Keeping a cat inside is one of the best ways to ensure a long and healthy life. Cats love to be cats, and a happy indoor life requires you add some feline friendly stimulation to enrich the indoor surroundings. The goal is to encourage activities which mimic their behavior in the wild. It’s easy, and your cat will thank you!
- Provide Fun Cat Toys
Every cat should have toys for chasing, to bat around, to hide inside, and to enjoy together with their people. Dr. Shapiro has many ideas for homemade toys (see the video for one great example of a simple homemade cat toy). Some of the best toys for both cats and people are pouncing toys. These are typically a flexible rod with a line that ends in something furry or feathery to engage a cat’s prey drive. Please note these kinds of pouncing toys should never be left with your cat unsupervised. Another fun toy is a laser pointer that gives cats a spot of light to chase. (Just be careful not to aim the beam into your cat’s eyes). If you have a cat that likes cat nip, it’s safe to indulge him. You can rub cat nip onto scratching posts, cat trees, or stuff and rub onto cat toys. Your cat nip-loving cat will appreciate it.
- We all know Cats Love to Climb
So, give them the opportunity to climb. Cat trees mounted from the floor to the ceiling that are equipped with perching platforms will give your cat the opportunity to look down on the rest of the world. When cats are feeling nervous, climbing high helps to alleviate their stress. Stress reduction has been shown to reduce illness in cats. So let your cats climb, it’s actually good for their health!
- Provide Rooms with Views
It’s easy to provide some visual stimulation for your indoor cat by putting a bird feeder outside a window fitted with a cat-sized ledge that allows for comfortable viewing. Note that looking outside is not always going to work for every indoor cat. If your yard is attracting other cats from the neighborhood, your own cat may become frustrated or stressed by the sight of a visiting outdoor cat. Blocking outdoor cats from your yard or discouraging them with sprinklers may solve the problem. Otherwise, you may have to make certain windows inaccessible to your own cat.
Another option for cat viewing is a TV. There are several companies that offer DVDs for cats with a mix of cat-friendly images and sounds.
- Spend Time Together
Of course, one of the best things you can do for your indoor cat is to just hang out. Petting, brushing, and playing are all great. Your cat loves just spending time with you.
Research has shown that environmental enrichment reduces stress and stress reduction helps keep cats healthy. The best way to get started is to look at your house from a cat’s point of view and add a few fun feline enrichments. Your cat can be both safe and happy indoors. Please share any of your feline indoor enrichment ideas with us and visit https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats for more information on keeping your indoor cat healthy.