Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cat Enrichment Garden

 Hello kitty cat friends 😸,

I can tell you off the bat cats don't *need* greens in their diet. Cats are obligate carnivores which mean they are meat-eaters out of necessity. They need meat. Cats are not meant to be vegetarians or vegans. Cats need to be eating meat! I'll do doing many future posts on feline nutrition so stay tuned!

That being said, cats do like some greens and at the shelter, we often provide cat-friendly greens to cats for enrichment purposes. Greens can sometimes aid in digestion with cats, but it's mostly used for enrichment purposes. What I mean by enrichment is to make their quality of life better. In terms of cats, enrichment can help provide them stimulation or help them utilize some of their cat-like instincts (i.e. hunting). Enrichment is critical for shelter cats especially because they're often confined in cages and are not receiving the same amount of consistent attention from an owner in a home. Enrichment is important for cats in homes too because cats can get lazy or become under-stimulated and agitated if they don't have anything to do or a way to release energy.

Chara noming some wheat grass.
Some cat-friendly greens you can grow yourself are wheat grass a.k.a. cat grass, lemongrass, catnip, and mint. Catnip and wheat grass are the most popular among our shelter kitties. Fresh catnip is incredibly fragrant. The shelter kitties perk up when I step into our cat room with it because they can smell it a mile away I'm sure. They love to roll around in it and some like to eat it. It's safe for cats to eat catnip. As we know some cats are totally unaffected by catnip too. The shelter kitties love to gobble up wheat grass. I'll put few pieces of grass in their cages and some whoof it down fast. These greens are just ways to get these kitties senses going. They can experience different smells, textures, and even tastes with these kitty greens which enriches their lives a bit more than the daily routine.
Lemongrass, Wheat Grass, and Catnip at PAGO's shelter enrichment garden
Our shelter enrichment garden is rather large, but you can create a mini one wheat grass for inside your home or grow catnip outside. One very simple way to grow wheat grass is to buy a cat garden kit. Here is one on chewy.com, but you can find these in most pet stores. Catnip is even easier to grow than you think. Do you have dry catnip around? Sprinkle some of that into some dirt and water it. There are typically tons of catnip seeds in dried catnip itself so you don't have to go out and buy seeds themselves. Catnip is best grown outside and you can cut the leaves off and bring it to your cats indoors. Both wheat grass and catnip grow like crazy! You shouldn't have any problem growing these and they grow quickly too. You will never be without either once you start growing them!

An enrichment garden of kitty greens is a great way to spice up your cat's life and give them some stimulation. This isn't anything they *need*, but it's fun and something different for them to engage in which is great. Cats need stimulation to keep their minds active and engaged!

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

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