Environmental Enrichment Should Stimulate Your Cat’s Senses (Part 2 of 3)
Photo provided by Friskies Explorer heavens2.
Welcome to Part 2. Last week we covered the basics so now let’s get into the part kitty loves best… fun!
To make the most of environmental enrichment create opportunities for your cat to use all of her senses. Provide her with an environment filled with sights, sounds, smells, textures and tastes.
A cat tree or window perch placed near a window can provide your cat with the kitty version of reality television. If you have an elderly cat who can no longer jump, use a tiered cat tree so she can climb from perch to perch.
Have you seen the cat entertainment DVDs that showcase wildlife? Some cats are attracted to images on the TV and some aren’t. If your cat seems interested in TV, consider getting her a DVD. You can find them online.
When you engage your cat in interactive playtime, stimulate her visual sense by having the toy peek out of the corner or let it fly over and land a few feet away. Alternate between movement and keeping still so she can sneak up on it and do a surprise attack.
Your cat has excellent hearing. Just the fact that she can hear the can opener from the other side of the house tells you that! A cat’s play drive is often triggered first by sound. There are toys available that have sound-generating chips in them. A toy that squeaks like a mouse when the cat paws it can certainly increase the fun factor. Additionally, when you use a fishing pole-type toy, use sound as part of the game. Have the toy rub up against a box or paper bag to create an enticing sound. Puzzle-feeder toys are also good sound-generating objects because the dry kibble makes noise as it moves around inside. You can find puzzle feeders online and at pet supply stores.
Other ideas: place a ping pong ball inside of an empty tissue box. Play a CD of music that incorporates nature sounds. Consider using a pet water fountain for your cat. The sound of the running water can be very entertaining and may encourage kitty to drink more water.
Cats can have texture preferences so when you shop for toys, keep your cat’s likes and dislikes in mind. Your cat may prefer soft toys instead of hard plastic ones. She may want a soft mouth feel so look for mice toys that are fuzzy and soft. Some cats love the feel of feathers, while others love the way a smooth ball feels as it easily rolls around the floor when batted. There are cats who don’t like fishing pole-type toys that have cloth streamers because they get caught in the claws, while others love that the cloth is easy to grab. Do a toy test to see if your cat has texture preferences.
Your cat may have a texture preference in terms of napping areas. She may like sleeping on smooth surfaces or prefer being able to snuggle on beds that had a soft wooly feel.
Texture is important when it comes to scratching posts as well. Those soft, fluffy scratching posts are a waste of money. Choose a sisal-covered post or one with an equally scratchy covering. If your kitty is scratching the furniture then chances are the scratching post isn’t covered in an appealing texture. The rougher the texture the better when it comes to scratching posts.
Next week I’ll talk about using scents and taste.