Environmental enrichment is essential for a happy, healthy cat – it means providing stimulating activities and surroundings that encourage positive behaviour.
Our vet nurses here at Rockingham Road Veterinary Surgery have lots of tips for keeping your cat busy, so talk to us for ideas about suitable enrichment toys.
Why is environment so important?
A boring living space can cause destructive or aggressive behaviour in cats, and they could become depressed and anxious. If your cat is acting oddly but doesn’t seem sick, they might not be getting the stimulation they need.
Signs of an under-stimulated cat
Keep an eye out for boredom-related or stress-relieving behaviours, like:
- Chewing inappropriate items
- Picking on other pets
- Retreating into isolation
- Compulsive behaviour
- Loss of appetite
Of course, some of these behaviours might be related to illness – so if in doubt, visit our vet nurses for advice.
How to enrich your cat’s environment
Here are some simple ideas...
- Tunnels: Cats love to hide and pounce in crinkly tunnels. If cost is an issue, make your own from cardboard boxes.
- Places to hide: Curling up in a small space calms your cat. Safe hiding places include boxes, drawers and laundry baskets. Beware of dangerous spaces, though, such as washing machines and behind electrical appliances.
- Things to climb: Being high up lets cats survey their territory, making them feel safe. Climbing is also great exercise. Distract them from climbing curtains or unstable furniture by providing a multi-perched cat tree or ensuring that bookshelves, wardrobes and windowsills can be reached safely.
- Outside playtime and exploration: Cats love discovering the outside world. If you’re uncomfortable with letting your cat roam freely around Corby, create a safe enclosure in your garden.
- Companionship: Some cats are more social than others but, if they seem lonely, consider getting them a feline friend.
- Stimulating games: Make time for playtime to entertain your cat and help them to channel any predatory behaviour. To add novelty to the new year, you could even keep back some Christmas toys until January. If you’re not sure what’s suitable, ask us about enrichment toys.
And remember, you can always ask one of our vet nurses here at Rockingham Road Veterinary Surgery for advice about improving your cat’s behaviour. Let’s make it a fantastic 2019 for you both.