Gizmodo had an article about the benefits of toys that force an indoor cat to earn their food. They’re part of what are frequently called “enrichment toys,” toys that involve more critical thinking than “I want to murder this toy shaped like a mouse.”
It made me think that I should probably talk about my personal favorite cat enrichment toy.
My husband and I bought one of these while visiting a pet boutique in Nashville. I have yet to find them at PetSmart or Petco, and besides small independently run Pet Shops, they’re available on Amazon or Chewy. If you can find them in a mom n pop Pet Store, I encourage you to buy it there even if it’s a few bucks cheaper on Amazon. Support local, and all.
It’s made of solid wood, with holes on all sides. The solid wood part is wonderful, because if you have as many cats as I do, toys have a short life span. We’ve probably gone through more cat trees, ramp scratchers, scratching posts, etc than the average person, but this one box purchased 6 years ago has withstood the test of time, and will continue to.
The box initially comes with two rubber balls. This is enriching to the cat because the cat really wants those balls, and needs to stick its paws in the holes to dig those balls out. Simple, but it engages your pet, keeps them less bored, and consequently less destructive. You can sprinkle catnip in the box if the cat isn’t initially interested in the toys inside.
We also use the box when our cats were impatient for meal time. If your cats like to punch you, get in your way, yell at you, and so on when they’re hungry before their designated meal time, throw some dry food in the box. The cats will be distracted until meal time, trying to fish the individual pieces out of the box.
Our third use, and not sure if it was designed as an intended use, is at a cat toy box. With the many cats that come through, there are several cat toys that become littered throughout our house. As with children, you accidentally step on one, and ouch. Children have toy boxes, so why can’t cats? We put all the balls, crinkles, mice, and other toys inside the box when we’re house cleaning. It’s a good storage method, and when the cats realize there are ‘new’ toys in the box, they get to work fishing them all out. More enrichment.
Article Link: Cats are Happier and Healthier When you Make Them Work