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Household Resource Checklist

C. A. Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVN, Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center

Behavior

|September 2012|Peer Reviewed

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Household Resource Checklist

Download this handout to give to educate clients on environmental enrichment for indoor cats. For more information, see What Cat Owners Can Learn About Captivity.

Basic Resources

  • Are basics provided in a convenient location that provides safety and some privacy during use (ie, away from appliances or machinery that could start unexpectedly)?
  • Does each cat have its own food bowl?  
  • Does each cat have its own water bowl?  
  • Does each cat have its own litter box in a well-ventilated location (1 litter box per cat + 1)?
  • Is the litter kept clean and scooped as soon as possible after use or at least daily?
  • Is unscented clumping litter used?  
  • Are containers washed weekly with plain water or a mild, unscented detergent, such as dishwashing liquid?
  • If a new resource is provided, is it placed next to the familiar one so the cat can choose whether or not to use it?

Structural Features

  • Can each cat move about freely, exploring, climbing, stretching, and playing when (if) it chooses?
  • Are climbing structures or opportunities provided?
  • Does each cat have its own scratching post?
  • Does each cat have its own resting area?
  • Does each cat have a “perch” so it can look down on its surroundings?
  • Is a radio or television on when the cat is home alone?

Related Article: Environmental Enrichment for Cats

Social Contact

  • Does each cat have the opportunity to engage in play with other animals or the owner if it chooses on a daily basis?
  • Do you spend individual time petting each cat? (If so, for how many minutes?)
  • Do you spend individual time playing with each cat? (If so, for how long?)

Body Care & Activity

  • Does each cat have toys that mimic quickly moving prey?
  • Does each cat have toys that can be picked up, carried, and tossed in the air?
  • Are toys rotated on a regular basis (at least weekly) to provide novelty?

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