In a previous blog post, we listed the different enrichment strategies we use at the shelter. However, Kitty's needs don't end when they’re adopted! It is very important to continue the good work of the shelter staff and volunteers once he or she is home.
If the idea of entertaining your pet seems more obvious to a dog than a cat, it's not! In the wild, our felines had all sorts of tasks to perform and these are still in their DNA. They will be even happier if they feel they can complete these tasks in the warmth of their home!
The goal is to keep Kitty busy and entertained, while allowing them to reproduce natural behaviors in an adapted environment. It also helps avoid certain "undesirable" behaviors for humans, such as clawing at furniture or climbing on counters.
Keep in mind that your cat is not doing this "on purpose" – they’re just trying to fulfill their needs!
Help our little residents by purchasing enrichment items from our Amazon listing
Good equipment makes for happy cats
One of the must-haves in your home is obviously a good quality claw post. Make sure it's high enough for your cat to stretch and that the material is suitable for your furry friend. Stop by the shelter for some great models!
If your feline tends to climb on tables or counters, it's because they feel the need to be up high. Offer them interesting alternatives with cat trees or even shelves specially designed for them! And don't forget to provide some hiding places.
When it comes to feeding, you can use the same strategies we use at the shelter: interactive bowls, licking mats and kibble toys are great options!
This gives them energy, keeps them busy and forces them to eat more slowly, which can prevent mishaps and excess weight gain. Just make sure your cat understands how to use their new bowl and adjust the difficulty level accordingly!
Spend quality time together
It's a good idea to give your cat several toys to play with while you're away, but it's also very important to schedule daily playtime together.
First, do some research on proper play techniques: all cats love to play, so if yours seems disinterested, it may be that the toy is not right for them or that the method needs to be revised!
The idea is to mimic the hunting behavior, so be sure to let your cat "win" regularly, or they will build up frustration and lose interest. Note that lasers should be avoided since cats can never catch their "prey"; if you insist on using one, have a toy that you can throw at your cat to let off steam.
Decrease in intensity as the game session nears its end.
Take a walk outside!
If Kitty seems to want to go outside, it can also be a great opportunity to spend time together! A short walk in duo or family greatly stimulates the cat's senses.
To make the experience a success, take it slowly and in stages. Get a harness and a long leash and start by getting the cat used to walking around the house like this, not forgetting to reward them with treats!
Once they seem comfortable, consider spending a few minutes outside with them, watching their body language carefully and adjusting as needed. You can gradually increase the amount of time spent outside and even schedule play sessions!
Please note that under municipal regulations, it is forbidden in many places in Outaouais to leave your cat outside without supervision. We recommend that you always take the opportunity to spend quality time outside with your feline. You can even practice a recall technique in case an incident occurs!
We wish you great quality time with your furry friends 😊
Read our previous blog post : Enrichment, an essential ingredient for Kitty's well-being at the shelter (part I)