by Barbara George,Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
Cats need more than food and a safe environment to keep them happy – they need to keep their minds and bodies active too. Catching prey requires logic, calculation, and physical activity while staying safe requires an understanding of every aspect of their territory and the ability to use this knowledge and their bodies to climb, dig, and run.
Creating a similar natural environment at home is not feasible, so we have to build alternative activities into their lives to simulate these natural activities, to satisfy their mental, physical and emotional needs. Boredom is a common cause of behaviour issues – cats that take the initiative to create their own activities usually do things we don’t like. Lack of stimulation can cause cognitive dysfunction, similar to Alzheimer’s disease, in cats of all ages.
Entertainment is done in a period of time during the day, where enrichment involves the whole environment, all day, every day. We entertain our cats when we play with them or provide a means for them to play or have an interesting activity, such as watching the birds. Enrichment gives the cat opportunities to find and make their own entertainment according to their needs or ideas for that moment.
Enrichment involves each of the cat’s senses; smell, sight, hearing, taste, touch and instinct, as well as territory. This may sound like a big challenge, but it can be achieved in even the smallest home.
A happy cat is more likely to live longer and to be healthy. Cats of all ages should be active; those with arthritis or disabilities merely need suitable activities designed for them.
Luckily, cats can be amused, entertained, and enriched, quite simply; while there are marvellous items that can be purchased, however, there are just as many that can be created using items already in the house, or easily and reasonably obtainable.
To contact Barbara, please email firstname.lastname@example.org