Why would you keep your cat indoors? There are many reasons including improved safety for your cat. Cats that are kept indoor are at a much lower risk of been hurt by other animals as well as injuries from abusive humans, vehicles, traps and more. Cats that spend time outdoors are also more likely to contract feline immunodeficiency virus as well as parasites. Studies have been done in this regard that prove that cats that live in Urban areas that spend time outdoors live on average 2 years less than indoor cats. Most indoor cats will enjoy a lifespan of 15 years or more.  Keeping your cat indoors may help reduce procreation with other cats, fighting with other toms in the case of males as well as preventing injury and death to the local wildlife that you cat may hunt.

How do you keep a cat happy indoors?

Cats have certain behavioural needs that will have to be met to keep them happy indoors. Like all animals, cats need food and water. They will also need somewhere to eliminate in a suitable container. They also need enough warmth to be comfortable as well as love. Besides this, you cat will also need to have it need to explore, play and hunt taken care of. Your cat will also need a space in which it feels safe where it can retreat to, where it can be in control. It is also important that you keep to quite a strict daily routine so your cat can get used to it and feel comfortable. It sounds complicated, but it just takes some thought, time and commitment to get it right.

How do you keep an indoor cat busy?

While cats while spend some time sleeping during the day, when they are awake, they will need to be stimulated. You might be lucky and have a cat that sleeps while you are away from home and waits to be entertained when you get home, but for most they will need more than that. Cats need to be active and engaged in activities that stimulate body and mind. You will need to provide cat toys that your cat can play with on their own as well as new items to explore to stimulate their curiosity. To keep your cat active, consider a cat aerobic centre which allows for safe spaces to hide, climbing opportunities and toys to play with. It is also good to have a scratching post to avoid your favourite sofa becoming one.

Why does a cat hunt even when fed well?

Cats are instinctive hunters. Their need to hunt doesn’t really have much to do with whether they are hungry or not. You cat can be very well fed but still have the predatory instinct to stalk and attack. If cats are kept indoors, they are not likely to come across the kind of prey they would if they went outside such as birds, reptiles, rodents and so forth. They will still react instinctively to anything that makes a high pitched sound or moves quickly. Playing with your cat or having cats play together as well as having toys they can play with on their own is very important for an indoor cat. Choose toys that would be similar in size to the actual prey they would hunt naturally. Choose toys that have a similar texture and even colours to natural prey to get the best response from your house cat.

How do I feed an indoor cat?

Cats do not really adhere to specific meal times. You can set your own schedule, but your cat will eat when it wants to. Try and ensure your cat gets the rights amount of food per day, but in such a way that they can eat when they want to. Don’t overfeed as you don’t want a fat cat with a shorter lifespan.  In nature, cats hunt before they eat and usually these would be small amounts of food at a time. A cat may need to hunt often in the wild and will not always catch prey every time. This means a lot of their day is taken up in the search for food. Having a bowl of food available to your indoor cat for whenever they feel like nibbling, leaves them with a lot of time and energy they need to work off. This means that you need to find ways to work off that energy if your cat is not going outdoors to hunt (for fun if they are already well fed).

One possible solution to this is to put at least a portion of your cat’s daily allowance in to a feeder toy or puzzle feeder. This means that your cat actually has to put in some work in order to get the food out. You can make your own puzzle feeders by cutting holes in a clean plastic drink bottle, just larger than the cat pellet and adding in some dry cat food. Make sure there are no sharp edges. Let the cat play with the bottle and figure out how to get food out of the holes. You can buy a variety of different toys as well that they can move around or chew on to get their food.  You can also use a number of small bowls and place the food in different areas of your home, change them up regularly, so your cat has to “hunt” for their food.

Is climbing important for a cat?

The simple answer is yes, cats need to climb. Climbing up to a height is how cats relieve stress. If your cat feels stressed-out they will want to get higher up. If you have more than one cat, this becomes even more imperative. Make sure you have areas in your home set up that allow for your cats to climb and relax on spots high above the hustle and bustle of the household.

Why does a cat hide away?

Cats will spend some time hiding as a way to relax and cope. When they spend a lot of time hiding, there may be a problem. When you move in to a new place or there has been changes in your household, you cat may hide due to feeling overwhelmed. If nothing has changed and your cat suddenly starts hiding a lot, something may be wrong. There may be a physical or emotional reason for the behaviours. If you can figure out what is causing the problem, you can try and remedy it and then see if the behaviour changes. If you can’t figure it out, don’t try and force your cat out of hiding. This will only make the situation worse. A cat hides for safety and to assess potential danger. Forcing the cat out will only stress them out more and make it harder to sort out the problem. You can try adding secure areas, perching spots off the ground, boxes to hide and play in and other areas that your cat can use for security to tempt them to come out. If your cat is not eating properly and the behaviour persists, you may need to consult your vet for advice.

Doesn’t a cat need fresh air?

Most cats are fine living indoors their whole lives. For owners that feel the need for a less restricted area and some contact with the world outside there are other solutions. Some cats will take well to being on a harness and being taken for walks on a leash. Not all cats will do this though. Try and introduce the harness early on to make it easier for when the kitten becomes an adult.  Another possible solution is an outdoor enclosure. The pen will need to be closed on the top or the sides angled inward at a degree that prevents the cats escaping. You can get enclosures for outdoor and indoor use. You can even get extra-large cat aviaries that contain toys and other creature comforts to make your cats outdoor activities enriching. The best way is to have a cat flap leading from the house directly in to the enclosure. This way you cat can go in and out and you don’t have to worry about them while they are outdoors. Add in tree trunks, cat furniture, high perches and resting places in the pen so that your cat is comfortable and in as natural a setting as possible. If you allow the cat access to the outdoor pen when you are not at home, you will need to make sure that the pen is secure and that the cat cannot escape and come to harm or get lost.