Cats and kennel enrichment go together like—well, like dogs and kennel enrichment. It's just as important to have a stimulating enrichment plan for the cats in your care, and it's surprisingly easy and affordable.
Plus, check this out: Research from the ASPCA's Adoption Center in New York City shows that people spend more time watching cats who have toys in their cages than those who don’t—and it doesn’t matter whether the cat is even playing with the toy.
Here are seven tips to help provide your felines with relaxation and fun without dipping into your budget.
Keep Paper Bags Front & Center
Not only are they tons of fun to pounce on and scoot, but they come with an added bonus: They provide a hiding place. Cats need to be able to hide, and studies show that cats who have that freedom are more likely to approach the front of the cage.
Raid the Recycling Bin
It’s great that you remember to toss your used paper into the recycling bin, but don’t forget to wad some of it up and toss it to the kitties for pouncing and swatting.
Smoke Out the Pipe Cleaners
You can make chains out of pipe cleaners—or have volunteers make them—and hang them in front of cages. You can also let kitties bat them around.
Save Kitchen Throwaways
Wine corks, milk caps and paper towel rolls that have been cut into manageable sizes are all good toys. Ask shelter staff, volunteers and supporters to save items from home and bring them in.
Make a Kibble Puzzle
Cut holes in a small box or plastic container and put the cat's kibble inside. This can be especially appealing to cats who are motivated by food.
Make sure you rotate new toys into each cat's enclosure every day or two so they have something new and fresh to pique their interest. Remember to disinfect toys if you reuse them or send them along with the cats to their new homes.