Keeping an Indoor Cat Happy & Healthy
A cat’s life isn’t all fun and games. It’s not just about chasing one’s own tail, killing tiny rodents and insects, or just sleeping and eating… well, yes it is. Even so, indoor cats – though content – might need a little more TLC than cats that live in areas where their owners feel okay about letting them outside.
Luckily cats don’t need much amusement. Often they are content to lie upon their window perch. They don’t complain, even though some of them are confined to the space of a studio apartment. Do what you can for your little pal. Be there for it. They may not seem to appreciate your company, but they do. Take time out to play, brush its fur or simply share quiet time together and enjoy the silence. If you need to go on a trip, hire a friend to look in on your pet. Use a kennel as a last resort only. Pick a friend that your cat knows, it’s this kind of consideration that goes a long way.
Do what you can to situate your apartment or home so that kitty has ample opportunity to stretch its legs and exercise. They need a chance to indulge their nature, to be savage creatures and pounce around. A wall mounted structure designed for the cat to climb, jump and land may be just the ticket.
Cats like to spy the outdoors they are forbidden to travel in. Give them everything they need to enjoy the goings on beyond the glass. All they may need for hours of entertainment is a window side seat. If some of the view is obscured, facilitate different levels they can peer from via wall mounted shelves. If you really want to drive your pet crazy, install a bird feeder just outside the window. And leave the window open when weather permits (with a secure screen of course), kitty needs to feel the refreshing breeze!
Is there anywhere your cat won’t sleep? It has likely picked at least one place to snooze that you are inclined to nudge it away from. Let the kitty win. Just let it do its thing, and make it comfortable with wherever they choose to slumber. Don’t bother buying a pet bed, unless you just want your cat to have additional options to the dozen or so other places they nap. But if they like sleeping on your bureau top, for instance, fold and lay a soft towel there to encourage them and increase their comfort. They’ll sleep where and when they want. It’s their nature and that’s okay.
Many pet owners love plants, too. But there are a number of plants that can be toxic to the feline. Amaryllis, aloe, most lilies, asparagus fern, English ivy and philodendron can be harmful to kitties. Check the ASPCA website for a complete list of plants that you should not have around your pets. But cats love plants and choosing ones that are non-toxic can be positive additions to your home. Rubber plants, Boston ferns, and most palms cheer your home up and help your cats indulge their wild side. Go the extra mile and have a tray of kitty grass beside their feeding bowls, providing a nice vegetarian snack.
If you wish for your feline to get as much sun and fresh air as possible, bypass a patio in favor of a “Catio”. Constructing an enclosed and protected outdoor patio could provide airy and spacious fun for as many cats as you want to throw in there. They’ll be safe from predators. Likewise, birds will be safe from your pets. Within the custom structure, you could include ramps, steps, and whatever your imagination inspires. It’s all for the benefit of the cats and the people who love them.
Contrary to popular belief, cats actually like water. No, they don’t like to be soaked, but they would likely appreciate more than one drinking location inside the home. A couple of bowls would suffice, or even better, a small fountain or two. A large stoneware bowl on a stand filled with water plants would be an especially beloved spot for the adventurous pet.
Cats have claws. They need to exercise them. They need to scratch. They have different preferences for scratching; try out a few objects for them to scratch the heck out of so you can choose one that’s perfect – one that he/she is happy to focus their clawing habit on. They like corrugated cardboard, natural fiber rope, and of course certain carpets. Incorporating scratching material with a climbing structure that fits with your décor is the ideal. It allows activity for the kitty but doesn’t stick out like an eyesore. If the cat insists on scratching things it shouldn’t, try covering the offending piece as often as possible with a throw rug.
Enacting any of these tips will contribute to making your lil’ buddy a happier camper. Remember to keep the litter box clean (and in a private spot, if possible). Also, as kitty gets older pay attention to their behavior. They’ll be more susceptible to illnesses, so be aware of reduced activity or appetite. Regular checkups are invaluable, especially for mature kitties. And we want our furry little friends to be with us for as long as possible!