Keeping Your Cat Happy Indoors

August 2019

Audience: Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers

It is important to provide enrichment for cats living indoors. Enrichment makes the indoors more exciting and provides an outlet for excessive energy. This way, you can satisfy your cat's predatory drive, increase physical fitness, and encourage cats to play appropriately. You can create a whole world of play and enrichment for your cat at home with little bit of imagination and some commonly available items as listed below. Provide all food in food dispensing toys so your cat has to work for it.

Here are some examples from our tool box:
Take several paper towel/toilet paper cardboard rolls and cut them in varying lengths. Lengths should be long enough to encourage your cat to be successful at fishing items out or pushing them through to the other side. Glue them securely together in the shape of a pyramid or box. Place some enticing items such as treats or a ball inside the rolls.

Take some tissue paper sprinkled with catnip and stuff it lightly in one roll, or just sprinkle some catnip inside a roll or two. Providing new things to explore and find inside the holes is going to ensure your cat never gets bored with this game.

Marinate an old leather garden glove, tissue paper, and straw in a plastic bowl with catnip. Stuff the tissue paper and straw into alternating fingers. Use a mixture of straw and tissue paper in the body of the glove. Make a few different stuffed gloves so you can alternate every few days. Tie the glove closed with string or yarn. Leave plenty of string for you to move/drag the glove from a distance. You also can hang this from a door knob or a steady chair so your cat can play solo. If your cat loses interest after a few days, the catnip may need to be refreshed. Simply untie the string and replace the contents. Also try different stuffing options such as cellophane, bubble wrap, crumpled up paper, or even regular grass and leaves.

Extra tips:
Make a few different varieties of toys and rotate them every few days. Cautionary note: Catnip can make some cat's 'inner tiger' surface; if your cat becomes over-stimulated and aggressive with catnip, do not use it.

Avoid using items/toys that your cat could choke on or swallow. Also avoid leaving out any string items when your cat is not supervised.

This document created by the San Francisco SPCA with a grant from Maddie's Fund®M.

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