If your cat starts acting out in negative ways by meowing more than usual or at unusual times, begins urinating outside of the litter box, or starts to tear up your furniture or carpet, you may have a feline in need of enrichment.*
For many cat owners, space is a premium, and for those of us in sunny SoCal where coyotes freely roam the streets at night, outdoor exploration is also limited, making it all the more important that we give our feline friends opportunities to stimulate their brains in new and exciting ways.
What's feline enrichment?
Simply put, it's play and stimulation that allows a cat to express its curiosity and natural hunting behaviors.
Pet stores sell puzzles or toys for both dogs and cats, but here’s the good news: You can make your own enrichment activity at almost no cost, and it’s really easy!
To get started, all you need is an empty water bottle, a pair of scissors, and some kibble or treats. Simply cut out one or two small holes in the water bottle, making sure that the holes are just big enough to let the food fall out. Then add the food and screw back on the top. Then place on the floor and let your cats at it. In no time at all they’ll by pushing the bottle around, releasing treats as it rolls.
Did you know that the ASPCA website has a resource library full of training tips and techniques? And did I mention that it’s totally free! Click here to access the ASPCA’s free library: http://aspcapro.org/resource-library.
Best Friends also have some great information about cat enrichment here: http://bestfriends.org/resources/cat-enrichment.
*I strongly recommend that you first visit your veterinarian to rule out any possible medical (physical/physiological) causes for unusual or unwanted behavior.