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Gray and white cat with forage box

Feline Enrichment: How to Create a Forage Box

Keeping your indoor cat mentally stimulated is not always an easy task! By offering opportunities to entice their senses with a forage box, you’ll keep Kitty’s adventurous mind engaged and her body moving.

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    Why Create a Forage Box?

    The debate about indoor vs. outdoor cat life is one for the ages. While cats have lived outdoors for centuries, modern living and science has demonstrated that cats who live exclusively indoors live longer on average. For cats that have been raised indoors, outdoor time can be dangerous, as they have not developed the skills necessary to protect themselves from other animals, disease, traffic, and city living. 

    Despite the information we have now on indoor cat lifespan, we cannot change the fact that cats have a genetic predisposition to be curious, to explore the world through their various senses, and to play. Exclusively indoor cats can be prone to put on excess weight and demonstrate nervous behaviors without adequate stimulation. This is where a forage box can come into play! A forage box can offer your cat an opportunity to smell and feel elements of the outdoors in a safe environment and be more physically active.

    A forage box can be constructed from items you likely already have around your home. It also allows you to reuse items that you might normally throw away. Easy on your wallet, a forage box is an accessible and versatile tool to have in your cat play arsenal!

    Build it, and They Will Come

    To construct a forage box, gather some or all of the following items:

    • A small to medium-sized empty box. A shoe box works great!
    • Bits of torn, crumpled, or shredded paper (optional)
    • Twigs, dried leaves, pinecones, grasses, or cat-friendly flowers from outdoors (optional)
    • Dried catnip and cat treats

    Assemble your forage box by filling your chosen box with layers of the elements you have gathered from around your home or outdoors. Layering provides multiple levels of enrichment for Kitty and encourages them to paw through to discover more. Drop in a few cat treats and/or catnip to entice them.

    Place your assembled box in an accessible location for your cat(s) and watch them explore! Try introducing different items from time to time to keep things interesting.

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