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Environmental enrichment for cats has become the hot topic in the cat world in recent years – and that’s a really good thing.

At their core, cats are wild animals. When we invite them to share our lives and homes, we can’t expect them to completely give up all their natural instincts. We have to look at our living space from the cat’s point of view and provide an environment that satisfied those instincts.

Creating an environment that stimulates your cats’ senses and gives them opportunities to exercise their natural instincts is especially important for indoor cats. Cats need to have plenty of toys, places to hide, places to climb and perch, and things to watch. All of these needs can be met with environmental enrichment.

Each cat is an individual

Unfortunately, what occasionally gets lost in all the books and articles about and products designed for environmental enrichment is the fact that each cat is an individual with a unique personality.

Our friends at Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life put it purrfectly in their article Cat Enrichment is Not One Size Fits All! Here is What to Consider: “If you believe everything you read, you need to harness and leash train your cat, invest in cat strollers and elaborate cat trees, grow your own catnip and cat grass, and install an interactive cam so you can watch your cat, dispense treats, and play with them, all while you’re away. It sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? And the truth is, much of it is unnecessary, and some of it isn’t even right for your cat.”

What concerns me is that some cat parents may feel that they can’t possibly live up to these expectations and that they may end up feeling guilty for not doing everything the books and articles suggest, despite evidence that their cats are purrfectly happy and well adjusted.

I encourage you to read Cat Enrichment is Not One Size Fits All! Here is What to Consider.

We all want to give our cats the best possible life, and the more information we have to make that happen, the better. After all, that’s why I do what I do here on The Conscious Cat! But ultimately, you know your cat better than anyone else. By learning as much as you can, and taking your cat’s unique personality into account, you will make the best decisions for your cat’s well being.

Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

6 Comments on Environmental Enrichment is Not One Size Fits All

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. I have almost everything in my house two tall cat tree, birth feeder, toys, cat tunnel, place to hide and I’m still thinking that I’m not doing enough for them.

  2. Thank you for sharing my post! I do worry a lot about people feeling overwhelmed by all the emphasis on cat enrichment. I always like to say that the most important thing you can give your cat is quality time. And that requires NOTHING fancy at all.

  3. Thank you Ingrid for introducing me to this wonderful blog! I really enjoyed the article and will continue to read Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life. There are lots of great articles there!

    Not only do different cats enjoy different types of environmental enrichment, but I have found that over time, a cat may respond to a particular item differently. There have been many times where one of my cats will ignore a toy, food puzzle, cat tree, ect., only to enjoy using it months or even years later. If an item is ignored by my cats, I will put it away and then take it out to see if they have any interest at a later time. It’s surprising how many times a previously ignored item becomes a favorite.

  4. Pono used to love going for walks on a leash. But then he just loved going for walks and wanted to be carried. I wish I knew about cat strollers back then.

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