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Tips to Keep Your Indoor Cat Happy

Choosing an indoor-only lifestyle for your cat is a proactive step toward keeping her safe and healthy. Indoor cats are spared the dangers of being hit by a car, catching diseases from other cats and sustaining battle wounds from fights with other critters. Since the great outdoors provides cats with plenty of opportunities to exercise their minds and bodies, you’ll have to step up the indoor game. Find out what you need to do to provide your feline friend with physical activity, mental stimulation and optimal health.

Kitty Weight Watchers

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of America’s cats are overweight or obese. Since your indoor cat will not be going on outdoor adventures that require her to run, jump and climb, she has fewer opportunities for exercise. This means that she doesn’t need to eat as many calories. Have you ever seen a fat lion or cheetah? In the wild, cats have to run from predators, chase their prey, and they never know when their next meal will come along. Indoor cats barely have to lift a paw for a morsel since their meals are usually served right on cue. The kitty couch potato lifestyle will result in a flabby feline if you don’t take charge. Practice these tips to keep your indoor cat’s weight under control:

  • Feed your cat in a meal fashion instead of free-range feeding.
  • Measure her food at each meal, and feed the recommended amount for her ideal weight.
  • Engage your cat in interactive play sessions to encourage exercise.
  • Place cat treats in random spots throughout your home to encourage her to hunt for them.

Your vet can evaluate your cat and recommend a healthy weight for her. Achieving and maintaining her healthy weight reduces her risks of diabetes, heart disease, degenerative joint disease and anesthetic complications.

Boredom Banishment

Outdoor cats always have new sights, sounds and smells to explore. If an indoor cat isn’t provided with opportunities to stimulate her mind and senses, she’ll become bored. Consider these tips to prevent boredom and keep your indoor cat happy:

  • Install a window perch where she can enjoy watching wildlife and such seasonal sights as falling leaves and snowflakes. Place bird feeders and plants that attract butterflies within view to attract these creatures to her vantage point.
  • Invent new games for her to play with you.
  • Grow an indoor catnip garden.
  • Provide treat-dispensing puzzle toys.
  • Provide a variety of cat toys, and swap them out frequently. When pulling one out of storage, refresh its appeal with a spritz of catnip spray before reintroducing it into the playtime rotation.
  • When you return home from shopping, let her have the empty paper bag to play in. Likewise, if you’re an online shopper, give her the shipping carton after you have emptied it.
  • Whenever you buy more cat food, pick up one new plaything for her to enjoy when you get home.

Boredom in cats can lead to overeating, obesity and destructive or nuisance behavior.

Elevated Zones

In the wild, cats take in their surroundings from trees and higher ground. These elevated surfaces give them the best stakeout spots for sitting prey while providing safe spaces from predators. That instinct for surveying their environment from above remains alive in domesticated kitties. A piece of floor-to-ceiling cat furniture that offers multiple levels of perches and napping nooks will help to fulfill your cat’s need to move on up. These kitty condos also provide surfaces for scratching, which is another necessity for cats.

Scratching Surfaces

Scratching on surfaces is an instinctual behavior. Cats scratch to mark their territory and release tension. Outdoor cats can perform this activity on tree trunks, fence posts, and other similar surfaces. If you don’t provide your cat with scratching posts and pads, she’ll find other things to scratch, like your carpet or your favorite chair. Sprinkle posts and pads with catnip to draw her attention to them and away from your home furnishings.

Cat Companion

Some cats are content to be the spoiled only pet, especially if one of their humans is usually home with them for a good chunk of their day. If your cat is alone most of the time while her human family members are away at work and school all day, however, she may get lonely. Consider adopting another cat to keep her company. Choose a kitten or cat that has a temperament that will be compatible with hers. Be sure to introduce the two cats gradually, and don’t leave them alone together until they have accepted one another.

Follow these tips, feed a nutritionally balanced diet and follow your vet’s routine health care recommendations. Your indoor cat’s needs will be fulfilled, and she’ll be a content and healthy family member.

As a PetHero member, your cat will receive a quarterly seasonal gift box with new toys and treats to enjoy. She can even play with the box itself for extra feline amusement. Learn more about PetHero today!