Close the doors and open your mind to all the ways you can keep your cat happy and healthy indoors. That’s right—indoor cats don’t need to head outside to satisfy their wild sides. You can improve your indoor cat’s lifestyle by providing everything she needs under one roof.
The Secret to Keeping Indoor Cats Happy
Cats need an enriching environment that mimics the excitement of the outdoors. In nature, cats experience a variety of engaging experiences. To keep your indoor cats happy, it’s vital to provide them with the right resources and toys so they can thrive at home.
All felines should have a place to scratch and stretch, personal areas for the litter box and cat food bowl, and the ability to exercise and be mentally stimulated through play, says Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, at West Ridge Animal Hospital in Greeley, Colorado.
The right products can help indoor cats fulfill their instinctual needs without leaving the comfort of home.
How to Provide an Enriching and Entertaining Environment for Indoor Cats
Thankfully, there are many products to help felines feel fabulous in their indoor sanctuaries. Russell Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT-KA, founder of Fun Paw Care in Los Angeles and Miami, emphasizes the importance of “enriching your cat’s senses” with a variety of items designed to boost her health and happiness.
Cat Trees and Scratching Posts
You can bring the excitement and exercise of climbing indoors with cat-tree products, like Frisco’s 48-inch cat tree. These items offer indoor cats the height and space they need to leap, lounge and hone their impressive hunting skills.
Scratching is also an innate behavior in cats. It helps them stretch, work their claws and mark their territory with the scent glands in their paws. To keep your indoor cats from scratching up your furniture, provide appropriate options with a cat scratching post and other types of scratchers. For example, the Frisco 33.5-inch cat scratching post gives kitties a place to claw away with its woven sisal-wrapped post and soft plush-covered perch and base.
“Any games that include the natural behaviors of hunting and pouncing are great for your cat,” Dr. Wooten says. The best cat toys that help prevent boredom are designed to mentally and physically stimulate kitties and keep them engaged.
Catit’s Design Senses cat toy is a high-tech gizmo that uses sound, touch and sight to test a cat’s hunting skills. Entertain your cat (and you!) as the ball rolls around the expandable track.
Another great cat interactive toy is the Temptations Snacky Mouse. The toy features a treat-filled mouse designed to interact with your kitty and dispense cat treats as she plays with it.
Even static cat toys can motivate cats—especially if there are treats inside. For example, KONG’s Refillable Beaver toy is filled with a feline favorite—catnip! This soft, snuggly toy includes a resealable pouch of catnip. When the catnip fades, you easily can replace it with a fresh batch for another round of fun.
Just because your kitty is an indoor cat doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy views of the outdoors. With a cat perch like K&H Pet Products’ kitty sill, you can instantly turn any window into a feline entertainment center.
A cat perch usually attaches to the widow or window sill and offers cats the best of both worlds—a comfy indoor setting with a captivating outdoor view. On top of that, the elevated platform gives indoor cats an out-of-reach escape from dogs and children when they need some space to themselves.
Cat Water Fountain
A happy cat is a one who gets fresh water straight from the source. Hartstein says to set up several hydration areas within the home, “preferably with drip or flowing water,” because cats can be finicky when it comes to drinking from a regular cat bowl.
To help keep your feline sipping in style, check out Drinkwell’s Avalon pet fountain. This cat water fountain includes a carbon filter designed to remove bad tastes and odors, while the sound of the free-falling stream is supposed to encourage your kitty cat to drink some H2O.
Play Personally With Your Indoor Cats
Both Hartstein and Dr. Wooten recommend that pet parents spend quality time playing with their indoor cats. Giving your kitty toys creates a stimulating environment, but human interaction and bonding are equally important.
Use toys and cat treats to play a variety of games with your kitty.
“Tossing kibble pieces, so your cat can hunt them, or hiding toys that are stuffed with treats for your cat to find” are great games to bring out natural feline behaviors and entertain your cat, Dr. Wooten says.
Something like Temptations’ Mixups make a fun snack for hunting games, and the three different flavors of chicken, catnip and cheddar can help prevent your kitty from growing bored with just one flavor.
Play also works as exercise for indoor cats, Dr. Wooten says.
“One of the biggest problems indoor cats face is a sedentary lifestyle and obesity,” she says, “so controlling calories and making sure your kitty stays active is crucial to her wellbeing.”
An easy way to turn playtime into exercise is with fun toys, such as KONG’s fish teaser, which can bring out your cat’s playful instincts and encourage chasing around the house.
Learn Your Cat’s Play Preferences
Because every cat is different, each has her own play preferences. As pet parents, we should take into account the individuality of our feline friends.
“What some cats like, others do not,” Hartstein says.
Therefore, get to know your indoor cats and change up your products, playtime and routines to cater to your felines’ unique preferences.
Having recently moved from rainy Oregon to the sunshine state, Anastasiya Chevtchenko spends her time catching rays by the beach, playing soccer with the locals, and embracing pet heaven – Chewy. A recent Penn graduate, Anastasiya works in Marketing where she hopes to bring in her expertise in international relations to expand the business. When she’s not facetiming her international friends or reading the news in five languages, Anastasiya spends her time working on PR projects, social media brand posts, and writing for Chewy’s Pet Central blog.
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