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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Van de Kieft

Cat Tunnel Recommendations

Updated: Feb 2

For environmental enrichment, tunnels are a must have product. They are great for playtime, hiding, providing alternate routes in a multi-cat home, and resting spots.

Cat resting in tunnel
Oscar hanging out in a 3 way tunnel on our bed



















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We love cat tunnels in our home. There are at least three out at any given time. Oscar, pictured above loves to spend time on the one I keep on our bed during the day. It's his getaway spot for private resting. I also have tunnels in the main living room area. The cats use them often.


A cat playing in a tunnel
Luke ambushing an electronic toy from inside a plush tunnel

Benefits of Cat Tunnels


Self Play

Tunnels encourage self-play since cats enjoy running in and out of them, carrying their toys inside. They also like to be inside and ambush a toy nearby as Luke demonstrates in the above pic. Setting up an electronic toy outside the tunnel can be really fun.


Hiding Spot

Cats enjoy sleeping inside the tunnel or just hanging out, like Oscar, pictured above. Because it's an enclosed space, it provides a feeling of safety. The plush tunnels are warm and comfortable.


Reduce Tension in a Multi-Cat home

A tunnel can be used to add choices in pathways so cats don't have to pass each other. They can be placed in hot spot areas where there is friction so cats can avoid each other. We have a situation in our home where Josh likes to chase Lily. Lily will run into a nearby tunnel and the chase is over. Over the years, now Lily likes to pop out of a tunnel and chase Josh. The tunnel gives her confidence to protect herself.


Playtime

Using a tunnel to set the stage for a hunt can be a lot of un. I move the wand toy around, under, and inside the tunnels during playtime. Cats enjoy chasing the toy around the tunnel. They also like to be inside the tunnel and pop out at the toy. They also love running through it during play.


Favorite Tunnels


We have a variety of tunnels and they are all great.



Cat standing outside of a tunnel
The plush donut tunnel is Ocar's new favorite to sleep in.


A favorite tunnel is the LucKitty donut multi-color tunnel, pictured above. It's plush and has an extra opening. The cats love to play in this tunnel and Oscar loves when I keep it on the bed. He sleeps inside it during the day. We love this one so much we also got the straight version. I think the S shaped one is the next one we'll get from this company.



Cat resting in tunnel
Our cats mostly using the 3 Way Tunnel for playtime, but Oscar loves to sleep inside too

The next favorite is the 3-way tunnel by Prosper Pet. It's a lightweight easy to clean tunnel. The 3 entrances / exits provide various options to run in and out of make this so fun for playtime and when the cats play on their own.



Cat standing outside tunnel
Luke outside the Paper tunnel during playtime

Desi & Roo makes a great paper tunnel that is so much fun during playtime. Josh loves it if there's a hole on the side and the toy moves across it. He goes nuts from the other side trying to get it. It does get torn up over time and I replace it, but that makes it really fun as cats can be destructive at times. This gives them a good option to tear a hole in something and the hole only makes the tunnel that much more fun.



A cat inside the Ripple Rug toy
Luke getting ready to ambush prey or a buddy

The Ripple Rug, which is not marketed as a tunnel, but a fantastic enrichment product is another favorite in our home. The genius invention is simply a tight carpeted mat with holes and velcro that goes over a plain mat. With the velcro, you can set it up to lie flat or as a tunnel. There are many options to create an interesting design. The holes are fun for our ambush predators to feel like they are secretly watching their prey.


Tips for Using a Tunnel


Set out your new tunnel and give your cat space to interact with it. Some cats will immediately go inside and start playing with it. Others may need more time. When we get something new for our cats, we're often so excited about it, but they may need some time to get used to the new smell and experiment with it.


All of our 5 cats enjoy tunnels, but for Oscar, our most cautious cat, it feels like a necessity. Although he didn't go inside a tunnel for his first 6 months with us, once he did and felt safe, it was a place he could to go to decompress and rest peacefully. I credit having tunnels around for Oscar feeling more confident in the different parts of our home.


Check out my Favorite Products for more recommendations.


About the author: Jennifer Van de Kieft, CAFTP, FFCP, PNCC is located in Brooklyn, NY. She is certified in feline behavior and pet nutrition. She owns Cat Advocate, a feline behavior consulting company. She provides cat guardians with the strategies, tools and knowledge needed to address their cat's behavior issues. Jennifer provides virtual consultations throughout the United States.

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