Do you feel your cat is bored? The living environment of cats is sometimes poor in occupations and little stimulating compared to the outside environment. This is especially true for cats living in apartments. Cats often spend their time sleeping, eating, meowing, some become aggressive or develop behavioral problems... You should know that it is possible to enrich your cat's environment in order to keep it busy, meet its needs and make it happy.
The living environment of cats has changed a lot in the last decades. Indeed, a third of cats live in apartments and therefore no longer have access to the outdoors. In the wild, cats spend much of their time hunting prey (up to 20 prey items per day). In the city, cats do not hunt and often eat their food quickly.
Although apartment living is a far cry from the original lifestyle of cats, it is possible to enrich their environment and meet their needs in an apartment. A cat can be quite happy even if it does not have access to the outdoors. It is rare that a cat does not get used to living indoors (with the exception of cats that have always lived outdoors and move to an apartment: this is called cat anxiety in a closed environment).
What are my cat's needs?
To make your cat happy, it is important to meet its natural needs. Not meeting your cat's needs can lead to boredom, bulimia, aggression, stereotypies, etc...
First of all, the cat needs to receive a complete and balanced food, whose distribution is as close as possible to its natural feeding behavior. It is also important to provide cats with a sufficient number of litter boxes so that they can relieve themselves.
Cats also need to hunt. A cat whose environment does not allow it to express its predatory needs may show aggression towards its owners: this is called predatory aggression.
Cats also need to do their claws, it is a natural behavior of cats. Therefore, there is no need to scold your cat if it does its claws in your home, but you should find solutions to redirect them.
There are other needs: climbing, observation, appropriation of their environment (facial marking), grooming, etc...
How to meet your cat's needs and keep him from getting bored?
Bi-nutrition is strongly recommended for cats, it has many benefits for them, from a young age: improved satiety, reduced risk of urinary problems, etc... We invite you to read our sheet on bi-nutrition for more information.
It is recommended to give the food in several small meals per day and to give the kibbles the rest of the day in a toy dispenser or on an activity tray. This will keep the cats busy for several hours a day and they will have many small meals, just like in the wild.
When it comes to litter boxes, it's important to provide one more than the number of cats in the household, and to place them in quiet, easily accessible areas for the cats. If there are not enough litter boxes or if they are not suitable for the animal, then this can lead to litter problems.
Scratching posts should be strategically placed for cats to use (in front of the areas they scratch, not in a corner of the room).
Finally, for your cat's well-being, don't forget to enrich its environment with cat trees, toys, high observation posts (in front of a window, for example), hiding places, etc. Don't hesitate to play regularly with your cat: this will increase its physical activity, keep it busy, soothe it and prevent it from taking you for its prey...