The Fortified Feline: A Quick Guide to Cat Enrichment

cat exercise

Cats have predatory natures. They need to survey their territory and ambush interlopers, and they thrive when acting upon their innate feline behaviors.

Unfortunately, many indoor-only cats succumb to a sort of humdrum existence that involves little else besides eating, sleeping, and grooming. Improve your pet’s quality of life with these ideas for cat enrichment at home.

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Indoor-outdoor cats may have more opportunities to climb, stalk, pounce, and frolic than indoor-only pets, but allowing cats to roam increases their risk of accidental injury, illness, or death. However, while indoor-only cats may lead longer, safer lives, they may not always have their needs fulfilled.

Scratching Post and Beyond

Providing an appropriate place for your cat to scratch is an excellent start. They relish the chance to stretch their back, legs, and paws while sharpening their claws. The next step is to consider building or installing a cat tree for them to climb, hide, chase, and nap in relative privacy. You can also add other elements, including feather teasers, toy mice, and sisal posts.

If you have a lot of wall space, consider climbing shelves, bridges, and more. Get creative, just make sure everything is safe and secure for your cat to get rowdy!

The Best Thing Ever

While every cat is unique and has their own likes and dislikes, nearly all cats need play time (aim for 30 minutes each day). This is important for their physical well-being, and mental stimulation is key to their happiness.

Choose toys that stimulate your cat’s predatory prowess (like laser pointers or catnip-filled mice), and offer a reward at the end of your play session.

Cat Enrichment

Indoor-only cats may chirp endlessly at birds or meow at the backdoor to be let out. It can feel harsh keeping them inside when they so clearly want the best of both worlds, so why not build your pet a catio (cat patio)? Designed to allow your cat access to fresh air and sunshine, a catio is a great compromise between safety and outdoor enrichment.

Check out these plans for inspiration. You can even build off a ground floor window, so letting your cat “outside” is quick and easy. Fill your creation with cat-safe plants, bedding, perches, and scratchers. Don’t forget to provide fresh water.

In case of accidental escape, make sure to microchip your cat and keep them up-to-date on all vaccinations and parasite prevention.

At Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center, we care about your cat’s physical health and mental wellness. If you have any questions or concerns about cat enrichment, please let us know.