The domestic cats we keep in the UK might not be as majestic as their bigger, wild cousins, but by their very nature, they love the great outdoors too.
So if you keep a cat indoors all day, it can cause a lot of stress and discomfort.
Indoor cats with no stimulation are, in general, unhappy cats. That’s why it’s important to keep your cats occupied while you’re out of the house if they’re unable to play outside.
Ways to keep your cat entertained
A quick internet search gives you plenty of tips on how to keep your cat entertained. The most important thing is to provide ample mental stimulation. For instance, cats outdoors often go hunting for prey, like small birds or mice. Rather than putting all your cat’s food in one bowl, consider placing a few small bowls around the house so your cat can “hunt” for its food while you’re away
You also need to make sure your cat is able to relieve itself while they’re indoors. Put its litter tray in a quiet and clean corner, and make sure you’ve cleaned out yesterday’s waste. Cats don’t like using a dirty litter tray so if you neglect to clean it, you may have a lot more unwanted cleaning up to do in other areas of your house.
You can make another positive addition to your cat’s environment by buying a scratching post. Cats like to climb things and mark their territory by scratching. Buying a scratching post gives them a chance to do this indoors using a fun apparatus. It’s a move that could significantly lengthen the life of your furniture too.
There are lots of reasons people keep their cat indoors. Perhaps you’re afraid for its safety or you live in a city-centre tenement building. But try to give your cat space whenever you can. You could, for instance, cordon off a section of your garden or patio so your cat can wander around outside in a safe environment. Or if you live in flats, think about getting a cat flap installed so your cat can stalk the halls of your block. You might, however, need to warn your neighbours that there will be a cat on the loose.
For more information on keeping cats entertained indoors, the RSPCA has some useful tips online. One of its suggestions is to make sure your cat keeps fit and avoids obesity. One way to do this is to buy cat toys to play with while you’re out. Cats Protection has valuable advice and features too, including a balanced guide on the relative risks and benefits of keeping your cat outdoors and indoors.
Elsewhere, Paws has detailed information on how to keep cats indoors, including a helpful summary of what your cat might miss when it’s inside. And Animal Planet has several articles on general cat health that could shed some light on the emotions of your indoor cat. For further information, check out International Cat Care, formerly known as the Feline Advisory Bureau.