Cats are incredibly intelligent and active creatures. While they may give off the impression of being couch potatoes, they are far from being fans of boredom. Whether they are young kittens, teenage cats, or seniors, every cat deserves an engaging environment where there’s always something to do. So, how can you, fabCat, create a real playground for your furballs at home without compromising your aesthetic? Let’s find out!
Why do cats need an enriched environment?
Nobody likes to be bored, not even cats. Despite their ability to sleep for hours, cats aim to spend the remaining part of their day as actively as possible. In the wild, this would involve hunting – tracking and observing prey, planning attack strategies, and chasing, followed by play, feasting, and grooming. It’s quite a complex ritual they repeat a few times every day. Domestic cats don’t really need to hunt effectively to survive – they know that the hooman will give them a full bowl of food at an exact hour, without fail. But does that mean the only thing they have left to do is to lounge around? Absolutely not!
Although domestic cats lead quite a different life from that of their wild cousins, they retain primal instincts that drive many of their behaviors. The key to building an excellent cat territory at home is to satisfy these natural feline needs. By providing scratching posts, hiding spots, cozy beds, vantage points, and playtime that mimics the hunting cycle, you’ll ensure your cat, fabCat, feels fulfilled at home and never gets bored.
Benefits of a rich cat environment:
- It provides essential physical and mental stimulation,
- reduces stress and boredom,
- minimizes undesirable behaviors (e.g., scratching furniture, playing with hazardous objects, etc.),
- improves the overall quality of cat life and directly impacts cat health and well-being.
These are just a few key benefits of a rich cat environment, but they do highlight the importance of offering a space where your cat can always find something to engage with. When you take a cat under your care, you take responsibility for ensuring that your furry friend lives a full and happy life at home. For some, it might be a true domestic jungle with shelves all the way to the ceiling, for others – a fancy vantage point by the window. If you know your cat well enough, fabCat, you can easily prepare the best space under the sun for them.
Enriching the cat territory – what will you need?
A well-designed cat territory includes several key elements. These include a litter box and bowls, scratching posts, beds, observation spots, hideouts, and toys. The key to building an attractive environment for your cat is not only providing access to essential resources but also arranging them in a way that meets specific feline needs and aligns with your furry friends’ preferences.
- scratching posts. Used by cats for sharpening claws, stretching, and marking territory. At myKotty, we opted for corrugated cardboard, which cats love and which is awesome at absorbing scents and serving as a domestic signpost. Place the LUI beside the sofa to protect it from claws. Use the VIGO at the entrance of the living room, which has the most traffic around the whole house, to let the cat mark their territory. Got large window sills or shelves that let the cat see out of the window? The TOBI scratcher will make an excellent scratcher and a cozy spot for your cat to relax and scratch.
- beds. Position them where the cat can relax away from household noise (e.g., in the bedroom), but also where the cat can chill during the day. A comfortable cushion like EMI along the sofa or balcony door allows the cat to observe household activities during afternoon naps, and a bed like OTI comes in handy when your cat wants to rest close to a human but the sofa space is occupied. Don’t forget about hiding spots – these can be classic cat houses, cardboard boxes, or even a cat carrier, providing a secure place for your cat to nap.
- toys. There’s an abundance of them at every cat’s house but do you know, fabCat, how to use them to actually beat boredom? The key is to play regularly, in a way that resembles the natural hunting cycle and, what’s even more important, excites your cat! Engaging play satisfies hunting instincts, provides mental and physical stimulation, and ultimately calms the cat for a well-deserved nap. Cats can, and will, play solo as well – all types of balls and kicker toys filled with catnip and valerian, like the KungFu, are irreplaceable here. Aromatic herbs stimulate the cat to play, offer interesting olfactory experiences, and don’t require human participation, making them perfect for entertaining your cat during your home office work.
Interesting ways to spice up your cat’s life
The best part of building a cat environment is experimenting. While cats may not like sudden changes, they happily welcome novelties that capture their attention. Since every cat has different views on what’s interesting and worth attention, put on your Caretaker-Animator hat, fabCat, and think about how you can enrich your cat’s life. Here are a few ideas we found interesting:
Explore scent toys. Cats love to sniff! While we don’t recommend overindulging in treats, incorporating scent toys into your cat’s routine is an excellent way to stimulate their senses. These toys can also be a great way to calm the cat down, e.g. after a visit to the vet.
DIY Fun. Recycling cardboard and paper bags brought home is in vogue, and cats love it! Every day we see your cardboard creations from packaging after scratchers, fabCats, but the possibilities of DIY enrichment go way beyond that. Paper bags can serve as hiding spots for toys during play-hunting. The corrugated cardboard that’s wrapped around scratchers? We know from experience that cats love to slide around on it and pretend they’re surfers on a high tide. Toilet paper rolls quickly turn into homemade treat-dispensing toys. Anything that rustles, shines, rolls well, or can be carried in the mouth can become a new toy – cats adore it!
Become an interior designer for cats. It’s time to creatively use the space in your apartment, fabCat. Cats undoubtedly thrive in places where they can utilize multiple levels – moving solely on the floor isn’t their style. Consider how you can introduce your furball to higher levels. A small rearrangement of furniture can create a cool cat highway, and if you can install wall-mounted observation shelves, the effect will be even better! Read more about cat highways on our blog: https://blog.mykotty.pl/en/2021/03/22/strengthening-the-cat-territory-how-to-build-an-at-home-highway-for-your-kitties/
And how do you, fabCats, beat cat boredom at your homes? Do you have proven methods for a good time, or do you regularly change the home space so that cats never get bored? Share your tips in the comments 🙂