Indoor cats may live in under-enriched environments that can contribute to physiological stress and behaviour disorders. This can lead to aggression, urine marking, house soiling behaviours, over-grooming and displacement activities. Proper enrichment makes their environment more physically, socially and temporally complex by increasing novelty and opportunity to express species appropriate behaviours. Enrichment includes visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile and structural stimuli.

Olfactory Stimuli:

  • Catnip
  • Cat grasses
  • Pheromones (Feliway)
  • Herbs (Cinnamon, cardamom)
  • Toys with owner’s scent

Social Environment:

  • Clicker training with high value treats (uses mental energy)
  • Socially bonded cats can hugely enrich each other’s lives by allogrooming (two cats grooming one another), allorubbing (two cats rubbing their body’s against each other, usually the face area) and sleeping together. *This does not always mean that more than 1 cat per household is recommended.

Five Pillars of a Healthy Feline Environment:

Hunting, Play & Gustatory Environment:

  • Ping pong ball in a bathtub
  • Toys on wands
  • Toys on stands
  • Egg carton with treats hidden inside
  • Laser pointer
  • Toys that move or make lifelike noises (HexBugs sold at Toys R Us)
  • Tunnels
  • Multi-level cat trees
  • Scratching posts
  • Tents
  • Hammocks
  • Tower feeders (Catit)
  • Treat dispensing toys (Kong wobbler, Kong Cat Roller)
  • Crinkle mats

Unsafe Toys:

  • Strings if unsupervised
  • Small toys that can be easily swallowed
  • Sewing thread, especially when attached to a needle