Feline Environment Enrichment: How to Make Your Cat Happy
Keeping your cat happy and healthy doesn’t have to be a challenge. By providing your cat with an enriching environment conducive to his or her needs, you can keep your cat purring all year long. Feline environment enrichment techniques can solve many issues.
How to Tell if Your Cat is Unhappy
Cats communicate their dissatisfaction with their environment in a variety of ways. They can become lethargic and listless, or turn into holy terrors destroying furniture and drapery in their wake. Likewise, your cat may become either clingy or reclusive. He or she may stop purring and preening, or begin yowling, spitting, and growling at anything crossing his or her path, as a way of expressing his or her unhappiness as well.
However your cat communicates his or her unhappiness, it’s important that you listen and take the time to figure out how to keep your kitty happy.
Cats and Physical Space
Cats are very particular when it comes to their environment. Often, cats will lay claim to perches and resting places on the vertical plane, seeking out high-up vantage points or hidden dens from which they can survey their domain while remaining safely hidden away.
Allow your cat to lay claim to a few out of the way spots, both up high and down low, and make them cozy and clutter-free for your kitty. Your cat will likely accept these roosts gladly, and leave your Japanese pottery collection alone as a token of his or her thanks.
Litter Box Tips
Providing an attractive litter box for your feline is important, especially if you want to avoid the very real possibility of your cat going about his or her “business” on your carpets, couch, closet, or bed.
Cats are fastidiously clean creatures, and most cats will avoid using a dirty or uncomfortable litter box in favor of a more clean and attractive environment.
Here are some tips for creating an inviting litter box for your cat:
- Keep the litter clean—Scoop litter daily and clean the box with soap and water weekly.
- Choose the right-sized box—Litter boxes should always be large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around in, on all fours.
- Find the right box—Many cats prefer large, open boxes with low sides, but yours might not. Experiment with a variety of boxes to see which your cat prefers and stick with that.
- Privacy please—Most cats prefer a box that is quiet and private, avoid areas where a surprise visitor may startle your cat.
- More than one—One litter box per cat, plus one extra is the golden rule when it comes to the ideal number of litter boxes for your cat.
How to Avoid Cat Conflicts
If you have more than one cat in your home, you may experience the occasional cat-on-cat conflict. Most cat conflicts are rooted in the competition for resources. Access to food, water, litter boxes, and “prime real estate” (sunny, safe, or favorite spots) are common points of contention in the multi-cat household.
Tips for reducing conflicts include:
- Maintaining separate spaces for each cats food and water
- Providing multiple litter boxes throughout the house
- Creating a variety of safe places for your cats to rest, perch, and play
If you have already made these changes and the problem persists, please contact your veterinarian, as there may be larger issues at play.
Should you have any other questions about keeping your cat healthy and happy, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
We accept walk-ins during our Doctor's Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too!
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