Pedigree imagery
How to Create an Enriching Environment for Your Kitten
How to Create an Enriching Environment for Your Kitten

adp_description_block274
How to Create an Enriching Environment for Your Kitten

Kittens are curious, energetic fluffballs with boundless energy. A safe, enriching environment can cater to your kitten’s playful side, stimulate them physically and mentally, and benefit their health and development for the rest of their life.

 

Tips for Creating a Safe, Enriching Environment for Kittens

Keeping your kitten indoors has significant benefits because it protects them from a large number of dangers. But without all the sights, sounds and smells of nature, a kitten needs other ways to stimulate their mind and body.

 

To build your kitten an enriching environment, provide them with safe places for hiding and resting, like window ledges, carriers or perches. Your kitten should feel protected in their safe spots and may prefer an enclosed resting area. While kittens spend a great deal of their time sleeping, their periods of wakefulness can and should be used to stimulate psychological and physical activity.

 

It’s important to create stimulating places for entertainment and play, as well. Cats can benefit from spaces at different vertical levels, like cat trees and perches. A variety of scratching posts can teach your kitten appropriate scratching while nurturing their natural instincts, and protect your furniture and carpet from their sharp claws.

 

Many cats also benefit from social activity with other cats, especially if they were introduced to other cats early in life. Providing your kitten with another kitten or young cat as a play buddy can help meet their need for near-constant play and motion. Keep in mind that cats put a premium on managing space, so it’s important that multiple-cat homes offer a variety of places to hide, sleep and observe, using both the horizontal and vertical dimensions.

 

Engaging Games and Toys for Kittens

An important component to enriching your kitten’s environment is socialization and play, especially if your kitten is the only animal in the household. A kitten’s natural predator-play behavior is usually easy to stimulate with interactive toys, such as wand toys or balls to pounce on or chase.

 

Games for Kittens

Playing kitten games with your pet helps them develop coordination and natural hunting skills. It also can help them learn boundaries and develop a bond with their new owner. Aim for 10 to 15 minutes of structured playtime two or three times a day. One way to prevent the “nighttime crazies” is to engage in active, vigorous play before feeding your kitten at bedtime. This helps wear out the kitten before bed and mimics the natural hunting-feeding-grooming-sleeping sequence in cats.

 

Engaging games to play with your kitten include:

 

  • Hide and seek: Call your kitten to you; this may be easiest at mealtime. When your kitten comes running, move to a different room and call again. Reward them for finding you with a fun toy or treat.
  • Fetch: Toss a toy across the floor for your kitten to chase. When they “catch” the toy, call them back to you. If they bring the toy back to you, reward them with praise or treats to reinforce the behavior.
  • Paper bag prey: Place a paper shopping bag on its side, and gently scratch the sides or put a toy inside to encourage your kitten inside. Poke and scratch the outside of the bag while your kitten happily pursues the unknown “prey.”

 

Keeping a Kitten Entertained While Alone

A greater challenge is providing enrichment opportunities for kittens when a person or another pet is not present to interact with them. Puzzle toys are one option to fight kitten boredom. These toys come in a variety of designs to entertain your kitten and reward her with a treat or food, such as  IAMS™ Proactive Health™ Mother and Kitten. This offers twofold benefits, providing play and proper nutrition for supporting a kitten’s energy and playtime.

 

Kittens and cats will spend a great deal of time watching the outside world through windows, especially if there’s a bird feeder or butterfly garden within view. Make sure to keep at least one window blind open — especially if it looks out on an area with frequent movement and activity. There are also a number of “cat TV” videos of squirrels, birds and other nature scenes available online to keep a cat entertained.

 

Providing your kitten with enrichment opportunities helps prevent stress and the development of abnormal behaviors. Growing from a kitten into a cat in an enriched environment with lots of physical and psychological exercise supports the overall well-being of your pet at all stages of her life.

 

  • Is Your Cat a Picky Eater? Try These Cat Feeding Tips!
    Is Your Cat a Picky Eater? Try These Cat Feeding Tips!

    adp_description_block281
    Is Your Cat a Picky Eater? Try These Cat Feeding Tips!

    Cats are known for being a bit choosey about what they will and won’t do. And a little pickiness is fine when it comes to picking out toys and napping spots! But if your cat is or becomes extra-selective about what they’ll eat, it’s time to pay attention and perhaps talk to your vet. You and your vet know your cat best, so it’s always worth checking in if you think your cat isn’t eating enough and want their professional advice.

     

    Start by paying close attention to what your cat is eating and how they behave. This information will help you, your household and your vet work together to make sure your cat is living and eating well.

     

    Feeding Tips for the Truly Finicky Cat 

    Pay Attention to All the Cat Treats 

    Is your cat begging for table scraps or holding out on eating until you offer treats? Extras like these can be very disruptive to your cat’s appetite and diet. Think about them like snacks or desserts for you — tasty cravings that are easy to fill up on. A small portion may not seem like much, but it can make a big different for a cat-sized digestive system!

     

    Try dialing back how much you treat your cat to tasty extras and see if their interest in the food bowl starts to return. Remember, it’s generally all right for cats to skip a few meals, but if they haven’t eaten for 24-36 hours it’s time to call the vet (even if they’ve continued drinking water).

     

    Review Your Cat’s Food Routine 

    Humans often crave variety in their meals, but for cats, routine is king. It’s not likely they’d avoid their regular food out of boredom with it, but if you’ve recently changed the kind of food, the number of feedings or the times you feed your cat, they may be avoiding eating as a response.

     

    It's a good idea to change your cat’s diet gradually (unless your vet advises otherwise). Pickiness can often be resolved by helping your cat adjust and get comfortable with their updated diet!

     

    Help Your Cat Relax While Feeding 

    If your cat starts eating less, you may want to look for factors that could be causing stress. Seemingly unrelated changes to their environment can shift your cat’s stress levels enough to impact their interest in food. Has another animal or person joined or left the household? Has your cat been adapting to new surroundings due to a move or renovation? As the stress of that change begins to subside, your cat will probably go back to a normal diet.

     

    Talk to your vet about good ideas for reducing your cat’s stress levels and share any concerns you have about their diet then too. You’re both on the same team, so work together to help your cat feel better!

Copyright © Mars 2022, Trademark of Mars Incorporated and its affiliates