Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives, protected from the many outdoor dangers. Cats can be totally happy living indoors, so long as their environment supports their instincts and keeps them engaged. Expand your cat’s indoor world by setting up intentional spaces in your home that meet their mental and physical needs. Use the Ambleside Animal Hospital team’s guide to indoor feline bliss to ensure your cat is happy at home.
Feline bliss: Vertical spaces
Every cat-friendly home must have accessible vertical spaces. Cats instinctively look for high places—you’ve probably found your cat in precarious places, like the top of the refrigerator or kitchen cabinets. Cats choose these high locations for their visual advantage and security, because they can easily view their surroundings and see anyone approaching. Vertical spaces can also ease tension in multi-cat households by providing every cat with some space where they can feel safe and not threatened by other pets or people below. The vertical spaces also encourage daily exercise—jumping and climbing are great kitty workouts—and enhance your cat’s mental and physical wellbeing. You can easily incorporate vertical spaces into your home.
- Window perches — Cats love to lounge, and a sunny window is a perfect lounging spot, with the bonus of enjoying the views and activity outside. Install a window perch with a view of a bird feeder, and your cat will be entertained for hours.
- Cat trees — Cat trees come in many shapes and sizes, but choose one with a broad base and a sturdy stand. Many cats like trees with holes where they can hide, or tunnels they can climb through for exercise.
- Wall-mounted shelves — Securely install shelving at a jumpable level, and put some catnip or a favorite toy on one of the shelves to encourage your cat to explore their new perch—and get more exercise.
Feline bliss: A home where cats can scratch
Scratching is a natural and beneficial behavior that cats use for nail maintenance, marking territory, stretching, and stress relief. But, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your furniture for your cat’s scratching needs—instead place scratching posts strategically throughout the house to encourage appropriate scratching.
Choose a scratching post that is tall enough for your cat to scratch at full stretch and includes horizontal and vertical scratching surfaces of various textures (e.g., corrugated cardboard, sisal, wood). Also, location matters. Place the posts in areas your cat frequents often, including their favorite resting spots, because cats like to stretch and scratch when they first wake up.
Feline bliss: Entertainment
A life indoors doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some activities that will entertain your indoor cat:
- Engaging toys — Cat toys such as feather wands or motion-activated mice not only provide fun and exercise but also tap into your cat’s natural prey drive.
- Puzzle feeders — Puzzle feeders challenge your cat’s mind, as they forage for the hidden treats.
- Cat tunnels — Cat tunnels allow your cats to pretend they’re in the wild outdoors, where they love to play, pounce, run, and hide. Tunnels are available in a variety of configurations for every amount of space.
- Television — Some cats are captivated by the TV action. Find a cat-focused channel—yes, they exist!—that stimulates them with movement they can track on screen.
- Quality time — Cats may be independent creatures, yet they still crave attention and love from people. Spending quality time with your cat is one of the best ways to ensure they live a happy, healthy life. Get down to your cat’s level, play together with their toys, or spend time gently brushing them. However you choose to connect, simply being together will strengthen your bond, and your cat’s general wellbeing.
Feline bliss: Good health through regular wellness exams
Preventive care is an important part of your cat’s long-term health. While the exam frequency will depend on their age and health history, adult cats generally should be seen at least annually. In addition to keeping your cat’s vaccinations up to date, wellness exams allow your veterinarian to monitor your cat’s weight, and to catch and treat diseases in their earliest stages when they have the best outcomes.
At Ambleside Animal Hospital, your cat’s health and wellbeing are our top priority. If you have any concerns about your indoor cat’s health, such as lack of exercise, contact our team to schedule your cat’s annual wellness exam, and we can make recommendations that will help ensure your cat lives a long, happy, healthy life.