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Environmental Enrichment and Social Interaction with Cats

Environmental Enrichment and Social Interaction with Cats

Portrait of Chinese young girl play with her cat at home in sunny afternoon, happy pets lifestyle.

Many people adopt cats because they believe they are less labor intensive in terms of care requirements than dogs. While in most cases this is true, it does not mean that they don't have physical and social needs! To avoid behavior problems, be sure to enrich your indoor cat's environment. Daily exercise periods can do wonders to burn off your cat's excess steam and prevent the development of unwanted behaviors. Five to 10 minutes once or twice per day may be all that's needed depending upon your cat's energy level and desire to interact. An unoccupied cat will find its own means of entertainment and rest assured it won't be your first choice for occupational therapy! Provide an appropriate release for your cat's predatory tendencies by playing games with a feather wand, laser light or other such objects that your cat can "hunt."

Believe it or not, many cats respond well to training, especially when the click and treat method of training is used. You can teach your cat simple tricks such as "sit," "come," "high 5" and jumping on stools on command to complex tricks such as turning off lights and navigating an agility course.

Engaging your cat in interactive aerobic play and training sessions will go a long way to solidifying your relationship and making for a behaviorally-healthy feline friend. Cat videos, bird feeders within view, cat grasses, rotated toys, vertical perches and a myriad of other cat entertainment devices can be found at your local pet store or in pet catalogs. Your cat needs a break from excessive solitary snooze time and rotating toys and entertainment devices on a daily basis can keep your cat interested and independently occupied when you're away from home.

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Dr. Borns-Weil says...

Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM, DACVB

Dr. Borns-Weil, DVM, DACVB

Board-Certified Animal Behaviorist

To avoid behavior problems, be sure to enrich your indoor cat's environment.