Most people know that there are several health benefits to keeping cats indoors. Cats that are allowed to roam outside face many health hazards and have shorter lifespans than indoor-only cats. Outdoor cats can get into fights with other cats leading to infected bite wounds. They can be exposed to deadly viral diseases like feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and on rare occasions, rabies. In addition, outdoor cats are more likely to become infected with internal parasites, like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, heartworms and toxoplasmosis than strictly indoor cats. Finally, outdoor cats can get hit by a car or attacked and killed by a coyotes, foxes, or other wildlife.
There is no doubt that being outdoors can be exciting for your cat, but is the thrill worth the health hazards and shortened lifespan? To me, the answer is a resounding no! I love my cats too much and don’t want something bad to happen to them. So how can you make sure your indoor cat stays active and stimulated without exposing them to the hazards of the outdoors?
Actually, it is easy to create an indoor environment that stimulates your cat’s senses and mind. The underlying principle is to provide your cat with plenty of new sights, sounds and smells to stimulate them. Here is a list of a few things you can do to keep your indoor cat happy and engaged.
1. Set-up a bird feeder
Cats are natural predators and one of their strongest drives is their prey drive. Set-up a bird feeder or bird bath next to a window to channel your cat’s inner predator. Your cat will spend hours watching birds feeding or bathing. Not only will your cat’s prey drive be satiated, but also no birds will be hurt in the process!
Aquariums are another great source of endless entertainment. Cats love watching and swatting at fish in an aquarium. It keeps them entertained while keeping the fish safe and sound.
3. Olfactory stimulation
Cats also enjoy experiencing different smells. Providing cat grass or catnip will fulfill your cat’s need for aromatherapy.
Cats amaze us with their remarkable ability to climb. It’s a skill they inherited from their wild ancestors. Unfortunately, climbing can sometimes can get them in trouble, like when they climb up a tall tree but can’t climb down. You can harness their desire to climb by giving them a cat tree. The Vesper High Base XL is a 5-level cat tree and high-rise scratching post. It is ideal for cats that love to perch up high. Multi-level cat trees are not just fun for your cat, but also good for keeping your cat active and healthy by promoting jumping, scratching, and climbing. For an added bonus, you can set-up your high-rise cat tree next to window so your cat can watch the birds at the bird feeder or bird bath.
Scratching is a natural feline behavior. Cats scratch to sharpen their nails and exercise their paws. Unfortunately, scratching can be destructive if your cats decide to scratch on your curtains or furniture. Give your cats scratching posts to encourage scratching on the post rather than your curtains and furniture. The Vesper Minou is a cute cat-shaped scratcher that also serves as a cozy hideout.
Cats are curious and playful by nature. Stimulate your cat’s mind with interactive toys to keep your cat busy and engaged. My cats love the Catit Senses Mushroom. The Catit Senses Mushroom is a motion-activated feather toy for your cat. Cats also love playing and chasing laser pointers.
As previously mentioned, cats love to play. Play with your cat to keep them stimulated and active. Cats love to chase after feather toys. Some cats can even learn to fetch. I had a cat that loved to play fetch and was better at it than my dog!
Keeping your indoor-only cat active and engaged is easy. Follow these suggestions to ensure your indoor cat is stimulated and not bored. Your cat will enjoy the entertainment and thank you for keeping them safe from outdoor hazards.