Recently there has been increased “conversation” in the media, the veterinary literature and among veterinarians about the issue of whether our feline companions should be kept indoors and how to then fulfill their basic needs for hunting and play. For me, the discussion is quite relevant as my husband and I added two kittens, Finn and Trey, to our family last fall. All of our previous cats were allowed outside during the day and lived quite long (19 and 20 years) and happy lives. For the new guys the decision about whether to let them out was complicated. Our present home is on the corner of a rather busy intersection and I have become an avid feeder of songbirds so the “costs” of allowing them to go out was higher, both for them and my bird friends. Ultimately we decided that they would remain as indoor only cats. For the first time, I was responsible for providing an environment for my cats that would meet their needs without the outdoor world.
Fortunately, at Aztec Animal Clinic, we have spent the last few years building our knowledge about environmental enrichment for our patients. As veterinarians we now recognize that many of the behavior problems that we are faced with in our feline patients are related to stress and lack of adequate resources for play and activity. We have put together several handouts about how to create a more engaging and interesting space for your cat as well as recommendations for using food/treat toys to make mealtime more of a “job” for them. As a servant of two young cats I have had the chance to try many of these strategies on my boys. Paul, my husband, has done a bit of eye-rolling as I have tried a wide variety of small toys, a couple of cat trees, a few battery-operated motion toys and a food puzzle in my quest to keep them happy. I reassure him that I am doing important research for my work as a veterinarian and that the frequent boxes from Amazon are critical for my job. So, I now understand the challenges of providing for these little predators and hope that the information below as well as the links to the articles on our website will be helpful to my fellow cat servants.
For more information about environmental enrichment for your cat check out these article on our website:
Environmental Enrichments for Cats
Indoor or Outdoor??
Indoor Cat Enrichment Information -Q & A
Interactive food toys/stations to try with your cat:
- Northmate Catch Interative feeder for cats
- Trixie 5-in-1 Activity center
- Catit senses 2.0 cat tree
- Catit Senses 2.0 Digger for cats
All are available at Amazon or other retailers