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Love, affection and care are all essential factors in keeping your cats happy, but what about the environment they live in? In our home, we are forever looking at ways to enrich the environment our cats live in to keep them happy and healthy indoors. Here are our ideas to help you create a safe, comfortable and enriching home environment for your cats.
A bored cat is a destructive cat, so make sure that he has lots of entertaining toys to keep him occupied and happy, both for times when he’s alone (toys that move, squeak, roll and jingle), and for playtime with you (toys on a string).
Cats love to climb, and there are a number of fantastic cat climbers and shelves on the market that you can use in and around your home to give your cat some more appealing ways of travelling through rooms. If you’re handy with a hammer and nails, you can even make your own shelves and ledges to put up on the walls.
Puzzle feeders are a brilliant way to keep your cat entertained at feeding time, as they make him work for his dinner, as he would in the wild. Of course, you should only use dry food or treats in a puzzle feeder; wet food is far too messy!
Just like us humans, cats can get bored with the same old routine, so make sure that you give him choice in his day-to-day life. If he usually only has one feeding spot, one litter tray and one bed, why not add to these? You might just find that he appreciates a change of scenery now and again.
Most cats have a favourite place or two in their home where they feel safe and secure. If your cat has one of these in a suitable spot, maybe behind the couch or in a corner of a room, then make this his haven with the comfiest of beds and an easy to reach scratching post.
Just because he’s an indoor kitty, doesn’t mean that your cat can’t enjoy fresh air. Leash training is an excellent way to allow him safe access to your garden or local area, so check out our post on leash training to find out how easy it is. You can also fit special nets or guards onto windows, so you can leave them ajar without worrying that he’ll get out. Again, if you have DIY skills, these are something that you can make and fit yourself.
Another way of making sure your cat feels safe in his home is to give him lots of hiding places. You can buy all sorts of interesting cat tunnels, baskets and bags, but even a plain old cardboard box makes the perfect hidey-hole, with the added benefit of giving him something to sharpen his claws on.
4. Natural Behaviours
As well as encouraging natural predatory behaviour with toys that dangle and puzzle feeders, don’t forget that your cat needs to scratch. This is where scratching posts come in, and not just to save your carpets and furniture from being shredded! Cats use their claws and paws to ‘strop’ (that’s scratching to you and me), and not only does it help to keep their claws nicely manicured; it also allows them to mark their territory using scent glands in their paws. You can buy a number of scratching implements, from small scratching posts to massive cat gyms with sisal portions for scratching, and you can even make DIY versions using tree bark, carpet off-cuts or sisal rope.
How have you created a cat friendly home environment for your cats? Please share…