How You Can Enrich Your Cat's Life: Part 2
December 15, 2010
So, part 1 of this blog was the easy part – how to play with and enrich your kitty while you are with them. Now comes the more difficult question: How do I keep them entertained and stimulated when I am not home?
First, make sure the environment is safe by putting away items with strings, plastic bags, etc. Once the house is secure, let the games begin!
General environmental enrichment includes cat trees or other furniture of varying levels, as cats need lots of vertical space. Also, scratching in itself is stimulating. Take time to find out whether your cat prefers a vertical or horizontal scratching surface and what materials they like, or provide a variety! Cats also love to look out of windows and play with catnip toys. And, for some, the best kind of enrichment is another kitty companion!
The easiest way to allow for a stimulating hunt while you are away is to hide high-value meaty treats around the house. Make your kitty sniff out his prey under, behind, and on top of furniture. This provides the stimulus of the hunt and the reward of the prey.
If your kitty needs more stimulation, find the right ball toy that dispenses food/treats, like the SlimCat or the FunKitty Twist N Treat. Or, go for a more difficult food puzzle like the new Stimulo. In case your furry friend isn’t terribly interested in food rewards, or maybe needs to lose a few pounds, there are great options that don’t require food like the FlingAmaString or the FroliCat Dart which features a handy timer.
Also, don't forget, there are many different "movies" made for your cat's entertainment. Try out the Cat Sitter DVD which features all kinds of interesting animals and sounds to engage your kitty. Or, While You Are Gone is a slightly calmer video for your cat to watch.
Just remember that, no matter how it’s done, keeping your kitty stimulated adds to quality of life and health!