New Cat, New Rules: The Important Role of Environmental Enrichment in Cat Care

A new home comes with new smells, new rooms, new routines and lots of other new information for a kitten to take in. No wonder it can be overwhelming for them! However, a well-organized environment will help your new cat to feel comfortable and settled in. By understanding your pet’s environmental needs, you can help avoid behavioral issues and smooth the way for your kitten to acclimate to her new surroundings.

Organize It!

Your new cat organizes her day around three main activities: Sleeping, eating and playing.  Each of these activities needs a clearly designated space.

1. Sleeping

When you’re deciding on a rest area, be sure to choose a spot that you intend to use throughout her adulthood because you will not be able to easily change this location later.  Territories established as a kitten will not change unless it’s on her terms.

2. Eating

Your kitten’s eating area should be separate from her litter box and your own eating area (kitchen and dining room). This will help eliminate confusion of boundaries, and support healthy eating habits through established routines. Your kitten also will need a litter box she can easily access but is far from where she eats and you live.

3. Playing

Your kitten’s play area will encompass the most amount of space in her territory compared to the other three areas. She needs plenty of space—and tables, cupboards, shelves and furniture—in which she can run, play and climb.

What’s most important to remember is that the quality of the environment is more important than the amount of space she has. So focus on creating distinct and organized areas that your cat will be able to clearly organize her routine around.

Getting into the Swing

Like all pets, your kitten will require some socialization. You can do this by starting some early practices that will get her used to a bustling environment and other people.

Be sure to introduce her to the other members of your household, including your pets and get her used to being held and handled early on. This will help her get more familiar with the goings-on of everyday life and encourage that natural curiosity.

Visit Your Vet

If your kitten doesn’t seem to be adjusting as well as you’d like, talk to your vet to see what else you can do to make your cat’s environment more cat-friendly.

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