Indoor cats are at lower risk for injuries associated with the outdoor environment. And are at far less risk of contracting parasites. Ideally, all cats would be allowed access to the outdoors to express their natural behavior. However, some cats need to be confined to the indoors.
The decision on whether to keep your cat inside should be assessed on your cat’s.. personality, health, previous experience, home, local outside environment, and your own preferences.
If kept solely indoors your cat should be provided with ways to exhibit its natural behaviors to ensure its welfare, reduce dependency on you and avoid undesirable behavioral issues.
How to make your indoor cats happy?
1- Keep them occupied
It’s important to allow your cat opportunities to exhibit their natural hunting behavior as it keeps them mentally stimulated and releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. Without this, your cat may suffer from behavioral issues. Such as aggression, scratching, spraying, over-grooming, house soiling, and depression.
Their hunting behavior can often be triggered by toys which move and attract their attention such as fishing rod toys. Depending on the age and mobility of your indoor cats, it’s best to play with them for one to two minutes 5 to 10 times per day.
You can also keep your indoor cats amused with other toys, climbing towers or activity centers. And create interest at meal times by hiding biscuits in puzzle balls or enrichment toys to give part, or all, of their daily ration. However, it is best to introduce these gradually to ensure they have enough to eat and don’t become frustrated and swap them regularly to keep things interesting.
So, how you are going to occupy it 24 hours a day, is one of the most important considerations for indoor cats.
2- Safe places
Give your cat its own special place to get some alone time. Without access to the outdoors, your indoor cats are unable to escape some of the disruptions that can occur in the home. Such as building work, visitors or other pets. This can create stress. So, it is important to always provide your cat with easily accessible places to hide. Which will help to make them feel safe and secure.
A hiding place can be something as simple as a cardboard box with large holes for access and a blanket. Alternatively, you could offer space under a bed or in a wardrobe with the door left ajar. Remembering your cat should not be disturbed while it is hiding.
Cats feel safer if they can view their surroundings from a height. Providing extra vertical spaces they can use increases their territory and helps them feel secure. This is a common coping mechanism for indoor cats that feel anxious or fearful. These can also double up as sleeping places.
On average, cat spends about 16 hours intermittently sleeping throughout the day. And will prefer warm, comfortable and safe places to rest.
Cats like to eat and drink away from their litter tray, as it’s more hygienic. However, many people don’t realize that cats also like to have each of their food and water bowls in separate places too. This stems back to the cat’s evolutionary past when they would eat in a different area to avoid contaminating their drinking source with the remains of their prey.
Eating and drinking can be vulnerable activities for your indoor cats. So try placing the bowls slightly away from the wall. Where they can sit facing their surroundings.
4- Indoor risks
It’s important to remember to keep cupboards, washing machines, tumble dryers and toilet lids closed to avoid any risk of injury or drowning. Indoor cats are very susceptible to poisoning and a number of household items. Including some plants and flowers are toxic and should be kept safely away or out of the house. So, always check to see if your plants are feline friendly before bringing them into your house.
Any potential escape routes should be fenced over with a strong wire mesh or screen or simply kept closed.
It is recommended that you microchip your cat, even if they live indoors, to increase the chance of them being reunited with you if they escape and go missing. They should also be vaccinated and neutered.