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Enrichment For Cats

Posted In: Behavior & Training, Feline Health & Wellness

Cats can be more independent than dogs, but they still need us to provide plenty of mental and physical activities to keep them happy and healthy. Cats who are bored or who are not able to fully exercise their bodies and minds are at risk of aggression, depression, or anxiety. Most often this leads to biting, scratching, over-grooming, isolation, or fighting with other cats in the house.

Providing enrichment to our cats’ lives is important, so here are some easy ways you can do that:

Make Meals Fun
Cats are natural hunters. Rather than dishing out daily meals, try making mealtime fun by using a food puzzle. You can find these at any pet supply store or you can even make them at home. The puzzles challenge your cat to work for food and can be a fun way to get your cat to eat slower, rather than scarfing down all the food at once.

Look Up
Cats love to climb. That’s why you will often find them on the counters, on top of the refrigerator, or on the highest place they can find. Consider purchasing a cat tree (bonus if you get one that has scratching posts!) or shelves that hang high on your wall. Here is an example of cat shelves found on Amazon. They don’t have to be fancy, and you could even make them yourself!

Don’t Forget the Toys
Cats find the strangest things fun, and it’s often something just lying around the house like milk rings, balled up aluminum foil, or craft pipe cleaners. But, they also really enjoy interactive toys, especially if you play together. Maybe it’s a toy on the end of a pole or a wind up mouse. Whatever your cat enjoys, be sure to let her play! Keep a few toys out at a time and put the rest out of her sight. Rotate the toys often so there is always something new for her to play with.

Give ‘Em Something to See
Place a bird feeder outside of a window so your cat can bird-watch, or find a DVD made for cats. These are great ways to keep your cat entertained especially when you aren’t home. There are also fun apps and websites just for cats.

Have you implemented enrichment activities in your cat’s life? We’d love to hear about it! Share your ideas and tell us what your cat enjoys the most.

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at two locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.