April 27, 2016

Outdoor Enrichment Options For Cats

Author: Kristin Skelton


Indoor Cats Might Need Outdoor Enrichment To Improve Quality Of Life.

According to Dr. Karen Becker “Most people owned by a cat don’t realize their favorite feline is actually a captive animal…Your kitty, especially if he lives entirely indoors…can be loosely compared to a zoo animal held in captivity.”

Since the introduction of cat litter in the 1940s most cats are spending all of their time indoors. This is generally a safer environment for pet cats because it negates contact with many diseases and parasites as well as environmental dangers such as:

  • Cars
  • Trees (i.e. getting stuck in one)
  • Dogs and wild animals
  • Animal cruelty (think black cats on Halloween), and
  • Toxins and poisons.

On the opposite side of those benefits, it is also true that cats love to be outside to hunt, run and enjoy the great outdoors. For that reason many cat owners feel guilty about keeping their cat cooped up inside and building up their cabin fever.

Here are some ways that you can bring some of the excitement of the outdoors to your indoor cat and add to their quality of life.

Catios. Catios or outdoor cat enclosures are all the rage these days. Think of a safe series of tunnels and outdoor spaces for your cat to crawl through, climb on and be close to nature. Enclosures can be homemade or purchased and should include some furniture, a rook for climbing as well as a water bowl and some shade. Catbitats has some very cool pre-made kits and for the DIY crew Catio Spaces has some fun plans as well.

Cat Fencing. Some kitty parents choose to fence in their yard with kitty-proof fencing more like they do with a fenced-in backyard for a dog. Several companies create fencing that works with a cat’s natural jumping abilities to ultimately keep them in their own yard. This can also be a great way to give your cat that time outdoors without filling your yard with a series of cat tunnels. Purrfect Fence is a great place to start your fencing plans.

Cat Walking. A service provided by Floofins & Co. that can also help break up the indoor blues is our Cat Walking Service. Cats can actually be trained to walk on a harness and leash which can be very fun as there are always different places to explore on a walk. Neighbors also tend to marvel at watching a kitty out for a walk. Check out our article on Cat Walking for more tips on how to train and prepare your cat for leash walking.

Whether you choose cat walking, an outdoor enclosure/catio or add cat-proof fencing to your yard, remember that these are best used only when you are at home and outdoors with your cats or able to check on them often.

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