How important is variety to cats?


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Ever wondered whether your cat needs more variety in their life, or if they enjoy having a daily routine? Here's some expert advice...

Q) How important is variety to cats? In terms of what they eat, play with, and their environment?

On the whole, cats like a steady routine, as you will have noticed when they remind you to get up in the morning or remind you that it is time you fed them. When their routine is severely interrupted by changing feed times, new people in the home, or the disruption of parties in the house, they can get very upset and a few of them may even start spraying in the house. So, keep your main routine the same.

Changes in the general environment can spook them too. They have acute hearing and road works nearby can upset them, as can building work in the house. Building work in the house not only means noise, it involves unknown visitors and also a complete disruption in the smell. Cats create a reassuring family smell by rubbing on the house walls and furniture, rubbing on their familiar humans and rubbing on each other. Any major change of smell means that the family smell is lost and their territory feels less secure.

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Cats like some variety in their food which is why food manufacturers usually package up different flavours in the one box. However, they are very individual in their response to a change of brand, some like it and some don’t.

What cats definitely do get bored with is the same old toys. If you leave toys lying around, they will often stop playing with them. So, gather up all the toys, buy or make some new ones out of scrumpled paper, and put them away in a box. Take different toys out every week. If your cat likes catnip, get hold of some dried catnip and put it loose in the storage box, to freshen up the catnip smell.

Advice given by expert cat behaviourist Celia Haddon.