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Cats are certainly safer when living inside, protected from the many dangers posed by our urban environment. However, if kitties don’t have enough stimulation, the resulting stress and boredom can quickly turn into destructive or compulsive behaviour. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your feline friend’s indoor space exciting, entertaining, and full of opportunities to do the ‘real cat’ things they crave! The bonus of creating engaging cat enrichment experiences is your own chance to get creative, crafty and playful – brainstorming and implementing enrichment can be surprisingly fun.

Enrichment toy for cats with feathers.Support Natural Cat Behaviour 

One important purpose that enrichment serves is offering cats the chance to use all of their ingrained feline skills. Items and activities that engage all of their senses (smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch) and mimic situations they might encounter ‘in the wild’ are usually the most rewarding.

Toys that move in a hopping, wiggling, or fluttering fashion, or that can be made to move while hidden under a towel or blanket, resemble prey items cats are inclined to hunt. Many cats prefer perch shelves that are set higher up on walls, or tall cat trees, to have a safe place to survey their territory (and to use their gymnastic skills to reach their chosen spot!). Treats hidden inside crumpled paper bags make an auditory and olfactory challenge, while a variety of scratching surfaces – corrugated cardboard, carpet, jute, even bark – can offer interesting ways to indulge their need to scratch.

Balance Comfort and Novelty

While variety is the spice of life, the comfortable and familiar is always reassuring. When providing enrichment options for your kitty, be sure to trade out elements regularly – ideally before they start to lose their appeal. Popular enrichment items can always make a comeback tour in a few weeks! However, too much change too quickly can be unsettling, so it’s important to keep your cat’s home environment feeling safe and comfy. Offering something new alongside a familiar favourite can be a nice way to give your cat the novelty of choice paired with a solid play option. A good variety of treats and cat enrichment toys can be found at myvetstore.ca.

Cat hiding in a paper bag as an enrichment toy.Consider Safety and Unique Personalities

Equally important when coming up with new cat enrichment offerings are safety considerations. It’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on your cat when they are interacting with something new, just to make sure nothing unexpected happens that could cause injury. Anything that is meant to be jumped on or to support your cat’s weight should be firmly attached and braced, and checked regularly to make sure nothing has become loose or wobbly.

It also goes without saying that your cat is one of a kind. This means that of course they will have personal preferences about what kinds of enrichment they like best, and how they like to use particular items. By keeping a close eye on what appeals to them, when they’re most engaged during the day, and when they need a break, you will be able to provide the best experience for your unique cat.

Cat resting on a high shelf inside.Include ‘Rest Zones’

Speaking of breaks, a final element of a supportive, enriched home environment is no enrichment! Or rather, it’s including peaceful places for your cat to rest and relax away from any hustle and bustle. Avoid the stress of overstimulation by building in breaks from intense play, and have a room or space available at all times where your cat feels safe to curl up undisturbed. The proverbial catnap is a key component of kitty life, after all!

The Enrichment Journey

If you’re just getting started on your cat enrichment journey, start small! There’s no need for a full home renovation or major shopping trip. Trying one small element or activity at a time can make a big difference in your cat’s quality of life, and help you learn what your cat enjoys most. Once you start thinking about ways to make home life more interesting, you’ll likely find there’s no limit on what you can come up with. Keeping a list of what you’ve tried, what worked well and what didn’t hold as much interest, is a great way to keep the inspiration flowing.

If you’re interested in more cat enrichment ideas, check out our ‘Enrichment Feeders for Cats‘ post – it’s chock-full of options for making mealtime interesting and satisfying for your feline friend!