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Free Ways To Save Your Furniture From Cats

cat enrichment

It’s a known fact that cats are natural hunters and like to be active. Cats typically do not run or fetch as much as dogs, but a busy cat is a happy cat. Bored cats can get into your stuff, scratch up your furniture and just generally cause a big mess. To keep your cat healthy, keep it entertained and out of trouble when it’s home alone.

Why Do Cats Need Enrichment and Stimulation?

By nature, cats have finely-tuned senses and agile bodies:

  • A cat’s ears can move independently and hear sounds that a human’s cannot.
  • They have binocular vision and the ability to see in what we think of as total darkness.
  • Cats can detect odors that people never smell.
  • Healthy cats can jump five-to-seven times their own height and can often be seen walking on their tiptoes to be both stealth and speedy.


Indoor cats were not meant to be sedentary and eat mountains of food. Cats were born to move. They crave entertainment (and most do not enjoy movies, TV and live music like their human companions). Remember, cats are hunters and even the laziest housecat won’t lose those natural instincts.

Bad Things Can Happen When Cats are Bored and Home Alone

A boring environment can contribute to problems such as destructive behavior (e.g. scratching the furniture and/or eating plants), intercat aggression, anxiety and even depression in cats.

When they are under-stimulated, cats may develop a number of stress-relieving behaviors:

  • Chewing inappropriate items
  • Picking on companion pets
  • Retreating into isolation
  • Overeating or losing their appetite.

What Can You Do to Entertain a Cat?

Fortunately for cat owners, it’s pretty easy and cheap to keep a cat stimulated. You’ve probably got plenty of free cat enrichment toys laying around the house.

Boxes you already have handy:

  • Empty boxes are beloved by cats: from shoe boxes up to larger shipping boxes, let them explore, hide in and sleep in them.
  • Cut holes into empty pizza boxes and insert cat treats in to make a fun toy.

Paper items:

  • Scrap paper or aluminum foil can be made into a ball the size of a golf ball. Some cats enjoy chasing and putting these balls into various boxes to play with. Try putting one in a dry bathtub to chase around.
  • Cats like paper grocery bags. Leave one or two open on the floor, and they’ll have fun searching them and running in and out to investigate and hide in. (Remember to remove the handles so your cat doesn’t get caught in them. Don’t use plastic grocery bags, they are a suffocation hazard.)
  • Paper towel rolls, even with some paper left on them can keep your cat from getting into trouble.

Plastic playthings:

  • Plastic tubs and milk crates give your cat both a jungle gym and a retreat spot.
  • Balls made of plastic like ping-pong balls and practice golf balls are entertaining for cats.
  • Save the plastic milk caps for your cat to bat around as well.

Scratching posts and pads:

  • Carpet remnants are an inexpensive way to keep your cat from clawing up furniture. Place remnants near the furniture they target and sprinkle a little catnip on the carpet to ensure your cat’s attention.

Items that aren’t safe for cats include the following:

  • String, yarn, ribbon and dental floss.
  • Paper clips.
  • Pins and needles.
  • Rubber bands.
  • Plastic bags and those from the dry cleaner.

During the the long, hot days of summer, keep your cat well entertained, safe and hydrated with a bowl of fresh water at all times. Use a cat feeder if you will be gone for many hours. We make it easy to schedule an appointment to be sure your cat is ready to enjoy an Austin summer!

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