10 Easy Enrichment Ideas for Cats
Lianna here. As my friend group's appointed Cat Lady (attempting to rebrand myself to Catwoman), I hear this question a lot:
"How can I keep my cat entertained?"
Sometimes it's phrased a little differently, like...
"How can I keep my cat from shredding everything I own?"
Interestingly enough, the answer is the same: Enrichment!
Enrichment just means making sure that your cat's environment contains a variety of different stimuli — things to play with, sniff, scratch, and of coursed, shred.
You don't have to buy fancy cat toys or products (though I'll suggest a few below).
The best thing you can do to enrich your cat's life? Play with them for a minimum of 20 minutes every day. (Bonus: this will also help keep them healthy, and cut down on rude midnight wakeup walks across your face.)
10 Easy Enrichment Ideas for Cats
1. Give them something to scratch. If sisal scratching posts are out of the question, try a cardboard scratch pad or a sisal door hanger.
2. Give them window access. Cats love nothing more than hanging out by a window all day and keeping tabs on those infernal birds. And squirrels. And bugs.
Make sure your cat can access a window with a view at all times! You can make it easier by placing a comfy piece of furniture next to the window, or even hanging a kitty hammock in the window itself. (Just be careful if you get a hammock with suction cups, because they don't always hold.)
3. Offer a variety of toys and pay attention to which ones they like. I've found that even the pickiest cats can't resist a durable canvas kicker toy, especially one spiked with catnip.
4. Speaking of catnip... Sprinkle some on the ground and watch your cats go to town! If your kitty is one of the 30-50% of cats who don't care about catnip, try silvervine instead. Or...
5. Try a pheromone spray. Brands like Feliway make a spray that mimics cats' facial pheromones, and can help them feel safe and at home. An occasional spritz on the places they spend the most time is a sweet and simple way to enrich their lives.
6. Try a laser toy. This is one of the best (and most comedic) ways to get your cats moving. Experiment with speed and movement patterns to see what turns your cat's pupils into dinner plates.
Pro tip: Let cats "catch" the red dot at the end of playtime, and give them a treat in its place! This closes the hunting loop in their brains, so they don't go slowly mad waiting for the dot to pop up again.
7. Try a teaser toy. This is the kind of toy that hangs from the end of a stick. (OR, in my cats' case, it's the drawstring from the inside of a hoodie that I no longer own, from a college I didn't go to. They just really love this dang drawstring. Can't throw it away.)
Sometimes, you just gotta put in the work to get your cat interested. Make sure you choose a teaser that's made well, so your cat doesn't accidentally eat a bunch of feathers (and no glittery toys allowed).
8. Rotate through your existing toys, and don't offer all of them at once. This helps keep toys exciting and fresh. Look, it's the fox thingy they haven't seen in two weeks! WHERE HAS IT BEEN? WHAT WAS IT DOING? KILL IT!
9. Create more hiding spots. We've all picked up what we thought was an empty box or grocery bag to discover there's a cat in there! So next time your Paramount Pet Health box comes in the mail, why not leave it lying on the floor for a day or two?
10. Brush or groom your cat. Try out different brushes, strokes, and approaches to see what your cat likes best. (It might be "Nothing, please leave me alone," in which case, might I recommend one of the above 9 tips?)
I hope these tips were helpful! Leave a comment below to share your favorite kitty enrichment tips with me. 👇👇👇👇