Most of us don’t look at our cats and think they are stressed... however, cats are very subtle at showing this. Typically what causes stress for people won’t have the same value to cats. Our feline friends are all for routine, continuity and familiarity. A mixture of the cat population will have a mixture of indoor and outdoor access... it is important that we are provided enriched environments for each area.
Cats are typically solitary creatures and will very rarely develop close relationships with other cats living in the same household or unknown cats outside... even siblings can grow apart when they hit a certain age. In some households, it is often the case that cats of a multi-household have grown to tolerate another and will often select to avoid the other cat. The team at SimplyCats are dedicated to ensuring their clients (cats) are kept healthy, both physically and mentally.
What is an enriched environment?
Well... cats have certain behavioural needs and traits that are specific to their species. These are hunting, foraging/play hunting and scent marking to name but a few.
Whether a cat is indoor or outdoor/mixed the same environment adaptations apply to every scenario. Providing your cat with the right number of resources is important (food/water bowls, litter trays, scratching poles, resting spots, hiding places and toys/puzzle feeders). It is also significant where we place these in the cat's internal environment, as we want to avoid areas where there is the most traffic (hallway/busy kitchen), keeping toilet facilities away from feeding and water resources (water and food bowls should be split too... cats struggle as they expect their water supply to be soiled by food).
The number of resources is vital and is dependent on how many cats are cohabiting. We advise one per cat plus one additional... using this “rule of thumb” you can successfully avert any competition for resources. Individuals should be fed separately from other cats, as feeding cats together could encourage bullying and antagonistic behaviour.
Cats need constant stimuli to allow natural foraging/hunting behaviour (this is a normal behavioural trait so shouldn’t be discouraged). Puzzle feeders and maze bowls can be a useful tool as this will indulge the cat's needs to hunt. It is vital that the puzzle games aren’t too difficult as this could lead to the cat getting frustrated.
Cats are distinguished climbers and crave the high life... so it is crucial to include vertical spaces (bookcases, floating shelves and ceiling bridges are fantastic furniture to consider) when designing your “purrrfect” environment. These can help aid with escape routes should things get hostile between other “habitants”.