How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Happy and Entertained

How Do I Keep My Indoor Cat Entertained?

Ideally all cats would be free to enjoy the great outdoors, running around in the grass, chasing squirrels, and climbing trees. However, it’s often much safer to keep cats inside, due to health issues, the presence of coyotes in the neighborhood, busy streets nearby filled with speeding cars and other risks. 


To make sure that your cat is happy living inside it’s always best to do what you can to provide them with an environment that allows them to exhibit some of their natural hunting and exploring behaviors. It’s important to provide cats with an enriching environment, so they are happy and contented staying inside. Otherwise, your cat can easily become frustrated and express this with overly aggressive behavior, perhaps scratching the furniture, soiling the rug rather than using the litter box, or constantly howling for attention. The last thing you would want is for your cat to become depressed and listless because you aren’t fulfilling his/her needs. 


To create the type of home environment that will keep your indoor cat happy, fulfilled, safe and entertained you will need the following: 


1. Plenty of Toys & Playtime 

You may not realize this, but cats need just as much love and attention as dogs. For your indoor cat to be happy you should set time aside twice a day to play with your cat for at least 5-10 minutes at a time. Cats especially love fishing rod toys and feather teasers. They also love playing fetch with those little foil balls they can chase after and bat around. And, of course I don’t need to mention the fun catnip filled toys that move. You can also play games with your cat, like hiding treats that he/she must sniff out to find, which lets them hunt and explore like they would in nature. 


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2. Safe Places to Hide

Cats are not always confident, outgoing and sociable. In fact, many kitties are quite shy and if you like having visitors your cat will likely want someplace safe to hide. This helps to keep them from being stressed out. Their hiding place could be inside a cardboard box, under the bed, in a cupboard or a closet. So, you might want to keep a couple doors ajar so your kitty can easily duck in and out when needed. 


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3. Vertical Spaces to Climb & Explore

Cats are natural climbers and explorers, so you should provide ways for them to get this out of their system. This can be with a system of shelves and/or by placing some tall scratching posts around your home with built-in platforms for sleeping and enclosed cubbies for hiding. Cats love these can spend hours climbing around on them. So, these scratching-post trees are ideal and can easily be placed around the home without interfering with your décor.


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4. Appropriate Feeding Setup

Did you know that cats have special preferences when it comes to where they eat? I guess it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to have their food or water dish anywhere near their litter box. They also do not like their food and water dishes to be close to each other either. Cats are instinctively very sanitary animals, and if they smell anything near their water dish, like cat food, they sense their water isn’t clean. Keep this in mind when you set things up.


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5. Protection from Indoor Risks

The house can be a risky place for cats unless you take steps to mitigate those risks. Make sure you keep the toilet lid down, and the doors closed on your washer and dryer. You know how much cats love hiding in cubbies, so these must remain shut at all times unless you’re standing right there. 

Cleaning products are full of toxic chemicals, so these pose serious risks to your cat. You can cat-proof your home with special clasps on these cupboards so they snap closed and even the most resourceful of cats can’t open them. However, the best solution is to keep them out in the garage in a closed cupboard that your cat could never get to. 

Certain house plants are poisonous as well, so be very careful about which kinds of house plants you have in your home. Your local nursery should be able to give you a rundown on which ones to avoid. It’s also important that you have locks on every window, and that your screens are securely installed so your cat can’t just pop it out if they see a squirrel running by. 


Did you know that certain plants can pose a serious risk to your cat? Now that summer has started there are a lot of plants starting to bloom...

As you can see, there is a lot to do to keep your cat happily entertained when he/she is confined to the house. Even though your kitty isn’t going outside and being exposed to other animals, you still need to keep his/her vaccinations up to date for optimum health. Also, don’t forget that you need to make sure your cat is neutered or spayed as well. And, on the off chance that your cat does get outside, you may want to have him/her microchipped so that if he/she is lost the chip can be scanned and you will be identified as the owner. 


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3 comments

  • We moved 2 times in six years with 2 cats. The first move went well because we moved the cats into our new home after the movers moved our things in. The second move was a little more stressful as we moved in before the movers came. We discovered that the cats were very frightened because none of their “things” were there. As soon as the movers moved our things in the cats were fine. So if you can move the cat in after the movers come that would work best but if not possible bring some of your items that have your cat’s scent on them so kitty will feel more secure. =^..^=

    Diane L Fleck
  • Call your veterinarian. They might have a tip or two. Cats are very intuitive and will take cues from your behavior so take it easy and include him in the process by bringing some of his stuff early on so he can be left alone for in-beteen trips. If he’s been with you his whole life he’ll tell you what he wants. I’ve had cats since I’m a little boy. I’m now almost 80 years old I know them well I love them dearly but they’re smart little devils and a key off us. So follow your nose knowing his won’t be far behind.
    The first night he joins you in bed at the new place will tell you all you need to know.

    Mick
  • Our cat has lived in this house her entire life. Now we’re moving. What can I do to help make it easier for her?

    Sandra

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