Preventing Boredom in Indoor Cats
The indoor lifestyle is great for cats. It keeps them safe and protected from cars, predators, fighting, parasites, and disease, and it also keeps their sneaky little paws away from your neighborhood wildlife. However, while the indoor life has its benefits, indoor cats are at risk of becoming bored or frustrated if they have inadequate enrichment.
Boredom in cats can lead to issues such as house soiling or spraying, overgrooming, reduced appetite, disinterest in interaction, and aggression.
Thankfully there are many ways to enrich your cat's indoor life.
1. Food Enrichment
Explorative Feeding - Food bowl? How boring! Your cat's wild ancestors needed to use their wits to hunt and catch food. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that feeding your cat day in and day out from the same bowl in the same place could lead to boredom. You can overcome this by making them work for their food, by hiding kibble around the house. Explorative feeding is a great way to keep them occupied when they are home alone
Mix up the textures - Another form of food enrichment is to provide a variation in textures. Provide a variety of wet and dry food, swapping it up at regular intervals to keep your kitty guessing. You might also like to treat your cat to the occasional chewy treat or cat grass to satisfy their chewing urges.
2. Smell Enrichment
Stimulating your cat's senses with new or novel scents is a great way to enrich their environment. Outdoor cats would encounter new smells on a daily basis; so some potential ways you can replicate this for your indoor cat include using catnip around the house, growing some cat grass or using a feliway diffuser or spray.
3. Simulate Hunting and Play
On average, an outdoor cat spends about three and a half hours every day hunting. To replicate this for your indoor cat there is one answer - toys! There are a variety of different toys for cats and different play types that come with them. For ideas on how to play with your cat, have a look at Games You Can Play With Your Cat.
Rotate your cat's toys every day or so to stop them getting bored. You can even change up colours or textures to keep things interesting. Refresh catnip toys with fresh catnip stuffing or catnip spray to keep them interested.
4. Hiding & Resting Places
It's all about the levels. Encourage and nurture your cat's natural instincts to climb up onto high shelves or into cardboard boxes by providing them with extra levels. Cat Furniture is an easy way to achieve this. Cat trees often provide a variety levels as well as bonus scratching surfaces.
Keeping your cat inside is a great way to keep her safe from injury and illness, but it is important to make sure her needs to display normal cat behaviours are met. By providing environmental enrichment you can keep your indoor cat happy, healthy and content.
Dr Carla is one of our resident veterinarians. With experience in general veterinary practices, Carla has a special passion for pet nutrition, feline medicine, and exotic pets. When she isn't talking pet care at Pet Circle, she enjoys plays mum to one very smoochy, cross-eyed ragdoll cat named Smudge.
Carla suggests to read:
How to catify your apartment ▶
Choosing the perfect cat furniture ▶
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