This month we are focusing on how to improve your cat’s health through sensory enrichment, to provide both physical and emotional benefits. We have gathered information on how to appeal to all five of your cat’s senses:- Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch.
Sight: Felines only have blue and green cones in their eyes, this means they are best able to see blue, yellow, and green. The colour blue can aide in counteracting nervousness or hyperactivity. Indigo, violet, and green are colours that help bring a sense of calm and can help clear negativity. Try to introduce these colours into your home through furniture, or blankets, or lighting, for this will surely make you and your cat’s day just a bit brighter. Certain TV programmes or DVD’s, such as nature programmes can also help alleviate boredom and engage your cat’s natural prey instinct.
Sound: The same way we humans are not very fond of sudden, loud noises in our home, your cat doesn’t either. Try to avoid these and if for any reason, your external environment is surrounded by loud sounds such as traffic or building works, you can counteract these with softer continuous noises, such as fans, classical music, or cat specific music available on applications, such as ‘YouTube’.
Smell: Don’t we all respond well to the smell of fresh coffee in the morning or lavender flowers in full bloom? Your furry friend also enjoys pleasant smells. Some things they enjoy very much might already be in your homes such as fruits, chamomile, or olives. Most cats enjoy catnip which can be used on, or in toys. You can also help yourself and your cat by growing both lavender and basil in your home. Always ensure your cat has access to his regular bed/blanket, which will have his own scent and make him feel more relaxed. Please be cautious, as certain scents from things such as air fresheners, are artificial scents and can be harmful to your cat.
Taste: Cats are natural hunters. You can satisfy his/her natural need to “hunt” by hiding snacks in both high and low areas throughout your home. To make it more fun for your cat, you can hide these treats in bags or containers. Try to always use more natural treats or even treat your cat to a different food source, such as meat on the bone, that he can use to practice his hunting skills by pulling and tearing on the meat whilst also being good for dental hygiene.
Touch: Our fifth and last topic. It is essential to make time to stroke your cat when possible to help calm your furry friend. When taking the time to show your pet the love they deserve, keep in mind that their whiskers are very sensitive. They are known as “vibrissae”, they have a very particular function that acts as a sensory extension of the skin, so make sure you extend your love to their whiskers! Aside from the obvious TLC, you can stimulate their sense of touch through grooming, scratch posts and toys.
During this time of self-isolation, I’m sure your cat will be enjoying the added company of having you around more, so be sure to make the most of this quality time and show your cat as much affection as he can bear!
Therefore, we can see how important it is to stimulate your cat using all the 5 senses. In the same way that we can benefit from certain sounds, scents, textures, and colours, so can your cat. By doing so, your cat should be less bored, stressed, or anxious, any of which can manifest themselves by aggressive or destructive behaviour. Instead, having a cat that feels calmer and more relaxed, may alleviate any behavioural issues, and help build an even stronger bond with your cat.