Cats are wonderful pets and are second only to dogs in popularity among Americans1. However, since many people keep them indoors, it’s natural to wonder if they are living happy and fulfilling lives. Keep reading as we explore the facts and frequently asked questions about indoor cats, so you can improve your cat’s livelihood and ensure that they get enough exercise and stimulation.
Can Indoor Cats Live Happy and Fulfilling Lives?
Yes. While cats like to spend time outside, it isn’t necessary for their happiness. In fact, since they don’t have to face the many dangers outside from predators and traffic nor do they need to hunt for each meal, they can be quite content living inside. Cats only need access to food, water, and a litter box to live, and affection, attention, toys, and plenty of treats will keep them happy and engaged. However, since they don’t need to hunt, indoor cats will need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and frustration.
What Are the Benefits of Keeping My Cat Indoors?
Are There Any Drawbacks to Keeping Cats Indoors?
How Can I Help Ensure That My Indoor Cat Is Happy?
1. Interactive Toys
Interactive toys, like cat-treat puzzles, can help stimulate your cat’s mind and keep them entertained so they don’t get bored. Other popular toys include laser pens, stuffed animals, and scratching posts.
Your cat will often go off on their own adventures while you watch TV or sleep, but it’s important to set aside time each day to play with your cat. Doing so is not only fun for both of you, but it also helps strengthen your bond and helps them burn off extra energy that might cause them to misbehave while you sleep.
3. Cat Trees
Cat trees can help provide more places for your cat to explore and survey their territory. Most cats will seek out a high spot, so this will help make them happy and might even reduce stress.
4. Window Perch
While a cat tree will help your pet lord over their territory indoors, a window perch will enable them to see what’s happening outside. Your cat will love watching birds and other animals, and it can help improve their happiness considerably.
5. High-Quality Food
Feed your cat high-quality cat food with real meat like chicken, turkey, or salmon listed as the first ingredient. This is less likely to lead to obesity and other health problems. Low-quality brands are more likely to use food coloring and chemical preservatives like BHT that can be dangerous to your pet and cause problems with the liver and kidneys. It’s also important to follow portion control suggestions and prevent overfeeding.
6. Regular Vet Visits
Your cat may disagree that taking them to the vet makes them happy, but it’s important for them to get regular checkups to catch any health issues quickly so they are more likely to live a long and happy life.
A good way to reduce everyone’s stress is to keep the home clean and free of clutter. Even more important is keeping the litter box clean, as many cats won’t use it if it’s dirty, and they may go outside the box instead. Many experts recommend keeping one litter box for each cat, plus one more. More litter boxes will help reduce stress if you need more time between cleanings.
Indoor cats can live a happy and fulfilling life indoors if you provide them with food, water, a clean litter box, and plenty of affection. Cats usually enjoy being around their owners, and keeping them inside can help keep them safe and extend their lifespan. However, you must provide mental and physical stimulation to replace the hunting that they will no longer do. Interactive toys, plenty of playtime, cat trees, and window perches can help keep your cat entertained, making them less likely to become bored.
Featured Image Credit: Vasylchenko, Shutterstock