Cats are predatory by nature and if their instinctual needs are not met, they will be stressed and may exhibit undesirable behaviours, such as inappropriate scratching, aggression, and litter box issues.
Providing an environment that keeps your cats stimulated is critical to ensuring that they are happy and healthy. Here are some suggestions:
Create a safe space
Provide your cats with plenty of hiding spaces where they can retreat and relax when feeling anxious or stressed. High shelves, tall furniture, or cat trees where your cats can perch above the ground can help them feel safe.
Provide an opportunity to hunt
Cats need to hunt to be physically and mentally healthy, and simply feeding from a bowl does not provide the stimulation that they need. Put a small amount of treats in a treat-dispensing toy to encourage activity whilst fulfilling their hunting instinct.
Provide a variety of toys
Some cats prefer toys that they can play with on their own. Other cats prefer toys that require human involvement, such as those you wiggle and dangle. The best type of play for a cat involves opportunities to hunt, so offer toys that mimic the behaviour of a cat's prey animals, such as birds or rodents. Be sure to offer structured play sessions and rotate toys periodically to prevent boredom.
Provide scratching pads/posts
Scratching is a marking behaviour, which is important for feline mental well-being. To help your cats get the maximum benefit from scratching, offer several scratching pads/posts with different structures and textures, and both vertical and horizontal options.
Provide objects to explore
Paper bags and cardboard boxes are like a little kitty playground! You can drop in a couple of your cats' favourite toys or cut a few holes in the side so they can peek through or stick out their paw.
Position bird and squirrel feeders outside windows
Creating a window perch where your cats can easily sit and look out the window is a great way to offer visual stimulation. Your cats will spend hours watching birds flying, squirrels scampering around and leaves blowing in the wind.
Featured image by Jean Balzan