Enrichment ideas for your cat
16th April 2020
Keeping your cat physically and mentally stimulated is essential to their wellbeing but bear in mind that older cats will probably not play more than three or four times a day, while younger cats will happily play much more often! Keep play short, a couple of minutes at a time is fine and swap toys around to keep them interested. It’s best not to leave cats unattended with toys that could be shredded and eaten or ones that they can get tangled up in.
Cats often also exhibit solo play. This could be a ‘mad half hour’ just dashing around or batting toys or other objects around the room. There could be sudden movements and frozen postures, crouching with a crazy look, dilated pupils and flattened ears. They may also be more vocal than usual while dashing madly from room to room.
Here are some ideas you might want to try to make at home, but bear in mind some toys may be of more interest to your cat than others, so a degree of trial and error might be involved:
Toys – fishing rod toys are particularly good because cats like to stalk, pounce and catch moving objects. Try and get one with feathers attached (a stick/garden cane/pea support plus sacrifice an old pillow to make your own?)
DIY Enrichment feeders are excellent boredom-busters and will make your cat ‘work’ for some treats. They can be bought or home-made, for example:
- Hide some treats inside an empty egg box. Start easy with the lid open and gradually make it more challenging, finally closing the lid
- Hide some treats in some scrunched-up newspaper
- Tape together loo roll tubes into a pyramid, taped to a cardboard base to make it sturdier and create a puzzle in which to place some treats.
Cardboard boxes – Always a favourite or maybe a cardboard cat lounge – These can be purchased online or in pet shops. They are made of corrugated cardboard and make a great scratching board or place to doze.
Hiding places – Particularly high up such as shelf or top of a wardrobe
Dinner time: whilst not strictly play, as most indoor cats need more entertainment than outdoor cats, dinner time can be made more of a challenge by feeding biscuits through a puzzle feeder or a plastic drinks bottle, with suitably sized holes cut into it. The cat will learn that batting the bottle releases a biscuit. It also avoids them eating too quickly.
Scratching posts – Should have a sturdy base for stability and be high enough for the cat to stretch and pull claws
Cat gym/activity centre – Sturdy and as tall as possible with multiple platforms for maximum challenge
Catnip – available in dried herb or as liquid spray. Useful for encouraging your cat to use toys, scratching posts etc
Have you any ideas to add to this list? If so we’d love to hear them! Email us email@example.com
Don’t forget: One litter tray per cat in the house, plus one placed well away from feeding/water station.
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