Imagine what it’s like for them…
- An on-going process, not a single object or event.
- Specific to the cat based on its assessment (See Animal Assessment)
- Delivered on a routine schedule
Before planning your enrichment schedule, the cat must be assessed for personality to determine what types of enrichment, activities, or games will benefit the individual cat. (See the assessment sheet on Feline-ality).
If a particular toy has been provided that is of no interest to the cat, or the cage is too small for the cat to engage in play behaviour, then this strategy cannot be considered enriching.
A planned, somewhat repetitive schedule of enrichment activities will be more beneficial to the cat than random acts of interaction.
- Improving the quality of life for the cats
- Increasing the cats’ ability to successfully cope with daily stressors
- Encourage natural behaviours such as hunting, chasing and climbing
- Improving sociability for potential adopters
- Making efficient use of a tight budget.
Before planning your enrichment program, use the MAKE A PLAN process to assess your cat for safety, skills and personality. This will help you determine what types of enrichment items and activities will benefit the individual cat.
Ultimately, using the MAKE A PLAN process to create and maintain an enrichment schedule will provide structure and save time and effort.
A complete daily enrichment program includes all opportunities for enriching the animal’s life. It would incorporate a combination of sensory, physical, environmental, cognitive and social activities. To plan activities see Sample Feline Enrichment Schedule.
Variety is the key to successful enrichment in order to keep things interesting for all canines. Modest but pleasant changes in the cat’s environment help prevent cats from becoming at-risk behaviourally during their stay at the animal centre.
It is not possible to use every single enrichment activity listed in this section. However, choosing one or two enrichment activities from each category will ensure that the cats in your care are stimulated in a variety of ways. For a sample selection of activities see Feline Activity Selection Chart.