Quick ideas for enrichment

by Sharon Kutsop

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Ensuring your adoptable pets have proper enrichment and stimulation can significantly reduce the stress and boredom of kenneled life. This not only improves the quality of life for these animals, but they are also more likely to present themselves better to the public.

It may seem very simple, but adding elevated spaces to your cattery for cats to perch on goes a long way. It is very natural for cats to want to both perch up high and hide in a soothing, dark and private area. Diseases such as feline upper respiratory infections can be activated by stress, so reducing the stress for your cats is vital to the health and well-being of the entire colony by controlling outbreaks of URI. Kuranda makes an elevated bed for kenneled cats, and as a Petfinder member you can even register your organization for their Donate A Bed program in addition to receiving discounts on direct orders just for being a Petfinder member! If you are looking to benefit your cats with hiding spaces as well, you can use a simple cardboard box to do the trick. Plenty of boxes are usually readily available at local retailers, and especially from large outlet bulk stores.

Once you cut a door in the box, you have a nice, dark hiding spot – or the cats can sit on top.

After cutting a hole into the box, your cats are now able to sit on top of it or climb inside of it for a safe hiding spot. If you would like them beautified, you can even ask local organizations such as boy and girl scouts to decorate the boxes for you as a project.

Another quick and inexpensive suggestion to add enrichment for kenneled dogs and cats is to appeal to senses other than sight and taste. Playing calming music paired with the addition of new scents can have heavy calming effects by stimulating the olfactory and auditory senses, which are commonly overlooked. Essences such as lavender and vanilla are both pleasant to the visitors and calming to the pets. You can dilute different scents in water in a spray bottle and spritz it throughout the kennels and cattery. Rotating between classical music and sounds of nature can have very positive calming effects.