Give Them A Room With A View
When keeping cats indoors, theyre generally much happier if they can watch on whats going on outside. Get them a cat tree to allow them to hop up onto higher windowsills, or if you have a narrow windowsill you can purchase a perch so they can easily see out. Always ensure the windows are closed or get a safety net to prevent your cat accidentally falling out this is especially important for second storey windows or if you live in an apartment.
How To Keep An Indoor Cat Happy
Its important that indoor cats are able to perform behaviours that express their natural cat-like nature. If they cant it leads to stress, that in turn may result in problem behaviours such as spraying or scratching in unwanted areas of the home, obsessive grooming or physical illness. If you have decided to keep your cat indoors, there are things you can do to keep them happy and safe in their home environment. Our video includes the factors to consider when keeping a cat indoors and what to consider in the care of your indoor cat.
Here are some top tips on making sure your indoor cat stays happy and healthy:
Other Things You Can Do When Your Cat Escapes
- Put out food and water and some things with familiar scents on them, such as their cat bed and your T-shirt. Donna and Bill did this, though they went easy on the food by putting out a scant teaspoon.
- Set up a Havahart trap. Sure, you may get a raccoon or a stray, but the odds are just as good that youll end up with your own cat.
- Petfinder says to try to communicate with your cat. Imagine their face, call their name and connect heart to heart. Try to tune into where they might be reassure them that you will help get them home.
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A Tired Cat Is A Happy Cat
Cats are natural athletes and its all too easy for an indoor cat to go stir crazy if it cant work out that excess energy. The good news is theres no shortage of awesome cat toys that will keep your cat moving. There are toys that look like mice, toys with feathers, battery-powered toys with flashing light and sound, laser pointers, toys that move, toys on stringseverything that you need to help keep your cat pouncing and stalking safely indoors.
Keep your indoor cat active and engaged with toys.
How To Keep House Cats Happy
Cats with outdoor access benefit from more opportunities to exhibit natural behaviours like climbing, exploring, roaming their territory and communicating with other cats in the area. That means that an indoor cat will require lots more of your time and effort to be happy and healthy. Here’s what you’ll need to remember:
- Provide a litter tray in a quiet place and clean it regularly. Cats are often reluctant to use a dirty tray or one located in a busy area.
- Ensure your cat has enough space – indoor-only cats should have access to several rooms.
- Give them at least two types of resting place – one at floor level, enclosed on three sides and another higher one with a good view. This should be safe for your cat to access.
- Provide scratching posts in several locations so they can mark territory, strengthen muscles and sharpen claws.
- Keep them active – provide opportunities for daily exercise to keep them fit and healthy, and dream up new ways for your cat to stay active, both physically and mentally. Cats can become frustrated and bored with indoor-only lifestyles.
- Make plenty of time to interact – as your cat won’t have the freedom to interact with people/other animals outside, you¿ll be their main companion.
- Don’t leave them alone too much – you shouldn’t leave cats alone for long periods during the day.
For more tips on caring for your house cat, have a read of our guide to meeting the needs of indoor cats.
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Good Fences = Happy Kitties
Provide a screened porch for your cat to experience the outdoors safely. Consider building or purchasing a “catio” or similar enclosure to allow your cat to get a taste of the outside without the risks. A regular fence may not prevent other animals from entering your yard, so you should always be present when you allow your cat outside in your yard.
Be sure to cat-proof the yard by checking that your fence has no escape routes and by making toxic plants, garden chemicals and other dangerous objects inaccessible.
Keeping Your Cat Happy Indoors
For cats, the great outdoors are anything but great. Whether they live in the city, in the suburbs, or in the country, outdoor cats face a multitude of risks. They are exposed to contagious diseases, most of which are fatal. Traffic takes a huge toll on free-roaming cats, and while many people believe their pets are street-wise, no cat looks both ways when being chased by another animal. Further dangers include poisons, leg-hold traps, pet theft, and inhumane treatment by cruel people.
Outdoor cats cause problems, too. They dig and defecate in neighbors yards, and as predators, they injure and kill a significant number of wild animals. Cats cannot be trained to ignore their natural hunting instincts. The only sure way to safeguard wildlife is to keep cats inside.
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Is It Wrong To Keep Your Cat Indoors
In an ideal world, all domestic cats would be allowed to safely roam outside. Outdoors is where a cat truly gets to exercise its natural behaviours. These include hunting, running and territory marking through spraying and scratching. However, safely being outside is the key. And this is something that should be considered carefully when you are deciding the boundaries of your cats kingdom.
So Should Cats Be Allowed To Explore The Outdoors Freely
There really is no hard and fast rule when deciding on whether or not your cat should be allowed access to the outside world. There are certainly more opportunities for the natural expression of behaviours, but potentially higher risks to their safety. Equally, keeping a cat indoors should certainly not be a decision taken lightly. For some, it is the best place to be. But, as an owner making this decision, it is imperative to be aware of the dedication that is involved to keep them happy and healthy.
So there are no right and wrong answers. Whether your cat is indoors or outdoors, you need to ensure they are safe and stimulated. From preventative healthcare, such as vaccines, to ensure they have a place to relax and play. Circumstances may dictate whether they have the freedom to roam. So always ensure they have the environment to exhibit their natural behaviours. Thats the key to a happy, healthy cat.
If in doubt about what may be best for your cats, get in touch with your veterinary practice. They will be able to look at your individual circumstances and advice accordingly.
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Indoor Cats Live Longer
Free-roaming pet cats have an average lifespan of three years, while indoor cats live 1218 years. These are averagesso an individual cat may live much longerbut its clear that indoor cats are more likely to reach a ripe old age.
In my experience Im not seeing very many outdoor cats past the age of 10 or 11, says Dr. Jessica Rock, a veterinarian in Nova Scotia. And that is sadly considered quite a long lifespan for an outdoor cat, versus indoor catsIm still seeing them in their late teens and sometimes even in their early twenties.
Dr. Maggie Brown-Bury, an emergency veterinarian in St. Johns, Newfoundland, says if you want your beloved cat to be with you as long as possible, keeping it indoors is an easy way to do that.
I have a hard time understanding why you would want to choose a life expectancy of less than 10 years when you could choose the life expectancy of close to 20 years, she says.
dont necessarily have the greatest street sense, one vet says.
Set Up A Window Bird Feeder
There’s nothing a cat likes more than chasing birds but, if they live indoors, providing them with some stimulating bird activity could pose a challenge.
Enter the window bird feeder, which also happens to entertain you and any kids in the household too. It’s effectively a birdhouse that sticks to your window’s exterior, entertaining the residents inside.
We recommend pairing with one of our top picks for the best cat hammocks that sit on the inside of the window, so your feline has somewhere comfortable in which to stretch out and get a good view.
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Is It Mean To Keep A Cat Indoors And Not Let Them Go Outside
While in most cases cats can benefit from having outdoor access, in some circumstance this isnt always possible. Many cats can lead happy and healthy indoor lives if they are given the right environment.
The main risk of keeping a cat indoors is that they wont get a chance to exhibit some of their natural behaviours, such as climbing, jumping, hunting and generally exploring. Youll need to be confident that you can provide alternative ways for your cat to fulfil these behaviours before deciding to keep them indoors.
Another risk of keeping your cat indoors is that some cats get bored easily, especially if theyre used to being outside and suddenly need to be kept inside all the time. Being indoors with all the same stuff can be way less fun than the hustle and bustle of outside! This can lead to them putting on weight or getting stressed because they cant go out to explore.
Is It Cruel To Have An Indoor Cat
As long as your cat has the space and resources to express all of their natural behaviours and isnt frustrated when they cant go outside, theres no reason they cant live a perfectly happy life as a house cat. However, cats used to having outdoor access find it difficult to make the adjustment as adults.
In an ideal world, all cats would have access to the outdoors, but this isnt always possible. Following our top tips on keeping your indoor cat happy will help to prevent your cat becoming bored or stressed inside the house.
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If Your Indoor Cat Keeps Trying To Escape
But what if your cat, like Zorro, has wildcat fantasies and yearns for the world beyond the windows?
Once they get outdoors and get a taste of the exciting world out there, there isnt a lot you can do to prevent it, says Susan Baker of The Abyssinian Cat Club.
There are things that can help you keep your cat inside, though:
- Self-closing screen doors
Another suggestion from Baker to keep a cat from going outside:
- Attach a rolled-up newspaper to the door.
- When your cat follows you to the door, Baker says to smack the heck out of the door and even yell at the door a little while youre at it.
- The idea is to make them think the door is not a fun-friend after all, and their hesitation may buy you valuable seconds in the future.
Yet another behavior-modification trick that Baker recommends:
- Wave a toy a sparkle wand with a ball is a good example at your cat.
- Then, when your cat comes over to investigate, reward them with praise and treats.
- Do that a few dozen times, and you have a good chance of getting them to you with the magic wand when they do escape outside, she says.
How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Happy Indoors
Signs that an indoor cat is happy and thriving include:
- Displaying their natural instincts by spending part of the day hunting toys, scratching a scratching post and interacting with their environment
- Staring out of the window or watching TV. This shows that a cat is stimulated by what is going on around them
- Meowing, purring and seeking affection
- A healthy appetite and willingness to use a litter tray
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Give Your Bengal Cat A Peek Of The Outside World Through A Window
Bengal cats are prone to separation anxiety since they were created to be human companions rather than wild cats. As a result, if you must leave your Bengal cat at home alone, make sure it has access to a window.
This window view must give your Bengal a clear view of whats going on in your neighborhood, allowing him to see past the glasses. Your Bengal cat must find it extremely easy to climb up and down the window view.
Pros And Cons Of Keeping Cats Indoors Permanently
Keeping an indoor vs. outdoor cat is a debate that has raged for years. For some owners, keeping a cat indoors permanently is considered cruel as it takes away a cats freedom. For others, its an act of love. While every situation is unique, indoor cats will have a longer life expectancy because theyll be safer.
Indoor cats are protected from road traffic accidents, getting lost, pregnancy, bites, diseases, toxic substances, aggressive animals, and people with bad intentions. Also, it prevents cats from hunting and killing birds and rodents. However, keeping cats inside leads to boredom and territoriality.
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Do Outdoor Cats Have More Health Concerns
Your cats lifestyle increases their risk of certain health conditions, so whether she’s an indoor or outdoor kitty will change the kind of risks she’s exposed to. Indoor cats are typically less active, which increases their rate of diabetes, obesity, arthritis, and heart disease, Douglas Payne, DVM, medical director of VCA East Penn Animal Hospital in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, says. But cats that spend a significant amount of time outdoors are at a much higher risk of a completely different set of problems.
Being out in the elements, the environment, and having contact with other animals and people creates a long list of concerns, including:
- Heatstroke and hypothermia
Give Them Opportunities To Scratch
Good quality scratching posts are essential for all cats, and even more so if you have a house cat. Cats use scratching to mark their territory, stretch their muscles and sharpen their claws all of which are natural behaviours and if you dont provide scratching posts, they may turn to your furniture instead!
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You Might Feel Your Cat Is Safest Kept Indoors But How Can You Keep A House Cat Happy
Research by Nottingham Trent University in 2021 revealed that 41% of cat owners keep their pets indoors permanently the majority citing concerns about safety as a deciding factor.
More than half of the indoor cat owners said their greatest concern was traffic, with 13% of owners worried about their pets being stolen or intentionally harmed.
The number of indoor cats has risen sharply over recent years and researchers expect this trend to continue in line with expanding urbanisation. Cats with medical conditions or disabilities that impair their senses may be safer staying indoors, but vets and animal welfare organisations generally believe the majority of cats should have access to the great outdoors.
Hunting and climbing are natural behaviours for cats and it is important that all cats have the opportunity to do this. In fact, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an owners legal responsibility to ensure a cat or any other pet is able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
While some cats are quite content being housebound, others can become miserable if stuck indoors, so its important to know the signs of a happy cat.
How To Keep Your Indoor Cat Content
So what can you do to create the right environment for your cat indoors?
Ensuring your cat/s have ample room to run around and play and rest comfortably is essential. You should allow your cat access to as many rooms as possible to give them choices of where they can be throughout the day.
Cats love to be high up. So putting a cushion or blanket up on a high shelf or on top of a cupboard is a great idea. This gives them a place where they can overlook from above. Ideally, this would be one of several comfortable places that will be easily accessible to your cat. Other favourite spots might include somewhere where they can bask in sunlight as well as more hidden spots like under beds or even a cardboard box.
Food and drink:
Cats that go outdoors are often seen drinking from puddles and other such places . So without these additional options of water sources, extra consideration is needed for our indoor friends. Cats tend to like to drink away from where they eat, so having water bowls dotted around the house is valuable.
Cats also dont like to eat next to where they toilet so litter trays . So these also need to be in a separate area.
Remember too as many feeding and drinking places as there are cats, plus one spare. It helps to reduce stress if your cat thinks they may have to compete with their housemates.
Dont forget to bear in mind your cats age and ability level and adjust the types and length of play accordingly.
Scratching and climbing:
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