Cats need en­rich­ment

Manukau Courier - - IN BUSINESS - STAFF RE­PORTERS

SPCA Auck­land is en­cour­ag­ing cat own­ers to en­rich their pet’s life by mak­ing sim­ple changes at home.

En­vi­ron­men­tal en­rich­ment can im­prove an an­i­mal’s phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal wel­fare, but it isn’t some­thing New Zealan­ders think of for their cats. How­ever, it can re­duce stress and ab­nor­mal cat be­hav­iour like ag­gres­sion, vo­cal­i­sa­tion, and over groom­ing. SPCA Auck­land chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drea Mid­gen says cats like ex­plor­ing, nice smells, and ad­mir­ing views, just like hu­mans.

‘‘Many peo­ple think that be­cause cats are so in­de­pen­dent, they can amuse them­selves day to day. But that’s ac­tu­ally far from the truth,’’ Mid­gen says.

‘‘Al­though they like to sleep a lot, cats are not built to sit around all day and eat food out of bowls.’’

Cat en­rich­ment has been a fo­cus of the SPCA for a few years, she says, to help al­le­vi­ate stress and re­duce ill­ness.

‘‘We do our very best, but the truth is that shel­ters are an in­cred­i­bly stress­ful place for all an­i­mals, in­clud­ing cats.’’

The SPCA rec­om­mends some sim­ple ways to en­rich a cat’s life, re­sult­ing in a hap­pier and health­ier pet. In­stead of feed­ing a cat twice a day, di­vide its daily food amount into sev­eral meals to recre­ate their nat­u­ral way of eat­ing - lit­tle and of­ten.

Find more SPCA tips on cat en­rich­ment see www.rnzspca.org.nz/ caten­rich­ment

Cats like nice smells, and ad­mir­ing views, SPCA’s An­drea Mid­gen says.

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