Can I keep my cat entertained indoors?
Yes, you can. While cats are naturally wired to seek fun in outdoor activities like running after squirrels, exploring the grass, and getting on trees, you are better off keeping them indoors. When your cat is not outdoors, you are saving them from the risks of car accidents, attacks by coyotes in the neighborhood, and other health issues.
Making your cats stay indoors is half the job; the other half is making them happy while indoor. There are many ways to achieve this, but it all boils down to re-creating their natural hunting and exploring scenarios indoors. Indoor cats will want an environment with multiple activities to stay contented. Without this in place, they may become disgruntled and aggressive. This is why you see some indoor cats scratch furniture, soil rugs, or howl continuously for attention. If this continues, your cat may be depressed and listless.
The best way to avoid this is to put them in an environment that makes them safe, happy, occupied, and entertained. Here are ways you can set up such an environment:
- Buy more toys and create plenty of playtimes.
Cats need the same level of love and attention as dogs. Start by setting aside some moments to play with your cat. This may be a 5-10 minutes playtime twice a day. If you are thinking about the toys to buy, get feather teasers and fishing rod toys. You may also include some little foil balls, which they use to play fetch. Do not forget the movable, fun catnip-filled toys. Your playtime should include games like hiding treats for them to sniff them out, creating a near-natural hunting experience.
- Create safe places for them to hide.
Cats are not the bold type. Contrary to popular belief, they are not always sociable and confident. If your cat is the shy type, chances are it will want to hide when you have visitors. So, it is left to you to create these hiding spaces. It could be inside a cardboard box, in a closet or cupboard, or under the bed. Wherever you decide to set up these hiding spaces, always leave the door open to allow them easy access whenever they want to.
- Set up vertical spaces for climbing.
Cats love to explore and climb, even when they are indoors. Creating vertical spaces indoors to explore and climb will help them get the urge and energy out of their system. For instance, you can create a system of shelves, enclosed cubbies for hiding, or combine tall scratching posts with inbuilt platforms for sleeping. These scratching-post trees keep your cats busy as they continue climbing around on them for hours. The best part? You can have the posts anywhere in your house.
- Have a proper feeding setup.
Cats do not eat anywhere; they want their food and water to be at a specific place – somewhere clean and far away from their litter box. They also prefer their water and food dishes separated by a reasonable distance. The sanitary nature of cats means they easily reject food or water if they smell anything unusual or see dirt in their water. This is why you must create a proper feeding setup for your indoor cat.
- Protect them from indoor risks.
The indoor space is not always safe for cats. Certain places in your houses are risky for your cats, and you must protect them from such risks. For instance, do not leave the toilet lid up or the doors to your dryer and washer open. Also, permanently shut your cubbies so your cat does not end up hiding there.
Keep cleaning products away from your cats. They are usually harmful due to the toxic chemicals used in making them. Install special clasps on your cupboards to keep them tightly closed and impossible to open by cats. For the highest level of safety, keep your cleaning products in a secure cabinet in the garage where you are sure your cat cannot get to.
Avoid having poisonous house plants around. Consult with your local nursery to see what plants you can keep that will not harm your cats. Ensure that every window has a lock, and install screens to prevent your cat from popping out quickly whenever they see a squirrel out there.
Which plants are safe or harmful to your cats?
Your cat is not safe with certain plants around. And with summer already in progress, most plants are at their blooming stages.
We have established that you need to do more than the bare minimum to keep your cat happily entertained when indoors. We also discussed how to ensure your cat is not depressed or dissatisfied when confined in the house. But one crucial aspect of this transition from outdoor to indoor space is the need to keep your cat’s vaccinations up to date. You also want to ensure your cat is spayed or neutered to keep him safe and healthy.
While the chances of your cat getting outside are slim, it is best to have them microchipped. A microchipped cat can be easily found and returned to the owner if it gets lost for any reason.