Keeping Indoor Cats Happy

THU APR 7 2016

Without enrichment, indoor cats may become bored or frustrated, this can manifest as reduced interest in food or interactions, aggressive behaviour, over grooming or house soiling. There are four main ways that you can enrich your cat's environment to keep them happy and healthy.

Food Enrichment

Your cat's wild ancestors would have had to use their wits and agility to hunt and catch food to eat. It is hardly surprising then that feeding her day in and day out from the same bowl in the same place could lead to boredom. Overcome this by making her work for her food, treat dispensing toys like the Kong Wobbler or Catit Senses Food Maze will keep your cat motivated and engaged at feeding time. Another form of food enrichment is to provide variation in textures, feed your cat the occasional chewy treat or cat grass to give her an opportunity to satisfy her chewing urges.

Smell Enrichment

Stimulating your cat's senses with new or novel scents is a great way to enrich her environment. Outdoor cats would encounter new smells on a daily basis, 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.

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 that she doesn't get bored, even changing colours or textures can make a big difference. Refresh catnip toys with fresh catnip stuffing or catnip spray to keep them interested.

Hiding & Resting Places

Build on your cat's natural instincts to climb up onto high shelves or into cardboard boxes by providing them with hiding places in each of their favourite rooms. Igloo or pod type beds are a great way to give your feline friend a snuggly little hidey-hole. You can also increase your cat's climbing options by installing a Smart Cat Sky Climber.

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.

Posted by Dr Teagan Lever

When Teagan's not busy sharing her knowledge of all things pets as Pet Circle's resident vet, she is the human companion of two intense English staffies and a three-legged cat named Steve.

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