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Catios are an outdoor cat patio; an enclosed area where cats can safely enjoy the outdoors. Every size home has room for a catio and your cat will thank you for getting them one!
You can build window box units, a giant room, or connecting pathways and enrichment areas. But where do you begin? Sometimes it's hard to conceive of an idea, and even more difficult to plan and make a materials list.
Catio Spaces has made all this easy for you! Their site is full of great ideas and inspiration and you can buy DIY Catio Plans.
Visit them at: https://catiospaces.com
Use promo code: CatTalkRadio and 10% of the sale is donated to Cat Behavior Solutions
Harness & Leash Walks
Classical Walking your cat on a leash can be great outdoor enrichment for him. You'll want to use a gradual desensitization process for getting him used to the harness. I sell the best (secure and lightweight) harness and leash system in the Behavior Boutique here.
I've created a video to show how the Come With Me Kitty harness and leash system is put on. It can be overwhelming and seem complicated when you first take it out of the box. I've tried to ease your stress with this how-to instructional.
Walking your cat on a leash can be great outdoor enrichment for him. You'll want to use a gradual desensitization process for getting him used to the harness. I sell the best (secure and lightweight) harness and leash system in the Behavior Boutique here.
If your cat does not need the exercise, or is very uncomfortable with the harness, you can opt to take him out for a stroller walk. Remember, real men push cats in strollers! ;)
Outdoor Play Pen
If you can't build a catio for your cat, I recommend taking him outside with you (as long as he's comfortable) when you garden, etc. An enclosed play pen is an ideal way to have him near you and also safe from predators.
As long as you don't have outside cats tormenting your feline, a window perch is an excellent way for him to safely get enrichment from the outdoors - especially when you aren't home.
I like this one because it holds up to 60# and is nicer looking than some of the less expensive models.
Arguably, there is no better enrichment for a cat than clicker training! The process simulates their natural behavior of expending energy to get food. It provides mental stimulation and increases the bond you share with your cat.
Molly often does clicker training classes - sign up to receive our emails to be notified of the class schedule.
iCalm Cat Music Classical music can calm your cat. But take that a step further and get music that has been scientifically modulated to remove all stress causing frequencies. And yes, it still sounds like relaxing music to us too. I use it when doing shelter cat work and it really works! The iCalm Cat unit comes with the music card loaded and wireless speaker all in one unit. Very cool. You need one. Or two.
Cat Self Grooming Tool
Your kitty will LOVE this corner groomer. This is a great way for you to encourage group scenting in a multi-cat household. The comb comes with catnip to attract them and they love the feel of the teeth against their face and chin. Easy installation - you can either screw it in the wall (screws included) or stick with double sided tape (also included.) Install on corners right outside of feeding and litter box areas. Cats tend to scent their pathway through the home - especially paths leading to their resources.
TALL Cat Tree Cats need to be able to get up to high spaces. Get a really tall cat tree. This one is great, as the upper bed platforms are above human head height. And there are multiple high beds, making it great for a multi-cat household.
Honoring your cat's need to have alone time, out of reach of human hands (and dogs and other pets) will make your cat seek you out for affection more often.
I recommend making the tall cat tree "sacred cat ground"; an area where you do not reach for your cat - they are able to be on the cat tree on their own terms.
TALL Scratching Post Notice a tall theme here? Scratching posts need to be as tall as your cat. I own this one shown to the right that is 35" tall and I love it - more importantly, Tabasco loves it! Cats need to be able to get a full back stretch when they use a scratching post - or they are not likely to use it; they'll opt for the back of your sofa, or chair instead. Combine this with the Feiliway Scratch Attractant shown below under deterrents.
Decorator Cat Trees
Not everyone wants a carpeted cat tree in their living room. Understandable. There are some very stylish options available these days - some not as tall as I'd like to see them, but here are some good looking options.
Prey Play is SUPER important for the health and well-being of your cat. Click here to read more about why. Below are several of the most popular prey play toys. Try several until you find the one your cat likes the most - all cats are different!
Go Cat Catcher Is a great toy for cats in shelter kennels. The wire makes it easy to maneuver in small spaces. The mouse on the end is very durable and long-lasting.
The Cat Dancer Cats need interactive play every day. This does not mean you throwing out toys and hoping they'll play by themselves. Prey Play requires you to be on the other end the toy making it move like natural prey. This entails pulling it around corners, out of sight. Flipping it up in the air, etc.
The Cat Dancer is a good choice for many cats. The metal construction lasts a long time.
Da Bird Cats This is one of the most popular cat toys; favored by trainers everywhere. If you are working in a shelter setting, this toy works best in group rooms; the string makes it harder to maneuver in kennel spaces. See the Go Cat Catcher for kenneled cats above.
Feather Wand Toy Cats have differing preferences on type of wand toys they like. Some like mice at the end, some feathers. So buy a few to test what is their favorite. Keep wand toys out of sight when not playing with them so your cat doesn't lose interest.
Feather Crinkle Paper Wand
There is something about the sound of the crinkle paper with the smell of the feathers that drives cats WILD for this wand toy.
Mylar Crinkle Balls
These are GREAT cat toys. So simple and inexpensive. Kittens especially like these. Squish them in your hand to make the crinkly noise and then toss them across the floor and watch your cat scamper after them.
Food Puzzle Cats in the wild spend 6 hours a day hunting and when we feed them meals they don't have to work for, pent-up energy builds, which can result in behavior changes. Food puzzles are one of the best mental stimulators you can provide for your cat. We sell a couple in the Behavior Boutique and there are more complex ones like this Catit Digger and Food Tree.
Pheromone Diffuser Cats will feel more calm when you plug in a pheromone diffuser. It is not a magic wand that can change your cat's behavior by itself, but when used/layered with other calming products and enrichment strategies, along with behavior modification plans, it really helps.
I recommend using the multi cat diffuser, not the classic. The pheromones are slightly different and I find this to be more effective.
Warm Snuggle Donut Bed
My Tabasco loves his snuggle donut poof bed. I have it in the white, which goes perfectly with my decor. I move the bed close to me when I'm sitting in different places and he climbs in and snuggles right next to me.