It's a myth that cats need to have access to the outside to live happy and healthy lives. Indoor cats can live perfectly happy lives if their instincts are satisfied by toys and activities to keep them stimulated and provide the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy.
Also when the cold weather upon us even indoor-outdoor cats will be spending more time indoors. So here are some tips for making the great indoors an interesting, feline-friendly environment.
Signs your cat is bored
- Lack of appetite
- Sleeping more than normal
- Destructive behaviours like scratching
Here are 8 fun indoor activities that will help your feline burn off some energy and keep out of trouble!
Tip 1: For indoor cats the best type of stimulation is interactive play. During daily play sessions with you, your cat can enjoy a greater degree of intellectual stimulation and aerobic activity. In particular, consider activities that allow your cat to exercise her hunting instincts. Toys that resemble prey, such as rodents, are popular with cats. You can move these toys toward and away from her so that she has to catch them. Teaser or wand toys offer another way for you to tempt your cat into hunting-style play — all while keeping her mind and body fit and active.
Tip 2: Make your cat work for their food! Rather than letting her graze on her food all day, that can lead your cat to overeating. It is good to allow your cat to work (or hunt) for at least some of their meal. You can do this by hiding food throughout the house or placing it in food-dispensing toys like the Catit Sense Digger Cat Interactive Feeder that encourages your cat to work for their food and treats. Bringing out their natural hunting behaviour making them use their paws to get the food out of this toy.
Tip 3: Cats can learn to play fetch just like dogs! To teach your cat to play fetch make sure you select a toy you can throw to the other side of the room, and something small enough that your cat to easily carry. Once your cat has run to catch the toy, encourage them to bring it back to you as this action might not come naturally. One they do it right you need to reinforce the behaviour using treats and praise such as patting. They will ensure that your cat learns to enjoy playing fetch as much as any dog. Fetch is a great way to interact with your indoor cat while helping to keep them fit, mentally stimulated and active.
Tip 4: Cats naturally like to have hiding places, you can easily provide them with places to hide by throwing a towel over your coffee table, buying a hide house, or even just by using a cardboard box. You can entice your cat into the hide by dangling a toy at the entrance of their favourite hiding place and watch them try to pounce to catch the toy. This behaviour comes from their natural instincts to hide and stalk play so is a great way to offer enrichment to your cat. Or you can use a catnip spray like the Catit Catnip Spray to attract and entice your cat into the places.
Tip 5: Increase the vertical space in your home - For cats that spend their time indoors space is important. But unlike humans cats do not care if this space is vertical or horizontal. So a great way to give your cat more space in your home is added nooks and crannies high and low for your cat to climb, perch and jump on. An easy way to do this is through the addition of a cat tree or tall scratching post like the PetPals Terre Cat Scratcher that encourages your cat to stretch, climb and play - all while giving them an appropriate outlet for their natural scratching behaviours. Also by giving your cat some vantage points in the home near windows it allows them to have a safe place to sit back and relax and watch the world go by.
Tip 6: An easy way to entertain an indoor cat or a cat who is confined to your home after surgery etc. is to download a cat app on your smartphone or tablet. There is a variety of games available that entertain and mentally stimulate your cat - all within the safety of your home. Such as 'Pocket Pond' a fish pond game that entices cats to swipe and play with goldfish, or 'Paint or Cats' that combines a mouse to chase on screen with a paintbrush allowing your cat to produce unique artworks while being entertained by an enticing squeaking mouse.
Tip 7: Another simple way to keep your indoor cat entertained is to plant some cat-safe greenery and plants in your home. Add some pots of cat grass, wheat grass, catnip, and other cat-safe plants on sunny windowsills and let your indoor cat munch away. But be sure to check that the plants are safe first to ensure your cat is safe. A cat grass kit like the Catit Senses Cat Grass Planter is a great option that gives your indoor cat access to grass to graze on which is a natural source of fibre, that is known to help with digestion and the prevention of hairballs.
Tip 8: If you only have one cat you may want to consider adopting another to help keep them company. But it is important to keep in mind that it can be hard to integrate a new pet into the household, especially if your cat is older and is used to being an only cat. But if it works out the cats can play together and keep each other busy and entertained even while you are out.