Beyond The Scratching Post: Indoor Cat Enrichment

A wide-eyed white cat peeks around a wooden banister in curiosity

It’s no secret that cats have many endearing, and sometimes quirky, behaviors. The more you look into feline behavior, the more you start to realize that we have tiny, predatory lions living with us. They thrive by being able to express their natural instincts to hunt, ambush, and survey their territory. 

However, indoor-only cats sometimes don’t have as many opportunities to practice these instincts. Being confined to an indoor life doesn’t have to mean a life of boredom, though. We have some great ideas for indoor cat enrichment to enhance your cat’s life.

Indoor Cat Facts 

Indoor cats live longer, healthier, and safer lives than their indoor-outdoor counterparts. However, indoor cats tend to have fewer opportunities to stalk, pounce, and play than outdoor cats.

With a little creativity and effort, we can give indoor cats the same great experiences that their outdoor friends enjoy, while still keeping them safe. 

Indoor Cat Enrichment

In truth, a great scratching post really is where to start. Cats love to scratch, so giving them some variety in this area will keep them interested and away from your furniture. The next step up is a cat tree with multiple places to stretch their backs and paws, sharpen their claws, and jump up to hiding places. 

Cats love to be up high so if you have wall space, put in some vertical places for them to climb, perch and hide. This can be a great way to also create privacy for cats, something that they need when in multiple pet households. 

Creative Feeding

Cats like the opportunity to hunt for their food. You can give them easy enrichment opportunities by using food puzzles, interactive toys, and food balls. You can also split their regular meal into several different bowls and place them around the house, allowing them to “hunt” for their food. 

Play Time!

Nearly all cats need play time (about 30 minutes a day). Start with active play that engages them for the best cat enrichment. Laser pointer tag, fetch (yes!), and feather wand attack are some great games that many cats love. Every cat is an individual, so keep trying different things until you find games your cat enjoys. 

Add In the Outdoors

It can feel unfair to keep cats indoors when they so clearly want to go out. Why not add a safe, secure, outdoor enclosure for your cat, to give them a taste of both worlds? 

Catios are all the rage when it comes to indoor cat enrichment, and you can find creative inspiration here or here. You can build off a window or a sliding glass door to make it easy to let your cat “outside”. Fill your catio with perches, scratching posts, a box of grass, and even a hanging bird feeder right outside the enclosure (out of reach, of course!) don’t forget to add fresh water at all times. Many cats love drinking fountains!

Even indoor cats accidentally escape, so don’t forget to have your indoor cat microchipped, and keep up to date on vaccinations and parasite prevention

At Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital, we take your cat’s physical and mental health seriously. If you have questions about cat health or well being, please don’t hesitate to contact us.