For one reason or another, you have an indoor cat on your hands. Maybe you have chosen to keep your kitty indoors for his or her safety, or perhaps they have a health condition that makes the outside world a dangerous place. Whatever the case, it’s important you know that indoor cats require special care and attention. Let’s discuss indoor cats — should they be kept indoors? Can they be happy and healthy? We’ve also got ten great care tips you’ll need to know.
We’ve got a lot of helpful articles on cat behaviour. After this post, check out our article on why cats knead
Should Cats Be Kept Indoors?
The topic of indoor cats can be a controversial one. Some believe all cats should be free to roam outside, so they have the opportunity to live naturally while getting all the exercise and fresh air they need. While this is certainly a valid viewpoint, we can’t ignore the reality that for some cat owners, having an outdoor cat is not feasible.
Some owners decide to keep their cats as indoor pets for entirely legitimate reasons. Perhaps they live on a busy road — or the cat is docile, trusting and a sought after breed that could be tempted away from home. Maybe the cat has a medical problem or disability that makes indoor living the natural, safe and sensible option.
Can Cats Be Happy and Healthy Indoors?
Of course! Cats can be happy and healthy with their owners, safe indoors, but keeping your cat happy is going to require effort. They will need more love, attention, care and stimulation — and they will be more dependent on you. Keeping a cat indoors is a responsibility you needneeds to take seriously.
Care Tips for Indoor Cats
So how do you ensure your cat is living his or her best life indoors? We have ten care tips for indoor cats that will help to keep your furry friend healthy and entertained.
1. Start Them Young
If your kitten has grown up indoors, they won’t know any different. If your kitten is brought up indoors, they won’t have to go through any transition, which makes everything much easier. Of course, sometimes this isn’t the case, and older cats need to transition to become indoor cats. But ideally, if you know you want to have your cat remain indoors, it’s best to start them young.
2. Provide Them With High Up Places to Perch
Your cat is still a cat, with natural catty instincts. They want to climb, they want to escape — they want to survey their terrain. This is why cat climbers and cat trees are so popular. They allow cats to replicate wild behaviour. If you have an indoor cat, it’s a wise move to invest in a quality cat climber and to provide them with a cat rest. Let them perch up high where they can get some quality alone time.
3. Make Sure They Get Plenty of Exercise
One concern about indoor cats is that they won’t get enough exercise. Cats need to stretch their legs and run around. In the wild, they’d be hunting prey and climbing trees. Inside, it’s a little harder to provide the same level of exercise. You can keep your cat fit and healthy by providing them with a climber. You should also make an effort to play with your cat — buy toys that stimulate them and challenge them. Playing with your cats also strengthens the bond between you and the cat in your life.
4. They Will Need a Quality Cat Scratcher
Cats aren’t trying to be a pain when they scratch your furniture. But you’ll likely end up with some battered sofas and shredded carpets if you don’t invest in a cat scratcher or two. Outside, cats can scratch away at trees, reaching up high, stretching and strengthening their muscles. Scratching also allows them to sharpen their claws and mark territory.
You don’t want to discourage scratching completely. It’s a natural cat behaviour, after all. What you do need to do is provide your cat with quality cat scratchers and place them in your cat’s favourite places, so they will never have to venture far to indulge in a good scratch.
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5. Be Careful Not to Overfeed an Indoor Cat
Weight management is something you need to keep on top of with indoor cats. Because they aren’t going outside to exercise and they aren’t burning the same amount of calories, it’s wise to pick your cat food carefully. For example, IAMS has cat food specially formulated for adult indoor cats. You want food that contains high-quality proteins to support your cat’s diet.
Does your cat have a weight problem? That’s okay — we have advice on how to get a fat cat to exercise
6. Some Cats Will Take to a Leash
Is there a happy medium to be achieved? Perhaps you can keep your cat indoors and keep them safe, but also take them for walks? Now, we know cats tend to be proud and independent. Many won’t want to walk on a leash, but some cats naturally take to it. The dog-like Maine Coon is a great example. It’s worth a go, but don’t stress your cat out if they genuinely don’t enjoy the experience. You should take their lead on this, so to speak.
7. Buy Some Indoor Grass
We’ve all seen them do it — but why do cats eat grass? There are a few reasons. It can help to soothe upset tummies. Cats don’t have the enzymes required to digest grass, so eating it helps them regurgitate, helping them clear their systems. Grass juice also works as a natural laxative and contains folic acid, an essential vitamin that aids in digestion and supports cell growth.
If you have an indoor kitty, you can provide them with some indoor grass — it’s easy to get hold of and it’ll give them a little taste of the outdoors.
8. Keep the Litter Box Clean
Cats are clean, particular, fussy creatures — and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you don’t adhere to their preferences, they tend to act out. You must keep their litter tray clean. If it’s been left too long, you might find little unpleasant surprises around your home.
You should also be careful about where you place your cat’s litter box. They prefer less busy areas where they can be left to their business.
9. Get Your Indoor Kitty Microchipped
You may not intend for your cat to get outside, but accidents happen. You might leave a window open and your little adventurer might make an escape. Or perhaps they’ll dart through an open door before you have the opportunity to close it. Anything could happen, so we advise getting your cat fitted with a microchip. We also recommend giving them a collar with visible identification. If your cat is found, a microchip and identification will increase the odds your cat gets back to you safely.
10. Keep Up-to-Date With Vaccinations
Vaccinations are as important for indoor cats as they are for outdoor cats. Just because they are exposed to fewer risks and germs doesn’t mean you can let their yearly jabs slide! Make sure you stay on top of your vaccinations and make regular visits to the vet to ensure your cat is happy, healthy and fighting fit.