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Enrichment for your cat

Every cat or kitten has individual enrichment needs depending on age, energy levels, personality and the amount of time your cat spends outside. There is no reason why enriching your cat's environment should be expensive. Most enrichment can be made using recycled materials. Here are some ideas on how to enrich your cat’s life:

Food

Instead of feeding in bowls, try scattering your cat food around, hide the food in boxes, use commercial feeder balls, dog Kongs, or throw the food for your cat to chase.

Water

Cats like to drink water that is not contaminated so place their water well away from their food and toileting areas. Some cats enjoy drinking from cat water fountains, whilst others like to drink from ceramic or glass dishes.

Plants

Try enriching your house and/or garden with plants and greenery (check they are not poisonous to cats first). This will give your cat something interesting to explore. You can also grow cat friendly plants such as catnip, catmint and cat grass to keep your cat entertained.

High places

Cats seek high resting places. You can provide high resting places using a variety of scratching posts, secure shelves and by giving access to the tops of wardrobes/cupboards.

Litter trays

The general rule is to have one litter tray per cat in the house, plus one extra. Try a mixture of open and hooded trays and place these around the house so that each cat can have its own privacy. A wide variety of litter substitutes are available such as wood, paper and gravel. You can even use soil from the garden!

Scratching

EnrichmentCats like lots of different surfaces to scratch on. These are used to keep their claws conditioned, for exercising their limbs and to mark their territory. You can use carpet squares, cardboard and sisal rope scratching posts/mats. Provide a selection of these in the house, especially placed in prominent areas, such as entrances and exits to rooms.

Quiet areas

Each cat will like time to itself so make sure there are plenty of hiding places around your house. These can be provided in the form of open cupboards, cardboard boxes, or your cat may just find an area it feels comfortable in.

Beds and blankets

Each cat will have its own favourite area to spend time in but make sure you have enough for each cat you own. Spread a mixture of cat beds, blankets and cardboard boxes around the house so there are plenty of places for everyone to sleep.

Play and toys

Buy a mixture of toys such as imitation mice, balls, feathers and fishing rod toys. Encourage your cat to play on a regular basis; this is good for exercise and mental stimulation. Keep rotating the toys so the cat doesn’t have access to them all at the same time, this way they are always new to the cat. 

Top tips

  • Try putting an upturned cardboard box with a hole cut out for your cat to play with (the box should be big enough for your cat to get into). Put ping pong balls in the cardboard box for younger and more playful cats. Put a blanket inside the cardboard box for a nervous cat to hide or sleep in.
  • Motion feed by throwing dried food around the kitchen or garden; or hide dried food in a shoe box with some ripped up newspaper in, so your cat has to search around to the find the tasty titbits. 

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