Saturday, July 20, 2013

Environmental enrichment for the apartment-dwelling cat

(c) Anne Fawcett 2013
Channeling Jurassic Park: Moisie does her best impression of a velociraptor.
I recently met and rapidly fell in love with Moisie, female domestic shorthair and - like all the best pets - rescued from a local shelter. She is now an exclusively indoor-dwelling apartment cat who has a fantastic life. She gets plenty of attention from her human cohabitants and makes use of all surfaces, including her incline scratcher (I swear by these things - corrugated cardboard has taken the heat off the furniture in my house).

Moisie engages with her incline cat scratcher. Scratching is normal behaviour for cats, and they need some sort of outlet.
She's also big into strings and things. One must be cautious with cats and string as it is easily swallowed and can turn into what we in vetland refer to as a linear foreign body (LFB). Often anchoring at the base of the tongue or pyloris, the LFB is then pushed through the gastrointestinal system by peristalsis and becomes taut, potentially damaging the gut. Any linear objects should be locked away securely when you are not supervising your cat.

Moisie is entertained for hours by a simple string.

Exercise is vital for all animals, and play is one form of providing a workout and entertainment together. And when they get tired (although Moisie has enviable stamina), what better way to end a play session than flopping down on a soft rug.