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Enriching your cat’s indoor life

The quality of your cats life when it’s indoors (this article is especially important if your cat is spending a lot of time indoors) will depend on the degree to which you give it the opportunity to engage in its natural behaviour. Cats with too little, or actually just the wrong things, to do can develop behaviour problems which include lethargy.

So, if during unsettled times of increased isolation and social distancing, your cat is showing increased signs of aggression or lethargy, fur pulling, spraying, overeating or is just being more destructive than normal… Then here are a few suggestions on how to enrich the indoor environment.

Play with your cat

Given the average cat likes to work off their predatory instincts in play and given you might have a bit more time on your hands right now, why not just play with your cat more. Cats prefer games with humans to playing on their own (although Kiwi wasn’t a fan of the jigsaw) and cats that are played with are much less likely to have behaviour problems.  Also, cats might even prefer you played with them than cuddled them.  We’re not saying don’t cuddle them but if that’s all you do then why not mix it up a bit.  Give it a try & let us know.

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Get scratching posts

Did you know that one scratching post might not be enough? Why not put a few about the house.  Mix rope covered posts with cardboard ones and make at least one high enough for the cat to scratch at full height.  Encourage initial use by spraying them with catnip. Here’s Florence enjoying her tower of superior scratchiness!

Make food fun

Make your mog work for its food and encourage natural behaviour by offering food little, often and in different locations. You can hygienically secrete dry food, but if your cat has wet food, simply try feeding it in different places or place its food in the compartments of an ice cube tray. Pippin is testing his brain power to work out his puzzle feeder; another exciting feeding tool. 

Don’t forget to make sure your cat has a good supply of clean water at all times when indoors.

Facilitate window watching

Cats generally love sitting in windowsills (especially warm ones) and watching the world go by.  This is an especially good idea if you live in a relatively small space but with lots going on outside. O’Malley prefers a really big window so he can watch over all of his ‘kingdom’ with his Dad!

Go high & hide

Cats, like Sophie here, love looking down on us (their prey) and looking out on us from safe places. So, create resting areas at various heights around the house. Make access (and egress) easier by avoiding shiny surfaces and drops of too much over 1m.   Cats also like to hide, particularly at times when they are faced by a house full of people 24/7. So, if they don’t already have a refuge why not pop a few cardboard boxes, with holes cut in them, around the place.

Introduce various toys

The five suggestions above are the effective, cheaper and ‘always on’ options.  You can introduce more variety by making or buying toys.  Toys needn’t be an expensive option, and if you change them regularly, you’ll keep your puss properly pleased.  

Scrunched up paper balls, the inside of old loo rolls or even used wine bottle corks on a bit of string are a good start (Elsa’s favourite). Try ping pong balls, hang up pieces of old rope or go wild and home make some stuffed mice filled with catnip.  Whatever you provide, do make sure it’s safe and swap the toys regularly to maintain interest.

So there we go, our Covid-19 guide to keeping your cat engaged and enriched.  We’d love to hear how you get on and any top tips that you have found work well so, as we said above, please do…

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If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health, you can give our friendly team a call on 01909 472059 throughout the current situation.