The Catalyst Council humans are so serious about Happy Cat Month that they broke it up into weeks. Last week was Happy Healthy Cat Week, and this week is Happy Enriched Cat Week! During this week, they want to banish the myth that cats are low-maintenance, get-’em-and-leave-’em-alone pets. To be really happy, a cat needs mental, physical and emotional stimulation.
Nearly every kitty could use more enrichment in their lives! Here are some signs that your cat’s life is lacking a little something:
- Getting in trouble
- Pulling out her fur, i.e., overgrooming
- Sleeping all day (yes, we sleep a lot, but sometimes it is out of boredom)
- Beating up the other cats in the house
- Overeating (in fact, humans do the same thing when their lives aren’t exciting enough).
Hm, a couple of things on this list make me think that a certain tortie around here needs some enrichment! Anyhow, there are lots of ways to add some spunk to your cat’s life! Here are five tips:
- Make sure she has lots of levels in your home to explore. The floor and couch aren’t enough — cats are vertically minded. Arrange furniture and shelving so she can explore up and down and all around!
- Also make sure you have some good window views. Not every house has Bird and Squirrel TV reception, but you can help by putting feeders outside. Even if you live in a high rise, chances are your cat wants to look out the window and catch some sun rays, so make sure there’s a cat tree or comfy couch back for her to do that.
- When it comes to toys, interactivity is important. Almost every cat would prefer that you join in on her play sessions instead of using one of those battery operated gadgets. Wand toys, pole toys, fetch toys (whether it’s the human or kitty doing the fetching) — all these are winners.
- Don’t free feed. Use portion control, even if you are feeding dry and not canned. Get your cat out of the habit of eating out of boredom. Use puzzle feeders to get her mentally engaged, and give her treats at the same time.
- Hang out with your cat, even if you are doing nothing. If you and your cat are in the same room and she is a few feet away from you, and not even facing you, it means she trusts you and feels comfortable with you. Even though you are not touching, your cat is keeping company with you, sort of the same way a couple will hang out in the same room, each quietly reading a book. It’s more meaningful than it appears on the surface.
Here are some ways my human enriches my life!
She brings out my favorite toys for playtime! I have been known to sort of eat pieces of sparkle balls, so she keeps mine in a drawer and it is a big deal when she pulls it out.
Remember what I said about interactive play? The Neko Birbug is my very, very favorite toy, and it requires lots of human participation!
My human and I have training sessions almost every day! I love to high five. I’m still learning to love jumping through a hoop.
I get to go out on a harness and leash! I know it’s not every kitty’s idea of a good time, but I do wish more cats could get a chance to enjoy it.
And sometimes we just hang out together. There is always a space on my human’s office chair for me, whether we’re at home or at a hotel.