More and more cat owners are realising the dangers of allowing a cat to free roam and it is very common for cats to be entirely indoors now. There are so many benefits to keeping your cat indoors, a few of which are:
- Dogs - Unfortunately many outdoor cats are killed and seriously injured in dog attacks.
- Cars - Another common fatality in cats. Unfortunately, cats have no road sense.
- Cruel humans - Sad but true, not everybody loves animals, and some derive great pleasure in killing cats. I have also heard from pet owners whose cats have been deliberately poisoned by irate neighbours who resent cats entering their garden.
- Preventing hunting of native wildlife, plus eliminating the risk of your cat picking up a disease from an infected animal.
- Greatly reduces the chances of your cat picking up a parasitic infection such as fleas and worms.
- Preventing injuries from cat fights. The most common injury is an abscess which is incredibly painful to a cat, and will need to be treated by a veterinarian.
- Accidental poisoning.
- Theft - This may occur because somebody takes a fancy to your cat, there are also sinister reasons to steal cats such as to provide them to animal laboratories for testing.
- Lower veterinary bills. Due to the reduced risks of injury and parasitic infections in indoor cats, you will have much lower veterinary bills.
It is quite possible for an indoor cat to be a happy cat. Below are some suggestions on ensuring your indoor cat remains entertained and happy.
- If it is at all possible you can give your cat the best of both worlds. Provide it with a screened in porch or outdoor cat enclosure without, your cat can enjoy the great outdoors without the risks associated with free-roaming cats. There are many great cat enclosures and porches on this page. Enclosures come in all shapes and sizes, they can be homemade or supplied by a specialised cat enclosure company.
- Train your cat to walk on a leash. It is quite possible to do this with a little time and effort.
- Provide your cat with a cat tree. This will enable your cat to indulge in his love of climbing, and will double up as a place to sharpen his claws.
- Place perches on windowsills so your cat can enjoy the sun and watch the outside world.
- Keep a supply of toys on hand. Indulge in your cat's natural instinct to prey and hunt by providing appropriate toys. These could include toy mice, corks from bottles, wand type toys. Cats love to hide, you can provide it with plenty of entertainment just by giving it an old box or two or a paper bag (never use a plastic bag) to play with and hide in.
- Make some time daily to play with your cat, this will not only provide him/her with stimulation but also encourage exercise.
- Plant some catnip or cat grass in a planter for your cat to nibble on.
- Put a bird feeder or bath outside for your cat's entertainment.
- You can now purchase videos especially for cats to watch. I tried one such video on my two Burmese cats and they loved it. The video contained footage of birds and insects. They sat there glued to the television, occasionally taking a swipe at the screen.
- Consider having two cats so they can play together.
- Cardboard boxes. Cheap, easy to obtain and will provide your cat(s) with hours of fun. See our article on cats and boxes.
- If you have the time, energy and money, purchase a fish tank to keep your feline amused. Obviously, make sure this is a tank which your cat won't be able to easily knock over or climb into. As fish keeping does require time and effort in order to keep the tank clean and the fish healthy, this should only be something you do if you are happy to take on the extra work involved in keeping a fish tank. On the upside, your cat and you will be entertained for hours watching the beautiful fish.
If you have any other great ideas on how to keep indoor cats happy I'd love to hear from you.