home a little tricky - but also very entertaining
Why Environmental Enrichment is Important for Indoor Cats
Feral cats and domesticated outdoor cats spend much of their time each day
hunting for food and exploring their ever-changing environments. These
activities are both physically and emotionally stimulating, engaging all
five of the cat's senses.
Though there are numerous reasons to keep cats predominantly or exclusively
inside the house (communicable diseases, parasites and physical harm, just
to name a few), we must consider how to satisfy their instinctual needs for
environmental stimulation and hunting behavior.
If these innate needs are not addressed, many behavioral issues - such as
excessive grooming and destructive behaviors - can arise. Cats who do not
receive enough stimulation and exercise are also more prone to obesity
and other health concerns.
When implementing an enrichment program to your cat's indoor environment,
remember to change things up regularly. This can mean rotating toys or
simply changing the location of food, treats or stationary toys to keep
your cat on their toes. Below are a few ideas to help get you started
with you cat's enrichment routine.
10 Ways to Keep Indoor Cats Entertained
- 1. Provide a large stuffed animal (at least
half the size of your cat) for your cat to attack.
- 2. Cut holes in a cardboard box and hide toys or treats inside for
your cat to find.
- 3. A large paper bag (such as a grocery bag) makes a crinkly noise
that will ignite your cat's curiosity, and can be fun for pouncing
on or exploring inside.
- 4. Purchase a batting toy, or make one by securely attaching a toy to
the end of a stick using some string. Batting toys can be held by you
or hung from something for independent play.
- 5. Use a Kong, feeding cube or similar system to enrich your cat's
feeding time, allowing them to forage for their food.
- 6. Provide cat grass for your cat to graze upon.
- 7. Provide shelves or climbing areas for your cat, as they tend to
enjoy being up high.
- 8. Pull back the curtains or blinds so your cat can gaze out the window
at the outside world. Plants, humans, birds and other animals passing by
will keep them entertained for hours.
- 9. Turn on the TV to a channel or show with lots of animal imagery. Your
cat will be fascinated by the animals moving across the screen. There are even
channels especially for cats!
- 10. Your cat's favorite form of entertainment is playtime with you! This
is the perfect time to break out a special or new toy.
Get creative with household items - just make sure that they are safe
and free of loose items that your cat may accidentally swallow!
Starting fresh with a kitten? Check out our
for more information. Don't forget, many of our locations offer
provide environmental enrichment for cats
. Stop by to shop!