The veterinarians at Pet’s Friend Animal Clinic recommend keeping cats indoors for health and safety reasons. However, since cats are both social creatures and natural predators, they must be provided with opportunities to express their natural behaviors in order to safeguard their mental well-being. Your new kitty needs your help to satisfy these natural social and predatory drives, and we want to help you learn how. Here are just a few suggestions to enrich your cat’s life, environment, and help you forge a stronger human-animal bond.
Self-play toys are especially good for cats that are left home alone. Most self-play toys dispense food, which motivates the cat to play with the toy. You may either buy food-dispensing toys or make your own out of racquet or tennis balls or clean yogurt containers with plastic lids. Simply cut a hole into the ball or container, fill with dry kibble, and, presto, your cat is entertained. Some cats may take longer than others to figure the toys out; if a little encouragement is needed you may fill the toy with low-calorie treats instead of kibble.
Interactive toys help strengthen the bond between you and your cat by letting you share fun and positive experiences. A popular choice is the wand-type toy with feathers, string, or fabric attached. Laser pointers are another great way to get your kitty exercise and stimulate their prey-drive. Be careful not to direct the laser at your cats eyes!
Cats need plenty of resources other than just food, water, and a litter box. Climbing, scratching, and observing the premises are all part of a cat’s natural behaviors to avoid scratching of furniture. It is essential to provide your cat with vertical or horizontal scratching structures. It's a very typical behavior for cats to sharpen their claws / mark their territory so making sure they have something to scratch, other than your cherished belongings, is a priority. Being up high or perched on something appropriate, like a cat condo, is also important.
Other routes of stimulation like audio-visual stimulation include leaving the T.V. or music on while you are away from the house. This creates ambient sounds associated with human presence. Access to windows, fish tanks, etc. provides great visual stimulus. Olfactory stimulation includes catnip, herbs, or synthetic feline pheromones, like Feliway®, Nurture CALM® collars, which provides a variety of enrichment elements. Another great resource for tips on keeping indoor cats happy and healthy is: indoorpet.osu.edu
For more information, please feel free to call Pet's Friend Animal Clinic about any questions or concerns you may have at 408-739-2688.