Cats are “easy pets” right? All they need is a bowl of dry food and a litterbox cleaned once a week and they’re good to go? That’s what we used to think. But now we know so much more!
A cat’s environment plays such an important role in both their physical and mental health. So here are some tips to help you keep your cat as healthy as possible!
- Litterboxes: In general, the larger the better. Rubbermaid storage containers with part of one side cut down work great to minimize litter spillage. Use an unscented clumping litter, scooped at least once daily. At least one box per cat in the household.
- Feeding Stations: Throw away your dry food bowls! Feed your cats a majority canned food diet. Canned food is less calorie dense, has more moisture, more protein and fewer carbohydrates than dry food. Use feeding puzzles or toys for your cat’s dry food portions – they provide both physical and mental stimulation.
- Water: Provide multiple water stations using a variety of containers and locations to encourage your cat’s curiosity. Water fountains also can help tempt your cat to drink more, which may help to prevent kidney and bladder issues.
- Play Time: Set up play routines for your cat. Several short playtimes daily can provide significant physical and mental benefits. Use a variety of toys that simulate hunting and pouncing behaviors. Rotate out your cat’s toys, putting some away every couple of weeks and then bring them out again. For extra fun, store the extra toys in a container with some catnip!
- Scratching Posts: Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. Provide multiple locations for your cats to scratch, especially near sleeping spots. Most cats prefer sisal (rough twine) or corrugated cardboard as a scratching surface. Be sure that the posts you provide are sturdy, or your cats will prefer the couch!
- Vertical Space: Cats enjoy being off the ground. Window perches, cat trees and furniture they can climb on provide great viewing spots. For extra fun, put a bird feeder outside the window that your cats like to look out of – better than cable!
- Hiding Spaces: Cats like to be secure while they sleep. From simple objects like cardboard boxes or paper bags to fancy cat beds, providing places your cats can hang out privately will help them be less stressed. Try leaving out your cat carrier with the door open or off, put some comfy bedding in there, try feeding or putting treats or catnip inside. Not only do carriers make a great sleeping spot, but if your cat feels comfortable in his/her carrier, it might make your next trip to the vet’s office go more smoothly!
For more information and additional ideas, check out the website indoorpet.osu.edu. Pick a couple of the above ideas to work on at a time. Before long you house will be Catvana and your cats should be healthy and happy!
Send us your photos of your cat’s favorite enrichment items – we’d love to see them! Our email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org