How to Entertain our Kitties’ brains! Environmental Enrichment Ideas for Indoor Cats!
Here are some suggestions for keeping them active, stimulated and happy. Cats are very prey specific, so trying varieties of toys is important to find just what your cat likes to hunt.
- Bringing the Outside In:
As long as your cat is current on vaccinations and deworming, bring in tree branches, rocks, leaves, things from the outdoors to pique their senses. Try hiding treats around or under these items for extra fun, or fill a box with leaves and throw a handful of treats in for your cat to forage. Additionally, you may purchase live catnip or grass plants from most pet stores.
- Cat Carrier:
Try leaving your cat’s carrier out in the home all the time. Make it inviting by placing bedding and/or treats inside for your cat to enjoy. This will also desensitize your cat to the carrier making trips to the vet easier for both of you. Clicker training is a positive way to train your cat to willingly enter their cat carrier. Teaching this could save their life in case of an emergency!
- Catnip Marinade:
Place all soft fuzzy toys in container with catnip to “marinate”. You can do this as often as needed to refresh the scent. This can be financially helpful because you won’t have to buy new toys as often.
- Chirping Fuzzy Mice and Birds:
There are many versions of these motion activated toys. Some chirp like live mice, some move around and some have flashing lights.
- Clicker Training:
Clicker training can be used as both an enrichment tool and as a training aid to fix unwanted behaviors. Cats are incredibly intelligent and trainable we simply have to create that expectation! Clicker training can help control less desirable behaviors such as counter surfing or inappropriate scratching or teach them to run an agility course for fun and exercise! Cats can be trained to sit, come, high-five, shake even walk on a leash and harness. Much like their canine counterparts, training your cat stimulates the brain, gives them a job to do and gives them a more enriched life. A good reference book is “Training Your Cat” by Dr. Kersti Seksel or “Naughty No More” by Marilyn Krieger. Karen Pryor is also the go to source for all thing clicker related!
(Content provided by: Fundamentally Feline, Ingrid Johnson, CCBC.)