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    • 28 May, 2020

    Enriching your cat’s life

    Our Cattery team provides everything they can for the cats in our care to ensure their stay at Mayhew is as stress-free and comfortable as possible.

    We use several different techniques to improve our feline residents’ well-being, helping to stimulate their brains, keep them calm and allow them to express their natural feline behaviours. Lots of these enrichment techniques are easy to replicate with your own cats at home.

    A cabin fit for a king (or queen):

    Each of our cat cabins has a variety of levels so the cats can explore and get up high to survey their surroundings. All residents have a castle bed, which they can sit on top of or go inside, and some lucky ones have a hanging bed too, where they often choose to spend their whole day. As well as plenty of toys, we put scratching posts in every cabin so the cats can sharpen their claws and mark their scent, just as they would in the wild.

    Try it at home: Give your cat plenty of options around the house for places to sleep, things to play with and posts to scratch. A multi-level cat tree combines all three and is perfect for cats who like to keep an eye on things from above.

    Say hello!

    Social interaction is very important for cats and it can be hard for some coming into a shelter environment when they have been used to having the run of a home. Our cattery staff and volunteers make sure to spend lots of time with the cats in their cabins, or with the kittens playing in our kitten garden. They sit and talk to, play with or cuddle them, and this all helps to reduce boredom and keep them physically active while they wait for a new home.

    Try it at home: Toys can be made easily and cheaply using empty containers such as toilet roll tubes, string and other bits and bobs around the house. Check out our step by step guide at the bottom of the page!

    Working (and playing) at mealtimes.

    Feeding time for shelter cats is often a highlight of their day. In our cattery, we give some cats their meals using activity feeders, which keeps them mentally and physically stimulated as they work out how to get the food. It also takes them a lot longer to eat than it would if they just ate their food straight from a bowl, which keeps boredom at bay and helps digestion too.

    Try it at home: There are loads of toys for feeding on the market, but for a totally free food enrichment activity, why not try scattering or hiding small amounts of food in different areas of your home for your cat to find, or letting them chase individual biscuits? This will simulate their natural behaviours of hunting and catching prey, keeping them fit, happy and healthy.

    “Environmental enrichment for cats has been proven in scientific studies and benefits include reduced stress and increased calm and playful behaviour.”

    Tanya Madden

    Deputy Head of Animal Welfare

    Keep hydrated!

    It is vital that cats always have water available for them to drink, particularly if they are on a dry food diet, as not drinking enough can lead to urinary tract and kidney problems. Our cattery staff monitor water intake throughout the day and provide fresh water, topping up when needed.

    Try it at home: Cats prefer fresh water, which is why they often like to drink from a dripping tap rather than their own water bowl! If that sounds like your puss, you could invest in a cat water fountain, which keeps water tasting fresh and encourages cats to drink.

    Make your own activity board toy!

    Toys can be made easily at home, for little or no cost. They are great fun to create and will provide hours of entertainment for your cat. Just follow our step-by step guide to making a cat activity board and watch your puss explore and play.

    make a cat enrichment toy

    Tips for using an activity feeder:

    • Use your cat’s favourite food, or start off with some tasty treats.
    • Start by giving half the food in the toy; wait a while, then give the rest in a bowl.
    • Tap the toy or get a few nuggets to fall out to encourage your cat to try and get more.
    • A variety of toys will help to keep your cat stimulated; however, some cats need more time and patience, so ensure your cat is confident with each toy before moving on to another.

    Safety first!

    Always supervise your cat when they play. Once your toy is finished, leave 24 hours before giving it to your cat and check everything is securely in place.


    Meet our cats

    If you are ready to find a feline friend to get creative and make enriching toys for, why not meet our cats looking for their fun-filled forever homes!

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