Cats are amazing and intelligent creatures. Their lifestyle reflects the predatory skills and behaviors required for hunting food in the wild. A cat day includes, among other things, the need to rest, hunt, chase, pounce, kill, play, eat, and groom. If we don’t give them an opportunity to do these things, they get bored. Boredom can lead to a variety of problems such as: B. destructive and aggressive behavior, fear and more. We all want our cats to live their best life!
What is enrichment?
Cats should have the opportunity to express their natural behavior. A fertilized environment should provide different types of scratching areas, opportunities for predatory and prey behaviors, safe spaces, and respect all of your cat’s five senses to create an environment where the animal is diverse, choosy, and in control of its daily activities.
- Provides the necessary mental and physical stimulation
- Reduces stress and boredom
- Reduces unwanted behavior
- Improves overall quality of life
Food puzzles help slow food intake, prevent boredom and obesity, and allow cats to instinctively eat by seeking and “finding” their food. There are many cat feeders that you can buy and even make yourself. Start with an easy puzzle and work your way up to more difficult puzzles based on your cat’s preferences.
- Paper Lunch Bag/Paper Bag: Put catnip or catnip-covered wild mice or candy inside. You can explore, pounce and kill (destroy the bag). It’s a great hide and seek game and a fun game at the same time.
- Tissue Paper Puzzles: Cut the tissue paper roll in half, fold the ends and cut some small to large holes, then insert them into the candy. When cats start using it more often, cut smaller holes to make it more fun for cats!
- Water Bottle Puzzles: Take the empty water bottles, remove the cap, cut some small to large holes, leave the cap open or closed to increase the difficulty of puzzles
Olfactory cues are an important part of cat communication and exploration. Cats exposed to new smells are more active and exploring. Catnip, silverfish, cat weed, safe houseplants, scented toys, and pheromones like Feliway encourage exploration and play. Putting a small amount of scent in paper toy balls, boxes, bags, etc. can provide sensory enrichment.
- Visual: Some examples of visual enrichment are interactive cat toys, bird feeders, YouTube cat videos, soap bubbles and pinwheels. Keep this in mind when playing these videos or just letting your cat watch the birds for short periods of time to avoid frustrating your cat.
- Auditory: This may include reading a story to cats, playing bird and nature sounds, and playing music specially designed for cats. (Through a cat’s ear, iCalmCat).
- Flavor: Serve a variety of candies with different flavors
- Touch: Many animals respond positively to things like petting and brushing. Along with touch comes social interaction, ensuring these social animals get the attention they need. Be sure to identify the type of touch the cat appreciates.
A great example of sensory enrichment that engages all of their senses is to place delicious treats in a ball pit for cats to feed around.
enrichment of the environment
Offers a variety of horizontal and vertical perches and hiding spots. Cats will enjoy things like window bars, scratching posts, and cat-friendly shelves. Installing secure hiding places is also essential and will allow the cats to escape if necessary. Hiding places can be boxes, tunnels, and paper bags. Cats need to scratch too, so provide different types of scratching surfaces. Scratching posts should be solid and at least a meter high so that they can stretch across the body when scratching.
All pets, including cats, benefit from positive and consistent interactions with people. Cats will experience less stress if they can choose whether or not to interact with you rather than forcing an interaction on them. If the cat seems relaxed and wants to interact, it’s best to focus on petting the head and cheeks. If your cat moves away, don’t force contact by following or holding your cat. Brushing and petting cats before bed is a good example of how you can provide them with positive, consistent, and predictable social interactions.
You can give your cat some safe time outside by building an outdoor enclosure (often called a katio) and/or walking your cat. Cats can be trained to walk or walk in a stroller.
train your cat
Another form of enrichment can be clicker training for your cat. Cats are smart and click training is a great way to mentally stimulate your cat and teach them new tricks!
Training your cat has many benefits, it builds your cat’s confidence, encourages creativity and initiative, and helps strengthen the bond between you and your cat.
There is a common misconception that cats cannot be trained and if they can be trained it is much more difficult than dogs. Both statements are wrong. When owners feel that their cats cannot be trained, they also feel that their cats’ behavior problems cannot be solved. This can often have serious consequences for cats; Including euthanasia and abdication.
Cats can be taught anything, including basic behaviors (aiming, attention), positive breeding behaviors (trimming nails, brushing teeth and handling), and fun tricks (rolling, top 5). Training can also be very effective in stopping and replacing unwanted behaviors.