Without anything to keep them entertained and engaged, cats can become bored, restless, and stressed. As a loving cat parent, that’s the last thing you want. Luckily, there are plenty of DIY cat enrichment ideas you can add to your home.
By providing your cat with a variety of exciting and stimulating activities and items, you can help them remain a happy, healthy kitty. We’re going to cover seven cat enrichment ideas you or your cat sitter can try out at home.
What is Cat Enrichment?’
Although cats can spend hours lying around, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to do anything else.
Cat enrichment is the process of altering your cat’s environment and providing activities so cats remain engaged and stimulated. This prevents them from becoming stressed, anxious, and bored.
Enrichment activities engage one or more of your cat’s senses. For example, playing with an interactive feeder you will engage their sense of touch, sight, sense, and smell!
DIY Cat Enrichment Ideas
Now that we’ve covered the basics of cat enrichment, we’re going to cover some easy ways you can add some excitement to your cat’s life. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it is a great place to start. Since there are so many different ways to provide enrichment, don’t be discouraged if your cat seems uninterested in any of these activities.
Create a Cat Tunnel or House
We all know cats love boxes. If you have a cardboard box lying around your house, chances are good your cat will find it and claim it as their own.
To up the interest of the cardboard box, you can get a bit creative and turn it into a tunnel or house.
To build a tunnel simply open up two ends of the box to form a passageway your kitty can explore. For added enrichment, connect multiple boxes together to make a longer tunnel.
To build a house, find a box your cat can comfortably fit in. Cut out some holes for doors and windows. Not only will this house provide your cat a new place to explore, but it will also serve as a refuge where they will feel safe and protected.
Put on Cat TV
Most cats love watching birds or squirrels at a feeder outside. But if you don’t have access to a perfect window for birdwatching, don’t worry!
Plan a Food Scavenger Hunt
To help your cat flex its hunting muscles, ditch the bowl at mealtime. Instead, put your cat in a room for a minute, and hide your cat’s food (or some tasty treats) at a few locations around your house.
Once you are done hiding the food, you can let your cat out to find it! Depending on your cat’s food drive, he or she may need a bit of help at first. But if you keep practicing this over time, your cat will eventually be able to search for their food on their own.
Create a Toilet Paper Roll Toy
Another way to add enrichment to mealtimes is with the humble toilet paper roll. Once you have an empty roll, fold in both ends and seal with non-toxic glue. When you’re done, you should have a hollow cylinder.
Next, poke a few small holes into the tube using a pen or knife. The hole should be just a little bit bigger than your cat’s dry food or treats.
Once you have the holes, add some tasty food to the tube. Your cat will have to work swatting and batting the tube to release the food inside.
Work on Tricks
Yes, you can teach a cat tricks. If someone tells you otherwise, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Working to teach your cat new tricks will not only keep them from becoming bored, but it will also strengthen the bond the two of you share.
One way to get started with training is by using a clicker that makes a distinct noise. Each time your cat does what you want, you click and then give them one of their favorite treats.
Some beginner tricks to work on include targeting the end of a long stick with their nose, sitting, or jumping onto a specific box.
Take Your Cat Outdoors
There are a few different ways you can safely let your cat explore the smells and textures of the outdoors.
You can take your cat outside on a leash, making sure they are comfortable with the harness or collar they are wearing. If you have a yard you often hang out in, opt for a longer leash so your cat can explore while you relax nearby.
Another option is to take your cat outside in a stroller. Reluctant kitties will feel safe in this sheltered area, yet they will still be able to experience the sights and sounds present.
Provide a Comfortable Window Lookout
To help your cat get a taste of the outdoors without actually heading outside, create a spot where they can comfortably look out a window. For added enrichment, add a bird feeder outside of this window.
If you have a window at ground level, place a bed or house where your cat can sit and look out the window. If you have a taller window, move a cat tower or perch near the window so your cat can comfortably look outside.
Get Started With Cat Enrichment
Now that you have a list of DIY cat enrichment activities, you can get started at home. By keeping your cat engaged and active, you will keep them happy and healthy.