Enrichment strategies for your cat- more ways for a cat friendly
, copyright (c) 2021 Frania Shelley-Grielen. All rights reserved.

What are the best ways to create a cat friendly home? Cat lovers when was the last
time you made sure your cat was happy at home? Your feline companions can stay
indoors all the time; make sure to create an environment for them that is both
enriching and comfortable.

Begin with your personal relationship with your pet.  While the perception of
the cat as a solitary being may persist, new research continues to show that cats are
social creatures with affiliates and relationships that allow for extended family
situations raising young and hunting. Cats benefit from time spent with select other
cats and the same holds true for time spent with people.   Interaction with humans is
a key component of your cat’s environment and may help to substitute for
interactions with the outside environment and other cats.  The closer your relation-
ship with your cat the longer and more pronounced your contact.  Studies show that
when cats initiate the communication the duration is much longer than when
initiated by a human.  Get closer to your pet by offering petting (focusing  on the
head just as another cat would), grooming or playing.

Always, always avoid any sort of punishment with cats – this includes spraying with
water, scolding, lecturing or physical force of any kind.  Punishment serves only to
create fear and distrust.  Think what you would like your cat to do instead and make
sure they have the set up/places to do them.  Keep reading for more on how to do just

Interactive play is an incredibly bonding experience between owner and cat. Play is
also both rewarding in its own right and necessary as an activity that just might
satisfy a cat's natural predatory instincts.  John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis writing
about how cat play mirrors hunting behavior note:  "This overlap between play and
hunting opens up the intriguing possibility that owners may be able to satisfy cats'
predatory instincts simply by playing with them."  Use fishing wand toys, “cat
dancers” or pieces of string, etc., all with a human on the other end.  Offer play for
at least 5 minutes in the morning and in the evening.

Cat toys and catnip Toys are important for cats too, cat nip scented toys appeal to
some  cats while fur mice are a universal cat hit requiring only a paw to propel.  
Loose cat nip can be rubbed onto scratchers, cat towers or beds.  Do not forget to also
leave cat toys such as fur mice that rattle, balls and other objects for solitary play
when you are not around.

Provide puzzle food feeders for problem solving, fun and to indulge natural
behaviors.  Feeding a portion of your cat's diet this way is a huge positive for your
cat's activity budget spent on the things cats want to do, offers choice and control
over environment, stimulates neural activity and is intrinsically fun and satisfying.  
Studies show that cats who have access to food on an ongoing basis are less likely to
exhibit stress related behaviors such as pica or ingesting foreign objects.  

When it comes to water, make sure it is fresh, away from food bowls and think
about cat fountains.  In a natural environment cats avidly prefer running water
-one of the reasons an open faucet is such a cat magnet.  Cats also drink away from
prey they are consuming or storing.  This serves as a built in instinct not to
contaminate water sources.   

Remember, cats being cats need to scratch.  Scratching feels good, flexes muscles
and sharpens claws.  Confine scratching to acceptable areas by providing scratch
boards for your pet in areas they will likely use them in.  Corrugated cardboard cat
scratchers are intensely satisfying, think of at least two or three, one in every other
room.  Rubbing in dried catnip or applying catnip spray to the scratchers will
increase their cat appeal.

Cats spend a good part of their day time sleeping so make sure to provide soft,
comfortable areas such as fleece pads or cat beds; of course, nothing may match a
favorite spot on your very own bed.  Cats, like dogs, have a highly developed sense
of smell and the scent of their favored human guardian is particularly comforting
(making your linens particularly attractive for your cat).   In multiple cat families
cats may share preferred resting spots, either by taking turns or at the same time
if their relationship is a friendly one.

Your cat's resting spaces should have at least three sides at ground level
and be at a higher vantage point to provide your cat comfort and security.
The natural behavior of a cat is to seek higher spaces to survey their environment
or to be concealed.  Counter-tops and table tops can be the default when alternate
necessary spaces are not provided.   Allow for cat's dedicated spaces with cat baskets '
or beds, perches, window seats and cat towers.  Ideal is at least two different resting
areas per cat, one at ground level and one raised for maximum contentment and to
lessen stress especially where multiple cats are at home.  Cats are not known for
reconciling conflict through negotiation strategies preferring retreat  and
time to develop tolerance.  This predilection leads to solitary down time or at least
time out of each other’s line of sight.

Increasing horizontal and vertical surface area for a cat to utilize amplifies
and enriches your pets living area.
 Cat towers offer multiple levels for cat
interaction but finding floor space for cat furniture in tight quarters may be
unrealistic in a city where space is at a premium.  Cat shelves offer a space solution
that maximizes additional  vertical cat resting areas without using precious floor
space.  Placing a cat house, or cat  bed on a dresser can also be a great solution.  Do
make sure to survey the area for the most cat friendly access and placement.  Next
to a window, in a corner of a room are usually ideal.  Think how easily the cat can
get to the raised area along with where a cat might have the best vantage point for
looking out as well as feel the safest and least exposed.

Classical music. Studies have found that exposure to classical music is beneficial
for many animals including cats while exposure to rap, heavy metal and other
discordant music is not.  Play classical music at a level slightly lower than you
would find comfortable keeping in mind the cats superior sense of hearing.  Leaving
a classical radio station on especially when you are not home adds in the soothing
voices of those velvet toned announcers for positive associations and comfort.

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"Interaction with humans is a
key component of your cat’s
environment and may help to
substitute for interactions with
the outside environment and
other cats.  The closer your
relationship with your cat the
longer and more pronounced
your contact." 
Copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen)
Be feline friendly- approach from the side and pet along the muzzle
(copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen) Approach
from the side and pet your cat in the
areas cat prefer-behind ears and along
the muzzle
Ask me about a consultation
Provide plenty of raised resting spaces in the right places
(copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen) Cat tower and
bench placed next to a window with
extended and carpeted window ledge
cats love feeling safe in a bed, three sides is key
(Elliot Amiel) Cats love feeling secure in their
dens or the bathroom sink, why a cat bed
with at least three raised sides is preferred
Cats feel safer when able to survey the scene from higher up
(copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen) Cat shelf over a
couch for easy just-a-leap access
How to
make a cat
212-722-2509 / 646-228-7813

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The cat friendly home offers the opportunity for total relaxation

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