A cat owner should place a lot of importance on the cat’s environment. A boring environment often results in a bored cat. A stressful environment results in an anxious cat. A stimulating environment helps your cat fully enjoy her life. If a cat has a healthy, fun way to use her energy she’ll be less likely to demonstrate unwanted behaviors.
Since this is such an important topic and one that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, Friskies has divided it into a three-part series to help you get enough ideas on how to up the fun factor in kitty’s life.
Benefits of Environment Enrichment
Cats are athletes. Some are more athletic than others but every cat needs exercise, movement, fun and the opportunity to fully enjoy life. If a cat has no outlet for her energy or is in a stressful, boring environment then chances increase that behavior issues will crop up or health problems may develop.
Environmental enrichment doesn’t mean just increasing the number of toys your cat has or giving her more space in which to roam around. It truly means creating an environment that contributes to improving her physical and psychological welfare. Sound complicated? It really isn’t. Environmental enrichment is easy, doesn’t break the budget, and the benefits are ongoing.
Start with a Good Foundation
The foundation on which you’ll build on is safety. Of course, it’s important to make sure all toys and objects you use are physically safe, but the safety we are actually referring to has to do with creating areas of refuge. Your cat needs areas that are her own comfort zones. If you have kids these areas should be places where the cat knows she can nap, eat, or just relax without any intrusion. In a multicat home, safety refers to having enough litter boxes so no one has to compete; perhaps more than one feeding station so no one feels intimidated; several levels of elevation (such as tiered cat trees) so everyone can perch somewhere without being pushed out of a favorite spot. A big cause of multicat tension is due to having to compete for resources. Every cat needs to feel safe in the environment. No amount of toys or playtime will work if a cat doesn’t feel safe enough to come out from under the bed.
Speaking of a good foundation, here are some of the basics that your cat needs for optimal health and welfare:
- Healthy food that meets her appropriate stage of life
- An ongoing supply of fresh, clean water – Consider a Pet Fountain to make this task a breeze
- A litter box that’s the right size, filled with appealing litter and kept clean
- A scratching post (if your cat has claws)
- Cat Toys and the opportunity to engage in solo and interactive playtime
- A safe, clean, and stress-free environment
- Elevated areas for perching
- Regular veterinary care