WHAT IS ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT FOR CATS?
Enrichment describes cats being able to utilize their intelligence indoors to be able to stay healthy, active, and to avoid developing any stress induced illness. Cats need to have appropriate areas to scratch, to hide, to sleep and to play!
Enrichment for a cat includes their feeding and drinking areas being appropriate, having the right amount of litterboxes for the amount of cats in the household, and having a variety of scratching areas (besides your couch!).
WHY IS ENRICHMENT IMPORTANT?
Cats need to be mentally stimulated, and if they’re not, they could potentially be more prone to stress induced diseases, such as obesity or developing forms of aggression. Enrichment in their living environment allows for good mental health as well as recreational opportunities for your kitten.
WHAT KIND OF FEEDING AND DRINKING AREAS ARE APPROPRIATE FOR CATS?
Multi-cat households should have individual areas for each to be able to eat without being disturbed from another cat. If your cat enjoys food to the point where it takes them less than a minute to eat their dinner, food puzzles can be used to have your cat “work” for its food, as well as an opportunity for them to forage for their food. There are also indoor feeders that utilize cat’s innate desire to hunt. Doc and Phoebe’s has small fillable mice that you can hide throughout your house. Your cat’s job is to seek out the mice and be able to hunt, find, and reveal the dry food hidden inside!
Water fountains are a great way to not only promote hydration to cats, who are notoriously bad water drinkers, but it also gives them some mental stimulation with the flowing water.
SCRATCHING POSTS, WHICH WORKS BEST?
All cats are individuals with their own personalities. It’s important to have a variety of scratching posts available to your cat so you can determine what works best for them! Some prefer vertical, carpet like surfaces, while others might enjoy horizontal cardboard scratching areas. Not only does this help your cat reduce its stress level, but it can also save your furniture from unwanted scratching. Visit our blog to learn more about a great product called Feliscratch to help redirect your cat with their scratching: https://loyal-companions.com/feliscratch-helping-to-redirect-your-cat/
PLAY SESSIONS GALORE!
Setting up play sessions for your cat is essential for them to get physical exercise, as well as social bonding with you! The use of a simple feather toy gives them physical exercise which is imperative for our sleepy, indoor cats. Being active keeps them young and can also help to avoid common illnesses that cats can develop from a sedentary lifestyle.
WHAT ABOUT CAT TREES?
Having a cat tree (or two) in your house for your feline friend provides them with the ability to climb, while also having the option to hide or sleep during the day. Window perches are also a good way to give your cat more vertical areas to explore in the house. Having more areas for them to explore that are appropriate for them will ideally keep them off of the surfaces where they shouldn’t be. Hiding spots for your cat are also necessary for them to be able to be comfortable in their house.
WHAT’S THE RULE OF THUMB FOR THE NUMBER OF LITTERBOXES IN THE HOUSE?
For multi-cat households, our rule of thumb for litterboxes is to have one litterbox for each cat but then to add one. For one cat households, it would still be recommended to have at least two litterboxes. We also recommend having multiple kinds of litterboxes available and having them be on different levels of your home. This gives your feline choices depending on where they physically are in your house, as well as having the option between a litterbox with a lid or one that’s covered. Clumping litter is our recommendation as well.