play and enrichment are an important part of the indoor cat's life.
yes, I really can do 108 things with a single cardboard box with and for my kittens, lol.

allow me to share...


keep out

zonked out


chill out

hang out


wigged out

peace out

peeking out

squish out

poking out

stretch out

jump out!

space out

time out

Box basics
Enrichment works best if you offer it for a while... Then take it away, so it does not become common or lose the excitement factor. I leave a box house up anywhere from a week to a month, depending on how much fun they are still having with it.
When they start to "get bored" with the box house, switch it up. Split up the pieces. Add-in other elements, like poster board obstacles, tissue paper to crawl around and hide in, blankets to make it cozier to sleep in.
Safety first! Use packaging tape to seal the ends of the boxes -- make sure it's pressed flat so your cats can't chew on it and swallow any! Any holes you cut for doors or windows need to be big enough or small enough that your cat's head won't get stuck in them.
Games through the windows are the best! Dangle a string or their favorite feather toy and let them hunt thru the holes in the box house :)
Make putting up a box house a family game, a special event. Create fanfare!
Have it go up and come down in stages -- stretch out the fun. Just-bought boxes can lean up against the wall to crawl and play behind, open as a tunnel, my cats love to sit on a box just laying flat on the ground (it's a great thing! lol).
Make sure you use clean boxes - Walmart seems to have the best prices on boxes at the moment. Uhaul has decent prices too. You can find all different shapes and sizes at office supply stores, and BJs gives out free boxes at check-out.
Create learning games - hide a favorite toy underneath a small box tipped upside-down for your cat to uncover. Cut holes in a litle box and hide treats or toys inside for them to reach-in, grab, and pull out. Do this with them; if it's too hard, show them how they can do it, or alter the game a little... Let their skill level will increase with practice. Don't make it impossible or they'll get frustrated and give up. Work with them!
Ahhhh... an open box (or lid) makes a great special fun bed for an afternoon cat nap. Place in a sunny spot, tuck it in the back of a closet, or plop it right in the middle of your bed. Let your cats discover it.
Get creative - tape several boxes together to make a fort. Cut holes inside some of them to make "doors" between adjacent boxes. Put tissue in one, a blanket in another, leave one empty... Experiment!
Receive a package in the mail? Open it with your cats then give them the box. Everybody gets something that way.

want to learn more?
check out some general behavioral enrichment links.

Page created by Sandy Stahlman.
Happily, I received my formal training in animal enrichment and play at the San Francisco Zoo, the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, and at the Marin WildCare and Terwilliger Education Center. Informally, Reggie and Apache (who posed for the photos above), keep me busy coming up with new ideas and projects to keep them fit, happy, and learning.

Introducing Brianna, and her brother Harley the Kid in this new section called...
Hamsters love boxes, too!

After Harley, the Chinese dwarf hamster, gets used to this box, we plan on cutting a "door hole" in the side, and a few small windows, and hiding treats inside for him to seek out, explore, find, and enjoy :)

Make fun, safe games for all the animals in your family. The Rochester Museum of Play has a box as an early toy in their history of play section. I think probably every animal species would enjoy safe, fun box play xo!

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