Cat Enrichment: 5 Ways to Make Your Cat Feel Happy, Healthy, and Confident

Your cat deserves a fulfilling life. While some people think that the only way a cat can feel truly fulfilled is by having free access to the great outdoors, there are many ways in which an indoor-only cat can have a rich experience. You can:

  • Create a home base
  • Replicate their ideal environment
  • Establish a predictable routine
  • Provide mental stimulation
  • Respect their unique personality

Create a Home Base

Your cat’s home base serves as their very own micro territory. In most cases, a feline home base consists of a litter box, food and water dishes, a scratching post, cat-safe toys, and something comfy to sleep on. Click here to learn how to set it up! 

Each of these items in your cat’s home base will soak up your cat’s scent. The scent is a clear message to your cat and any other animals in the home that this space belongs to them. This micro territory gives your cat a sense of safety, security, and confidence. It reassures them that they can claim at least one part of your home. 

The home base is a place that your cat can return to when changes occur that rock their world a bit, such as adding a new family member or having guests over. This area should also be accessible in case your cat is stressed or scared. If they want to run and hide in their home base, let them! In my cat Finch’s case, he goes to his home base for a few minutes when he’s unsure of a new person. Most often, however, he visits his home base when he wants to cuddle with someone. 

Replicate a Cat’s Ideal Environment

Cat trees and perches

Your cat should be allowed to explore your home with ease, safety, and a bit of creativity. Providing your cat with an enticing environment builds their confidence, and a confident cat is a happy cat. 

Provide cat trees and perches in your home. These allow your cat to relax in an area that’s completely their own. Having a spot significantly above floor-level means your cat can access them without worrying whether or not they’ll be disturbed by passersby. 

Some cats also really enjoy observing activity from above. However, giving your cat access to higher ground doesn’t mean you have to buy a piece of furniture that’s designed specifically for cats. Get creative with furniture that you already have! 

Finch and Minnie became obsessed with climbing and lounging on my old baker’s rack. It entertained them for weeks, and now my goal is to turn it into a cat jungle gym!

Scratching posts

Providing different scratching options throughout your home is another great way to build your cat’s confidence. Scratching posts are visual and olfactory symbols of territorial ownership. By allowing your cat to mark their territory in an acceptable way throughout the entire home, they will have constant sources of reassurance that their home is a safe, secure place. 


Give to our current fosters:

Give to our current fosters:

Give to our current fosters:

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

– $6.00 allows us to buy a bag of litter
– $25 helps us buy 12 cans of cat food
– $100+ allows us to fund general medical procedures for any felines that we foster on our own

Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

– $6.00 allows us to buy a bag of litter
– $25 helps us buy 12 cans of cat food
– $100+ allows us to fund general medical procedures for any felines that we foster on our own

Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

– $6.00 allows us to buy a bag of litter
– $25 helps us buy 12 cans of cat food
– $100+ allows us to fund general medical procedures for any felines that we foster on our own

Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Access to fresh water

Hydration is key to a happy and healthy cat. Most indoor cats don’t drink enough water and don’t get enough hydration from their food, causing urinary tract infections and kidney complications. 

Setting up a simple cat-friendly water fountain is a great way to boost their hydration! The motion and filtration of the water entices many cats and before they know it, they’re drinking a much more adequate amount of water than they were before. 


Cats also enjoy following the sun as it hits different spots in your home. If you’re able, offer cat-friendly spots in different areas to allow your cat to sun-bathe as they please. 

Sun-bathing is important for vitamin D absorption and the sense of warmth that cats adore. Natural light in general is always great. 

Cat-safe toys

Having a few toys that your cat can be left alone with can keep your cat busy while you’re away. Here are a few of my residents’ and fosters’ all-time favorites:


Here’s where you can get ultra-creative and bring your indoor cat’s ideal environment to the great outdoors! I don’t have the resources to create my own at the moment, so until then, check out this video from Kitten Lady:

Honor Your Cat’s Routine

Hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom, sleep, repeat. This is the routine that your cat would instinctively follow out in nature. Adhering to this regimen as best as you can will help your cat connect to their true selves. Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy refers to this as the Raw Cat. 

If you haven’t noticed yet, your cat is an amazing hunter. It’s natural for them to eat after they’ve successfully hunted prey instead of at random times during the day. This is why many cat-lovers out there strongly recommend playing with your cat before offering food. Play sessions also provide outlets for physical exercise to keep your cat’s body in shape. 

Tire them out during a fantastic play session filled with feather wands and kicker toys. Continue allowing your cat to play and “hunt” the toy for as long as it takes for your cat to complete the “kill.” You’ll know when they’ve finished the job when they’re bunny-kicking the toy or trying to carry the toy away to munch on it in private. 

When it’s time to reward all of their hunting efforts, offer a high-quality meal. Feeding a grain-free, canned, and/or a commercial raw diet is best for your cat. Cats get over half of their hydration from their food, and dry food has very little moisture. Dry food also lacks some of the key nutrients that cats require, because dry food is often heavily processed and cooked at high temperatures. I’ll share more on this topic in a future post!

Observe your cat next time they’re done eating a meal. You’ll notice that they almost immediately find a comfy spot, groom themselves, and settle in for a nice cat nap. Once they get into this rhythm day in and day out, you might also notice that frustrating behaviors start to decrease or disappear. When I established this routine for my cat, Minnie, she almost completely stopped messing with my houseplants. Shey must have been feeling bored and was lacking a sense of control in her daily routine. 

Provide Mental Stimulation


Training your cat to do simple tricks exercises their brains and strengthens your bond. It’s a great goal-oriented activity to give your cat another sense of accomplishment in their day. Click here to get started training your cat!

Puzzle toys

Another great way for your cat to earn a delicious snack is by setting up puzzle toys. These are objects that your cat has to push, turn, or open to get access to treats. The challenge spikes their curiosity and stimulates their brain activity. I highly recommend finding cat-specific puzzle toys to try with your feline friend!

Cat TV

Photo by Kiril Gruev on

In the likely event that your cat isn’t able to hunt live prey because they’re living the spoiled indoor life, your cat still appreciates observing live prey. The goal is to give your cat a safe outlet for watching prey such as birds, squirrels, fish, and bugs. Even though your cat may not attempt to access the prey, cat TV allows them to hunt with their eyes! 

My favorite way to provide cat TV is by attracting birds to my balcony and give my cats comfy places to hide, observe, and nap in between flocks. If you go this route, please make sure you follow local wildlife guidelines!

You can also play videos of prey animals on the television. I will do this for my cats every once in a while, and they sit in front of the screen like soldiers. Minnie even chatters and shows off her best butt-wiggles before realizing that she can’t actually reach the bird in the screen. 

Harness training

Safely exploring the great outdoors is a fantastic sensory experience for your feline companion. Having access to new smells, sights, and sounds is such an enriching adventure for confident kitties. Get started with harness training today, and you’ll be so glad you did!

Get another cat

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not solitary creatures. If your cat gets along with other cats, or if you’re ready to commit to an introduction process, then you should get your cat a buddy! Two cats are better than one. If they’re set up for success, they will be lifelong playmates that will keep each other motivated and entertained. 

Respect Your Cat’s Personality

Let them receive affection on their own terms

Some cats prefer receiving affection when they initiate it. Forcing a cat to interact can make them fearful or stressed around humans over time. They learn that humans don’t respect their boundaries and are unpredictable. 

Depending on your cat’s personality, it might be stressful or anxiety-provoking if they’re being constantly followed and handled. If you take it slow, eventually your cat will be reassured that you can be trusted and are enjoyable to be around. You can help your cat receive affection on their own terms by slow-blinking back and forth as a sign of trust. You can also extend your hand to offer affection and see if your cat accepts. You’ll know if your cat is ready for interaction when they rub their cheek against your hand or another part of your body. 

Hiding spots

Many cats appreciate having safe places to hide away and curl up in, aside from their home base. However, you don’t want to allow your cat to hide in places where you couldn’t access them. You need to get to them in case of an emergency, and you need to make sure the hiding places are safe for your cat to spend time in. 

Please take the time to find safe and fun hiding spots for your cat. You can use play tunnels, hooded beds, or Kitty Kasas.

Treats and supplements

Humans are not the only ones who enjoy occasional treats and preventative medical care. Cats can benefit from these too! Supplementing your cat’s diet can give little boosts to their health and happiness. 

To start, you can take some time to figure out your cat’s favorite treat and use it as a way to amp up their excitement or to simply show them some love. Other enriching options you can explore are:

  • Catnip: Great for either helping them relax or boosting their energy. It depends on your cat!
  • Cat grass: Can be used as a dietary supplement.
  • Feliway diffusers or sprays: Calming pheremones for stressed cats and multi-cat households.
  • L-lysine supplements: Boosts your cat’s immune system to protect them from common illnesses. Comes in a gel, chewable, or powder form. The brand pictured above works very well, but my cats HATE the flavor!
  • Probiotics: A healthy gut = a healthy cat!

Just like humans spend a lot of time decorating our spaces and filling our lives with things to make us feel comfortable and happy, your cat deserves a bit of that as well. Thank you for taking the time to read about enriching your cat’s life! 


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through these links may help me earn a small commission.

Exploring animal welfare one foster kitten at a time

3 responses to “Cat Enrichment: 5 Ways to Make Your Cat Feel Happy, Healthy, and Confident”

  1. […] able to adjust for. As long as you tailor your space to provide plenty of scratching options and enrichment for your cat, you will have a beautiful relationship with your cat and their […]


  2. […] more about connecting with your feline friend, you can read How to Train Your Cat to Do Tricks and Cat Enrichment: 5 Ways to Make Your Cat Feel Happy, Healthy, and Confident. If you’re starting this training process with a young kitty, check out How to Care for […]


  3. […] you’ll still need to engage your cat in play, you’ll quickly find that the feline friends do an amazing job of engaging each other in play on […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: