Home sweet home
If your cat is an indoor cat, or their ability to go outdoors is restricted through age or ill health, it’s especially important to try to satisfy specific needs your feline friend has. Environmental enrichment is important to provide physical and mental stimulation so that cats don’t development problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle such as eating disorders, over-grooming and urinary tract disease. Taking time to play with cat toys together is great, especially those that move unpredictably to mimic prey and hunting. Cats like to be able to find easy cover and move inconspicuously. Plants are great for hiding behind or coffee tables for perching under and getting ready to pounce, and can make play more exciting too. Scratching posts or pads let cats sharpen their claws and mark their territory.
Provide your cat with a variety of resting places including some that they can access at height as cats are natural climbers. But do make sure they can get down as well as up! Cosy secret spots away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life are also really important, and could be as simple as under a bed or in an open cupboard.
Scent is important. Many cats love catnip which can be fun for play. Regularly bringing new items into a cat’s environment, such as a piece of wood, paper bags, a cardboard box or new plants, challenges a cat’s sense of smell, makes their environment more interesting and can help reduce stress around other new experiences.
There are heaps of ways we can help indoor cats to feel happy and fulfilled. For further information on the above and more ideas for things you can do, read International Cat Care’s article on ‘Making your home cat friendly’