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Posted on 03-14-2014

Indoor cats statistically live longer, healthier lives then outdoor cats. However, indoor cats require a stimulating environment to lead truly happy lives. This is similar to big cats you will visit at the zoo. They require toys, games and changes in their enclosure. This has been studied and evidence supports the benefits from enrichment. Our domesticated cats have the same needs as their larger counterparts.

Indoor only cats that lack enrichment activities get bored. This can lead to anxiety that is manifested by over grooming, depression, infections, cystitis, obesity and other behavior issues. Cats need to be mentally stimulated as well as physically stimulated. Enrichment can fulfill these necessary needs.

Think about it from an indoor cat's perspective. If you were confined to a small space with nothing to do during the day except for sleep and eat, you would feel pretty miserable. The goal is to create an interactive, stimulating space that your cat will embrace.

Some excellent ways to enrich your cat's livelihood are as follows:

  1. Toys such as mice, laser pointers, feather's, and catnip infused stuffed toys are all great choices. These toys need to be changed on a routine basis, as well.
  2. Provide climbing structure that can double as scratching posts.
  3. Hunting games such as puzzles and mazes. Mostly these are food puzzles that reward your cat with a treat or piece of kibble.
  4. Create a comfortable perch that is on a window ledge or near a window.
  5. Create or buy an enclosure to take them outside for some occasional fresh air. If you are lucky, you may be able to train your cat to tolerate a leash and harness for a walk outdoors.
  6. Multi cat households require specific resources (litter box, food, and water) for each cat that are out of view of others.
  7. Remove anxiety by placing all resources in a quiet and safe location
  8. When introducing a new resource, always place it next to the existing (old) resource so your cat can make a choice about which resource is preferred. Otherwise, a new resource could be regarded as a threat.
  9. These will help your cat use all of their senses as well as help support their basic feline instincts. The end result will be a content, gratified pet that is healthy and fit.

If you have any other questions or are concerned about your indoor cat, please call us at Eagle Animal Hospital 610-458-8789. Our team will be happy to assist you. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding area.

Written by Jennifer Granite, VMD

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