Environmental enrichment for cats: Implementation and owner attitudes

With guest chatters, Dr. Jessica Lockhart, CAAB and Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado

Environmental enrichment generally refers to the addition of activities, objects, or companionship to optimize physical and psychological states and improve an animal’s welfare while encouraging species-typical behaviors. In this CAABChat, Dr. Mikel Delgado, CAAB and  Dr. Jessica Lockhart, CAAB discuss the enrichment needs of the domestic cat: given their recent domestication and natural behaviors, do they have unique welfare needs? We’ll primarily focus on foraging (food puzzles) and a previous publication that gave an overview of how to encourage cat owners to implement them. We’ll also address attitudes and practices regarding enrichment for pet cats, based on recent studies.

The Chat is completed and the replay is posted at the bottom of the page.  Here is the contact information for Drs. Delgado & Lockhart, and the references discussed in the Chat.

Mikel M. Delgado, Ph.D., CAAB       mmdelgado@ucdavis.edu     mikeldelgado.com    foodpuzzlesforcats.com

Jessica Lockhart, Ph.D., CAAB     info@fairviewbehavior.com


Dantas, L.M.S, Delgado, M.M., Johnson, I. & Buffington, C.A.T. 2016. Food puzzles for cats: feeding for physical and emotional wellbeing. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery,18, DOI: 10.1177/1098612X16643753 http://amazon.tripawds.com/files/2016/12/FoodPuzzlesforCatsFullText.pdf

Alho, A.M., Pontes, J. & Pomba, C. 2016. Guardians’ Knowledge and Husbandry Practices of Feline Environmental Enrichment. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 19, 115-125, DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2015.1117976

Andrews, C.J., Potter, M.A. & Thomas, D.G. 2015. Quantification of activity in domestic cats. (Felis catus) by accelerometry. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 173,17-21.

Strickler, B.L. & Shull, E.A. 2014. An owner survey of toys, activities, and behavior problems in indoor cats. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 9, 207-214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.06.005

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