Elko Veterinary Clinic
Providing for your cat’s mental well being is just as important as meeting their physical needs. 

1  Self-Play Toys

2  Vertical Spaces & Catios

3  Calm Safe Place

Cats are natural predators, and need to express that instinct in a healthy and appropriate way in order to feel completely comfortable and nurtured. Providing a cat with appropriate enrichment can help you form a closer bond with your kitty, as well as replace destructive or nervous behaviors with appropriate and self-entertaining activities. With all of the traveling you are going to do this summer, your kitty is bound to be remaining at home alone for long periods of time, so we want to make sure they have fun at home, while you’re having fun on vacation!

Self-play toys are those that allow your cat to play on her own and be satisfied with her play. These toys are ones that encourage stalking or pouncing. Wall mount or floor mount toys that involve moving parts, or even cardboard boxes or paper bags (be sure to remove the handles!) are great toys that allow your cat to entertain herself during long days. Foraging toys, or food puzzles, are also a great option, just be sure to include the kibble or treats in that toy into her complete daily ration, so as to avoid inevitable weight gain. Interactive toys are ones that you and your kitty share together, such as wands, laser pointers, wadded up pieces of paper or foil, etc. Use caution with laser pointers though, as direct contact into the cat’s eyes can cause damage to the eyes after continual exposure. The purpose of interactive toys is to allow your cat to “catch” something every once in a while, so guide young children in this play, so that they do not form a habit of teasing the cat and causing malicious attitudes towards kids. 

Vertical spaces and catios are wonderful ideas for any cat in any household. The ability to climb, scratch, and rub on appropriate spaces is remarkably freeing for a cat, and they can be easily trained to only exhibit these behaviors in these areas. Bird feeders in the yard within sight of windows is a wonderful distraction for any cat, and can bring hours of cheap enjoyment! Just be sure to monitor your yard for neighbor/stray cats, as the sight of strange cats by your kitty can cause stress that can lead to territorial marking like inappropriate urination, destruction of valuables, and spraying. 

Calming activities are just as important as stimulating activities when it comes to enrichments. Providing a safe place for your cat is very important for their daily balance. Closing off their cat tree, a favorite shelf in the closet, or the spare bedroom where they like to sleep are great ideas. When cats are in their safe places, be sure not to disturb them, and encourage your children to leave them alone as well, which will help cultivate a healthy relationship between your cats and kids. Lastly, aerosolized products that encourage calmness are available at pet stores and by your veterinarian, and can be recommended by your vet based on your cats needs. These products in quiet rooms can dramatically increase your cat’s calmness and stimulate continuous emotional well-being. 

With any questions as to what you can do to correct bad behaviors, or do better to enrich your home for your cat, do not hesitate to contact us for a conversation on what you can do to make your home a happier place for your cat!

Submitted by Elko Veterinary Clinic

Read more