Indoor cat enrichment.

When we enrich soil, we’re making steps toward improving or enhancing it. As a result, plant life can flourish. The same is true for the pets we care for. Dog owners enrich the lives of their dogs by engaging them with outdoor activities and plenty of exercise. 

The same cannot be said for owners of strictly indoor cats. To protect them from boredom, stress, and anxiety, an approach to indoor cat enrichment can make all the difference. It is also important to consider the kind of enrichment your cat might need. Enrichment for cats in apartments is very different than for those with plenty of space to run around and entertain themselves. Similarly, senior cat enrichment is much different than it is for kittens.

A Safer Life

Indoor-only cats live longer than felines allowed to wander. However, instead of calamity surrounding vehicle accidents, falls, fights with other animals, parasites, or getting lost, some indoor cats face long days with few outlets for their energy and abilities. With the right toys and layout, you can make this indoor space as fun as it is safe.

Establishing the Basics

Beyond a cat’s necessities, such as their own personal food, water, bedding, toys, and litter box, it is critical to provide them with ample opportunities to “hunt,” chase, stalk, ambush, and otherwise play in feline-centric fashion.

Feline Preferences

Indoor cat enrichment must involve an attempt to understand what drives your own special pet. Some cats prefer mice, others like birds or insects. When collecting certain toys that may inspire predatory play, please be sure that they do not present certain risks to your cat’s safety. 

Toys covered in feathers, those that make crinkly or chirping noises are usually popular with the feline set. Fake fur-covered balls, play mice, and catnip toys can also inspire play. Alternate between types of toys to get to know what your cat likes the most.

Laser pointers can be great fun for indoor cat enrichment (be careful of shining the light in their eyes!). A cat enrichment feeder provides food and fun for an indoor kitty, and is especially great if you will not be home in time to feed your cats manually.

A Word ABout Scratching

No one wants their furniture to get shredded, but without a dedicated scratching post, cats will naturally turn to the couches or armchairs in the house. With their own spots for stretching muscles, sharpening claws, shedding old cuticles, and leaving scent marks, indoor cats are much more content. 

Our tips for success include: 

  • Praising your cat whenever they use their own scratching areas. 
  • Providing both horizontal and vertical scratching areas.
  • Experimenting with various textures, like sisal, carpet and cardboard.
  • Trimming your cat’s nails regularly.
  • Getting a cat enrichment wall that can be used for scratching needs.

The Highest Perch

Cats feel most at ease when they are elevated off the floor. Some cat owners install cat walkways near ceilings complete with bridges, hammocks, and loads of perches. These vantage points give them security, but also aid their understanding of what’s going on in the household. 

Customized window perches give cats the advantage of peering out at the world while safely remaining inside. Be sure that screens are properly installed and don’t pose a safety risk.

Indoor Cat Enrichment Is Fun!

Sometimes, cats need a little more help. If you think your cat would benefit from a pet behavioral consultation, please let us know.

Our veterinary team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is always here to help you and your cat!