Cats, like dogs, need stimulation to keep their minds and bodies healthy and to curb bad behaviors. While puzzle toys are great ways to keep your kitty engaged, there are more things you can do around the house to enrich their lives.
Here are 10 enrichment activities you can do with your cat:
- Grow cat-friendly plants. Cats enjoy snacking on, playing in and enjoying the smell of cat grass, catnip, silver vine and others. Look at the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic plant list for more cat-friendly options.
- Provide plenty of scratching surfaces. Cats need to stretch, flex and scratch. Cat scratchers allow then to fulfill these needs and avoid using your furniture. Have a variety of surfaces and be sure the posts are tall enough to allow a full stretch. Place scratching posts near places your cat likes to sleep/nap.
- Give them vertical space. Cats feel safest when they can be up high. Cat shelves on the wall, a tall cat tree or other cat furniture will do the trick!
- Save cardboard boxes. It’s no secret that boxes can be the easiest toy to give your cat. They hide in, play in, and can even scratch and bite them for little to no cost to you. Saving the paper packaging that keeps your items safe in transit can be an added bonus for you cat to explore.
- Play with wand toys. Wands are an excellent interactive option to give your cat the chance to chase, pounce, and “hunt” while bonding with you.
- Use clicker training to help your cat build problem solving skills and get a physical workout. You can train your cat to happily go into their carrier or even give you a high-five!
- Work their nose. Hiding treats or food around the house lets your cat forage for meals. Snuffle mats or even a plastic bottle with small holes cut in it to allow the treats to fall out when moved work well too!
- Try a lick mat. Spread your cat’s wet food or treat over the surface to keep them happy and occupied for things like nail trims or medication times.
- Blow bubbles! Bubbles floating through the air can be highly engaging and fun for cats. Be sure to use cat-safe bubbles – some are even scented with catnip.
- Give them a view. Adding a window perch with a view of bird feeders or other interesting nature will keep them engaged for hours.
Whether you engage your cat in a short play session, do some training, or bring out their favorite food puzzle, your cat will appreciate you breaking up the monotony of their day. This enrichment will result in a happier and healthier companion.