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The Buzz on Enrichment

Come and learn how to spice up your pets life! Follow The Buzz on Enrichment for great DIY enrichment for the animals in your world. 


Filtering by Tag: herbs

8 Days of Herbs for the Holidays

sandy mcpadden

Cats can benefit from smelling different herbs

Cats can benefit from smelling different herbs

Holidays can be stressful. Family is in town, you’re gone to work parties, out shopping at weird hours, and this is just what your cat saw this week! Let’s help them de-stress a bit in a low-effort, new-ish way.

When you get a cat, you also get the knowledge that cats dig catnip. Have you ever tried another herb with your feline friends? No? I got you.

I went to the Tucson Herb Store this weekend and restocked my Catnip stash and picked out 7 new herbs to try while I was there.

So, what did I choose?





Passion Flower




PSA- Did you know that you can drink Catnip tea?! You guys, its recommended in humans for things like insomnia and anxiety. Mind Blown.

Chamomile for Kitties

Chamomile for Kitties

Cats and Herbs

While there are a lot of ways to use herbs, the only way that I use them in my home for the cats is fresh/dried and scattered in small quantities. Some cats just smell and rub, but some eat the herbs. Watch how they interact with new scents and adjust accordingly. Many herbs, when eaten in large quantities, can cause stomach upsets. If your kitty chooses to eat the herbs, stick with infusing safe toys instead.

I use herbs to “infuse” toys that may have otherwise lost their ZING. Like here when I tossed paper toys into a bag of catnip and gave it a shake to give them a little zing before tossing them around the house.

I also sprinkle herbs on rugs, cat trees, and scratching posts to encourage behaviors like: scratching, stretching, rolling, and rubbing. Better in these places than the furniture, right?!

No tinctures. No Essential oils. Not without the direct guidance of a veterinarian because the risk of potential toxicity in cats due to the potencies of the herb derivatives is way too high.

Herbs for Cats

Herbs for Cats

Cats aren’t the only ones who like herbs. Rabbits get herb mixes in their toys to encourage exploring rabbit safe toys, rather than everything else in the house(hello, allll the cords). Parrots get fresh herb gardens and herbs in their toys to satisfy their need to forage.

Cat Herbal Enrichment
Herbs for Cats

Herbs for Cats

Tatty Approves.

*Always talk to your veterinarian before adding things to your pets environment, especially those things intended for your pets. For those of us with cats, did you know that the American Association of Feline Practitioners created a program, Cat Friendly Practice, to help create stress free vet visits specifically for cats? Sounds pretty great doesn’t it?

.ITS SPRING.Im so excited that I wet my plants.

sandy mcpadden

.Spring is my favorite. 

Everyone feels it. What do you think of when you think of Spring? Flowers growing and...

.Birds Singing.

I have cockatoos, so insert ear piercing shrieks where you would typically think of beautiful sing song melodies. If you have cockatoos, you feel me. How about those hormones? Yep. Broody hens? Got it. Molting? THANK whoever is upstairs. 

With spring comes new beginnings and fresh starts. Get your behavior modification program up to speed. No behaviors you want to decrease? Thats cool, step up your enrichment game.

How better to start than to knock out a few birds with one stone? <-except don't do that. 

.Lets make an herb basket. 


parrot foraging parrot enrichment

What you'll need:

  • soil

  • herbs

  • pot


So, I won't lie. I decided to do this because of this stellar pot from IKEA. Its powder coated steel and I can hang it wherever I want. Coolest part? The whole pot is solid so I don't have to worry about heads or toes getting caught anywhere. Done. 

The soil is from this cool company, Ecoscraps. I opted for this soil because its organic and consists of two ingredients: compost from plant material and compost from forrest material. no poop here. Dont stop there though, did you know that you can sterilize soil? Yeah, just pop some soil in your oven and cook to 160 degrees like research shows here to kill off mold, fungi, bacteria, and creepy crawlies that you don't want in your cage. Ill be honest though, I bring my parrots outside, they have an outdoor aviary and I bring browse in. They're exposed to a whole lot more than what comes in a bag of soil. 

Last, pick out some plants! I went with some of Bonnies Organic choices. Romaine Lettuce, Kale, Oregano, Basil, Spinach, and Dill. You can go crazy and choose some greens to fit your birds fancy and your green thumbs ability. 


parrot foraging parrot enrichment
parrot foraging parrot enrichment

I like simple. The more simple you keep things, the easier it is to keep up with it. This little garden is cool for a few reasons:

  • novel/healthy food choices

  • offers these choices in a novel way

  • change in environment...and this pot is easy to move around.

  • promotes foraging and exercise.

parrot foraging parrot enrichment

Hang it. Let them munch. Pull it out to let it recover. 

parrot foraging parrot enrichment

Filter Flowers for Days

sandy mcpadden

I have seen two groups of animal lovers who are genius when it comes to enrichment.  The "parrronts" (parrot parents) and the Bunny folk. Serious talk, the best owners of these animals could teach us all a lesson about enrichment. 

Todays 5-minute friday is for bunny owners who need something in a snap. Rabbits are incredibly busy little things and when not provided with enough stimulation, they will find their own in the form of your remote, your wire, your walls...

rabbit enrichment

Here's what you'll need:

  • unbleached coffee filters

  • wooden spoon

  • sisal string

  • scissors

  • foraging goodies of you r choice. I used an herb mix and banana chips

rabbit enrichment

rabbit enrichment

The herb mix is beautiful with rose petals, linden leaves, dandelion leaves, and plantain leaves (who are great for aiding with digestion). 

rabbit enrichment

Grab a stack of coffee filters and fold in half. Cut a hole small enough for the wooden spoon handle to push through. Separate the filters and slipping them on. 

rabbit enrichment

Take your string and tie it around the base of the filters about an inch up. Start fluffing and filling. It's SO simple and a great foraging toy to knock around for special goodies. 

rabbit enrichment
rabbit enrichment

What did you fill your flower with today?