If you've ever noticed your indoor cat gazing out the window, you're not alone in sensing their curiosity for the great outdoors. While we can't exactly equip our furballs with tiny hiking boots, we can certainly bring a slice of the outside into their indoor world. Here are some of our best tips to turn your living space into a pawsitively exciting jungle gym for your indoor cat.. because a bored cat is a conspiracy theorist plotting world domination!
Why Does Enrichment Matter So Much?
Imagine spending your entire weekend on the couch for a Netflix and chill marathon. Minimal movement. No fresh air. No socialization. How long before you turn into a screentime zombie? The same is true for our precious whiskered babies x100. Don't worry though – enrichment is the secret sauce to keep the day to day interesting and exciting. Enrichment keeps your feline friend's body and mind sharp, while preventing the dreaded sleepy-cat-couch-potato transformation. Picture your cat as a stealthy predator, and your living room as their hunting ground – it's time to provide the right tools for survival!
Cat TV – Remote Not Needed
Ah, windows – the ever-changing screensavers of the cat world. Get your cat excited with the eeekies by setting up a bird feeder within eyesight of a window. This is essentially Netflix for felines, complete with live-action drama, feathered villains, and squirrels who dgaf. Fair warning: your cat might just believe they've been promoted to the Avengers team of your household!
Take Cat TV to the next level with an actual television tuned into a cat channel. These channels are specifically filmed to whisk your cat away on a virtual adventure, featuring videos of birds in flight, fish darting through aquatic landscapes, and even the subtle sway of grasses in the wind. It's a full sensory experience that caters to your cats natural instincts, keeping them engaged and entertained.
So, while you might not want an iPad cat, just know there are alternatives to indulge your kitty in some indoor bird watching entertainment if outdoor wildlife isn't easily accessible for irl viewing.
Get Those Greens
No wilderness-themed paradise is complete without a bit of greenery. Invest in some cat-friendly plants like cat grass or catnip. It's like having a personal salad bar and mood enhancer all in one! Just make sure to arrange bail for your cat when they inevitably get caught in a post-catnip dance-off with an invisible friend.
What's the point of catching an imaginary prey if there's no reward at the end? Instead of feeding your pal in the same spot every day, day-in and day-out, try hiding small portions of their meal around the house. This turns mealtime into a primal scavenger hunt, leaving your cat with a full belly and a sense of accomplishment. Bonus points for turning on a David Attenborough documentary in the background.
Add Some Vertical Action
Cats are natural climbers, born with a desire to conquer new heights – the refrigerator, bookshelves, your sanity.. so, why not indulge their Everest ambitions with a fun vertical experience? Install shelves, hammocks, and even mini bridges for your cat to traverse. They'll love the challenge, and you'll finally have a legitimate excuse for yelling "I'm not a cat tree!" during Zoom calls. Love the idea but want to keep it aesthetic for your home? Check out Frame Your Feline, a company that offers wall-mounted boxes with artistic backgrounds, turning your cat's playtime into a stylish masterpiece.
Innovative Toys – DIY or Buy?
Every cat owner knows the graveyard of abandoned toys in the corner. Break the cycle by offering your indoor adventurer novel toys. Try DIY options like ping pong balls – we have a fun one with a wiggly tail attached – in an empty bathtub (welcome to Cat Thunderdome!) or fashion your own puzzle feeders that mimic the challenge of hunting.
One Paw In, One Paw Out
Picture this: a window box that extends outside your window like a cozy cat-sized balcony. This ingenious contraption allows your furry friend to bask in the sunshine, sniff the fresh air, and embrace the world beyond a glass window pane. It's the ultimate VIP lounge for your cat, where they can watch birds, plot squirrel takedowns, and soak up the sights, smells and sounds of the outdoors. Talk about a front-row seat to the natural world! Looking for a simple DIY option? [Shameless plug incoming]: In our book Indoor Cat: How to Enrich Their Lives and Expand Their World, we included an easy guide to creating a cozy window box extension for your feline explorer.
And for those who want to go all out, let's talk about catios. These enclosed outdoor spaces are like five-star resorts for your feline friend, complete with climbing platforms and cozy resting spots, catios offer the best of both worlds. Your cat can experience the thrill of the outdoors while staying safe from potential threats.
But wait, there's more! Have you ever considered cat-proof fencing? Imagine turning your backyard into a feline wonderland with the addition of cat-proof fencing. This specialized fencing ensures that your cat can explore the outdoor environment while remaining safely within the confines of your property. It's like granting your cat membership to an exclusive club with a "no wandering off" policy. With cat-proof fencing, you can bid farewell to worry while your cat indulges in the sun, breeze, and the occasional dramatic staring contest with passing squirrels.
Lastly, remember that each cat possesses distinct preferences. If you have a multi-cat house hold, the differences in cat play styles might be a bit more obvious but the key is to observe how your cat plays and do more of what they like. Some kitties might enjoy a cat-friendly yoga session and another might prefer a game of hide and pounce. Tune into your cat's quirks and design activities that align with their personality. Consider it a matchmaking game, but with feathers and fur.
For us humans, the great outdoors might be beyond the front door, but with a sprinkle of innovation, your indoor cat can experience a slice of nature within the safety and comfort of your home. Enrichment isn't just about keeping them entertained; it's about nurturing their natural instincts and forging a deeper connection between you and your feline companion. Did we miss something? Share your own enrichment tip in the comments and be sure to follow Dezi & Roo on TikTok for more tips by Dr. Bahr, aka The Cat Doc.