Do you have a cat or two or…? Good for you. There are a lot of cats out there that need homes. Do you keep your cat indoors? That’s another plus on your side as indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats. HOWEVER, as caretakers for our indoor cats we have a large responsibility—especially if you have just one cat.
I don’t remember a time when I had just one cat. It’s been years and years. We lost Sophie this year and Olivia is alone for the first time in her life. I think it’s been hard on her, so we’ve attempted to step up our way of interacting with her and caring for her. What does this mean? Well, she seems to need more attention and more enrichment.
We’ve added routines and rituals to our days with Olivia—more playtime, more petting/snuggle time, more grooming, more chit-chat (Olivia is a talker—but only when she seems to have something to say).
We have “window time” throughout the day and evening, where we make a production of opening a window (only when we’re going to be in the room with her) so she can sit on the sill or sofa or desk and watch birds, cars, people, children, dogs… I shout, “Olivia, want window?” and here she comes to my office or the living room. Note: Our windows have screens, but cats have been known to knock out screens, so that’s why we supervise window time.) We also have “feather time.” (I worry about her chewing on her ostrich feather and getting pieces stuck in her mouth or throat.) And we have “chase time,” where I toss things down the hallway and Olivia chases them—slipping and sliding along the way. She’s also sometimes in the mood to jump and catch wads of paper we toss, then there’s bed-making time, floor dusting time…Oh yes, I get a lot of help around here.
Enrichment is important for any cat, especially a young “only pet.” As you know, just like a human, a cat is more than just a ball of fur and a beautiful fixture for our home. They have needs and requirements for health and well-being beyond being fed and petted. And, as the title on a friend’s book clearly states, “Animals Have Feelings Too.”
Here are a couple of site presenting ideas for social enrichment for your cat. Let me know if you picked up any ideas and made any changes in your home.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find Olivia and play hide-the-treat-and-seek, with her. (Pix Oliviabottle3, Oliviaenrichment, oliviaenrichment2)