4 Eco-Friendly Ways to Enrich Your Cat’s Environment
Do you get bored? How do you know when your cat feels bored, just like we do? Cats may sleep more (and they already sleep a LOT!). If you free feed leaving out food all the time, a bored cat fills up their empty feelings with a full tummy. Or, they may act out by scratching the wrong object, or–in my Karma-Kat’s case, he torments the dog. You can help that with an eco friendly house.
I’m a huge proponent of environmental enrichment for cats. Think about it–while dogs more typically get outings with walks in the park or car rides, we keep cats safe inside. No wonder they get bored. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, think about some eco-friendly ways to enrich your cat’s environment.
You don’t have to spend a bunch of money, either, or a lot of time. Here are some easy and fun “green” projects to try and see if that turns on the kitty purrs.
Set up a bird feeder or bird bath
It’s no secret that cats like birdwatching. Here in North Texas, we have all kinds of critters visit the back garden, and Karma-Kat sits in the stained glass windows watching hummingbirds, cardinals, bunnies, and squirrels. One spring, we had baby skunks, what fun!
A bird feeder or bird bath are exciting and easy ways to give your cat some mental stimulation and to give the birds some TLC. Make sure to place the feeders or baths outside the windows your cat already loves sitting in front of. Place them very close to the window, or attach to the glass, to make high-speed window strikes less likely.
Build a box or paper bag cat tunnel
What’s the deal with cats and boxes? If I fits, I sits...right? Cats also love hiding spots where they can ambush each other, and the crinkly sound of paper proves irresisible. Shy cats benefit from tunnels, too, so they can travel from here —> to there, without other cats (or the dog) watching.
Set up empty paper bags for your cat to discover and play hide and seek. Leave boxes out and drop in a treat here and there for a fun discovery. You can tape several bags or boxes together to create an eco-friendly tunnel, too. Placing boxes on different levels encourages your cat to get off his furry tail and move.
Create a DIY cat leaf pit
Bring some outdoors inside. Cats love to sniff and bite to explore their world, but get little opportunity to visit the backyard. Once you have boxes collected, surprise your cat with a leaf pit. Fill the empty box with fresh or dried leaves, or pet-safe flowers, so that he can climb inside, roll around, and have a sniff-aholic good time. Have some fresh catnip? Oh boy, now the games can begin!
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Take a walk!
Ok, your kitty may or may not be into this one, but she just might surprise you. Karma-Kat has a pet stroller, and I wasn’t sure he’d enjoy that. And he loves it! So recently, we took the next step, fitted his cat walking jacket, and hit the patio pavement in the back garden. He wants to go sniff the weeds, get his paws damp, claw the trees, and has a wonderful time–all safely at the end of a leash. Oh, if you have issues with stray cats in your garden, refer to these tips.
Lately, I’ve taken steps to become more eco-friendly. We now use a LOMI to recycle food waste that goes directly into the flower garden. And since our cats are close to nature, it makes sense to give them the opportunity for some eco-friendly enrichment. So are you ready to try one of these options? Let me know in the comments!
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!