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Even though cats have a reputation for being independent, they still crave interaction with their favorite human. Just like dogs, cats can develop behavioral problems from boredom and a desire to socialize. If your cat has recently begun shredding your furniture, meowing late into the night, and even sneak attacking your feet, it could be a sign that they’re craving activity and interaction with you. Fortunately, providing enrichment for your cat is fairly simple. Keep reading to learn all about how you can provide enrichment for your cat and to see some of our favorite products.
What Is Enrichment?
Enrichment might sound like the hot new buzzword in the pet industry. It’s not! Enrichment is an important part of your cat’s health and wellbeing. Cats may be free spirits, but they need to engage their senses and have an outlet for their energy. Not being able to follow their instincts can lead to an anxious, bored cat. Enrichment activities allow your cat to act out their natural behaviors and explore the instincts they have naturally… even as a pampered pet.
Does your cat seem a little too attached to the food dish? This can be a sign of boredom and anxiety. Destructive behaviors, clinginess, lethargy, and even hair loss are signs of stress in your cat. These problems can occur due to a lack of mental and physical stimulation.
What Does Enrichment Look Like For a Cat?
A designated playtime is an important part of enrichment for your cat. Focused play helps promote physical activity and helps to reduce the incidence of undesirable behaviors. Thirty minutes of playtime a day is considered the gold standard when it comes to playful interaction with your cat.
It might not seem like it but cats do crave your affection. Just the act of brushing your cat provides them with necessary social interaction. Socializing your cat helps build trust and can prevent aggressive behaviors. Spending time brushing or just petting your cat can lead to a more affectionate cat who doesn’t shy away from human interaction.
Providing enrichment for your cat isn’t difficult. You can do this with toys, in their environment, and through play. Providing these outlets to allow your cat to just be a cat prevents boredom, provides mental stimulation, and can make the bond you have with your cat even stronger.
Enrichment Activities For Cats
Let them climb
Does your cat enjoy finding the highest point in the house and looking down on you? Many cats still have the instinct to be up high so they’re safe from predators and have a better view of potential prey. If you’ve ever found your cat balanced on top of a door or perched on top of your refrigerator, then providing them with a cat tree, wall-mounted cat shelves, or other ways to reign from up high will meet an important need for your cat. For climbers, we enjoy the Tangkula Modern Cat Tree. It provides multiple levels, hammocks, and scratching posts so your cat can feel like the king of the castle.
Help them stalk
Cats love having the opportunity to stalk and pounce. This activity provides interaction between you and your cat. Letting them stalk a teaser toy or a laser pointer allows them to connect with their drive to hunt and is a great outlet for pent-up energy. Set aside 30 minutes a night to just play with your cat and you’ll see a difference in their behavior.
One of our favorite stalking toys is the TT Cat Wand. The wand is made of sturdy, flexible wire so your cat can stalk and pounce without worrying about fraying strings. The lures at the end are replaceable and can be switched out to keep things interesting… or once your cat has completely destroyed them.
Foraging is a natural feline behavior that they display while hunting. Allowing your cat to “forage” for food or treats engages their brain and can even be used to help limit food intake if your cat is overweight. You can easily find a tutorial for DIYing a foraging toy for your cat using items like boxes and paper towel rolls.
If you want to make an investment in a foraging toy, one of our favorites is the Catit Senses 2.0 Digger. It features tubes of multiple sizes that encourage your cat to dig and paw for their food. It’s easy to clean and comes complete with a rubber mat to prevent sliding.
Give your cat a window seat
Have you ever caught your cat in the window, trilling at the birds? Let your cat enjoy the sights of the outdoors by making the window a comfortable place to sit. Just watching the world outside is an enriching experience for your cat, and you can make it easy for them by putting a cat tree in a convenient window or by using our favorite Cat Window Hammock. It’s easily attached to a window using suction cups and has comfortable flannel padding so your cat can enjoy their new favorite seat.
Provide hidey holes
Cats are great at finding the strangest places to hide. They instinctively shy away from being out in the open and love finding a dark place to curl up in. You can help foster your cat’s urge to squeeze into small places by providing hiding spots throughout the house. Some cat trees come with built-in caves, but you can also find cat beds that your cat has to climb into. Collapsible tunnels are popular with cats, or you can even cut a hole in a cardboard box to give your cat a place to hide and sneak attack from.
What do you think? Are you ready to add enrichment to your cat’s routine? The Pet Waggin’ team is here to help! Check out Our Favorites page for a full rundown of our favorite cat products. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about enrichment for cats. We’re always happy to lend a helping paw!