ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA
Environmental enrichment is the stimulation of the brain by its physical and social surroundings. Brains in richer, more stimulating environments have higher rates of synaptogenesis and more complex dendrite arbors, leading to increased brain activity.
ACCORDING TO CAT BEHAVIORAL ASSOCIATES
A boring environment can contribute to problems such as destructive behavior, inter-cat aggression, depression and anxiety. Under-stimulated cats are at risk of developing boredom-related or stress-relieving behaviors such as over-grooming, chewing inappropriate items, picking on companion pets, retreating into isolation, over-eating, self-mutilation, compulsive behavior and loss of appetite.
LINE IS THIS:
In order for your cats and kittens to be healthy and well-adjusted, they NEED stimulation!
Interacting with your cat is crucial to her healthy development and over all happiness. If you pay attention to her, she'll let you know what she needs, and she'll thrive from the attention. She'll be a happier cat and love you for it.
is a necessity
It gives kitty something that's hers, and will help to keep her off of other furniture.
Toys are also important, especially for younger cats.
One of the best things you can do for your cat is to have a fun and interesting environment. There are many ways to achieve this and cat furniture is one of the best. If you can incorporate it into the rest of the household, it's even better.
There are many different types of cat furniture, all of which add to your cat's quality of life, but a cat tree is one of the best gifts you will ever give to both you and your cat.
Below is a outstanding article about cat trees. The content was written by CatBehaviourAssociates.com. Whether you're new to cat trees or not, it's definitely worth reading.
The Cat Tree
A CAT TREE isn’t just an extravagant purchase for a cat owner, it’s actually a beneficial addition to the indoor environment.
If you’ve ever had to retrieve your kitty from the top of the refrigerator or bookcase, you know how much she enjoys being on the tallest perch in the room. Most cats really want to be able to climb up high.
Humans live in a horizontal world but cats live in a vertical one. They depend on elevated areas for comfort, exercise, fun, safety and a sense of security .
CAT TREES CAN ALSO HELP KEEP THE PEACE
In a multi-cat environment, vertical territory can help maintain peace because the higher-ranking cat can claim the highest perch as a show of her status.
In some cases where two cats might’ve normally engaged in a physical confrontation, the availability of a high perch can enable the higher-ranking cat to display her position by climbing up there instead of actually having to fight physically.
It can often be a way of maintaining harmony when you have more than one cat.
Like dogs, cats actually don't care who has the higher status. They just want to know who it is. It brings them a sense of comfort.
SAFETY FOR TIMID CATS
For a frightened or timid cat, a cat tree can provide a safe haven for her to stay relatively out in the open while maintaining a sense of security.
When she’s on a high perch she can more easily see her environment and has more visual warning time of any advancing opponent.
The tree can also provide comfort to a timid cat and she may opt to stay in the room more often, rather than flee under a bed or behind the furniture.
The tree becomes a place that’s exclusively hers because it doesn’t contain unfamiliar scents that a sofa or chair would have.
SHARING MADE EASY WITH CAT TREES
A multi-perched tree allows more than one cat to share a close space while maintaining the pecking order.
Two cats or three cats in the home who wouldn’t normally share a window ledge in peace, may each comfortably claim a perch in order to enjoy watching the birds outdoors.
Each cat maintains their status and feels safe while being in close proximity to each other.
A cat tree can serve more than one function for your cat as well.
In addition to being a great place to perch, the support posts can serve double-duty as scratching posts.
You can find cat trees that have sisal covering the posts (cats love sisal) or even bare wood.
If you currently have a tree that has carpeted support posts you can wrap them with rope to create more scratching options for your cat. Just make sure the rope is untreated.
SHOPPING FOR A CAT TREE
When shopping for a cat tree, keep your cat’s size and personality in mind.
If you have a large cat, don’t choose a tree with small, flat perches or kitty will be hanging over the perch – and that can leave her feeling very vulnerable to attack.
Choose a tree with perches that are an appropriate size. Perches that are in a “U” shape are great because the cat can rest her back against the side. Cats often feel more secure when they have their back against something.
There are many cat trees on the market. You can find them in your local pet product store as well as online.
Prices vary, depending upon whether you want a basic tree or an elaborate one.
What matters most to your cat though will be the sturdiness, height and comfort of the tree.
If the tree wobbles when she leaps to a perch from the floor, she’ll avoid the tree and you will have wasted your money.
And, after the age of three months, those little kitty condos are a waste of money.
They aren’t tall enough and the cat quickly outgrows the ability to squeeze into the little enclosure.
Condos with enclosures also limit the cat’s escape potential as well.
In a multi-cat household, the ability to have advance visual warning of an approaching potential opponent becomes important, as does the ability to escape in the other direction.
WHERE TO PLACE A CAT TREE
Placement of the cat tree can make a difference in whether it gets used.
Typically, a great option is to put the tree by a window so kitty can watch the outdoor goings-on.
If you want the cat to spend time in the room where the family spends time, place the post there.
You don’t want kitty spending all her time in the upstairs bedroom in her tree when the family spends most of the time in the bonus room every night.
THE CAT'S PERSONAL SPACE
This is an important one.
A cat tree can provide safety for a cat when she shares her home with a dog, other cats, and or children.
Whenever she feels threatened or just doesn’t want to interact, she can escape to her top perch. It’s also important to train the dog that the cat tree is off-limits.
Teach your children as well that when kitty is in her cat tree it means she wants to be left alone.
If you have a timid cat, are dealing with multi-cat issues or if you simply want to provide more environmental enrichment for your kitty, think about adding a cat tree to the environment. It will make a world of difference to your beloved pet(s).
IN ADDITION TO CAT TREES...
Cats LOVE to climb and explore. These carpeted shelves mounted to the walls go around all that the empty space near the ceiling. It gives the cats a whole other level on which to play, and it's up HIGH where they can survey whatever is going on and it helps them feel safe.
Also shown are two poles that run floor to ceiling. They are wrapped in sisal rope, which cats love. They use them for climbing and scratching.
Also shown are short, horizontal, sisal posts. Cats can actually run along them and hop from one to the next.
Another idea, not shown here, are 14x10 inch carpeted shelves that zigzag or step floor to ceiling This gives the kittys even more options for play and exercise, though sometimes they just like to sleep on them. They also provide options for when they want to be in close proximity to their humans but not directly in their laps at the moment.
Creative little structures like these are good for any cat, but for households where kitty has the ideal situation of having a companion to play with, shelves and things like these are a natural invitation for them to chase each other even more than they normally would, and cats always need to burn off energy.