Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Keeping Indoor Cats Happy

I receive a news letter from Dr. Jon at http://www.petplace.com/ and he usually has some neat tips for cats that let you live with them. He also promotes his "favorite" products. You should check out Dr. Jon if you have cats and want to learn about their health, etc. This article about how to keep your indoor cat happy is one that I enjoyed reading....not going to let Callie Ann and Lizzie Tu read it, because they are already too spoiled!
Callie Ann
Lizzie Tu

 A bored cat is not a happy cat ... and unhappy cats tend to have more behavioral problems.
Bored cats are known to have unhealthy or destructive behaviors such as scratching, aggression, depression, lethargy, over-vocalization/crying, increased or decreased appetite, and sleeping more. Bored cats also have more problems with urinating outside the litter box.

As I've mentioned before, keeping a cat indoors has many benefits. Among other things, it minimizes the chance for outdoor traumas such as being hit by a car, animal attacks and common infectious diseases, just to name a few. Indoor-only cats may live twice as long on average over indoor/outdoor cats.

But with the decision to keep your cat indoors comes the responsibility of making sure your indoor-only cat has the things he or she needs to be happy.

What do you think? Is your indoor cat bored or happy?
Here are some tips to help stimulate your cat so he or she can have an enriched happy environment:

First - Evaluate your home environment. Is it cat friendly? Are there lots of things for your cat to do, play with and watch? Consider the things cats enjoy...do you have them in your home?

Next - Think about what you can do to enrich your home with things that will make your cat happy. This may be as simple as moving a chair by the window to give your cat a view. There should be windows to look out of, things to watch, places to climb, and plenty of safe toys to play with.

Here are 7 ways to keep your indoor cat happy:

1. Create a Window View . Think about getting a window perch or window seat for your cat. It is important for your indoor cat to have a "view" and the ability to watch what is going on outside. This is a great way to create a stimulating environment. There are commercially available "window beds" that attach to your window frame. Cats love these. Another option is a cat tree placed near a window that allows an outside view.

Our cats get up on the back of the couch and look out the window. They also lay between the back of the couch and the window on the window sill and sun. We open the bathroom window every morning and evening for them to sit in it. They also go out into the garage and sit on the shelf we made for them to look out that window.

2. Rotate Plenty of Toys. Cats become bored with the same toys after a while. A great tip is to hide a toy for a while and then reintroduce it. Keep a supply of toys that you rotate. My favorite cat toy is the " Undercover Mouse". It is one of the best cat toys I've seen in a long while. This toy is like a "mouse hunt" indoors. It has a wand that randomly moves under a piece of fabric. The tip of this wand, which looks like a mouse's tail, peeks out from the edge of the fabric and cats just love to chase it. For more information, go to: www.petproductadvisor.com/undercovermouse.

3. Get Some Catnip. For cats that are sensitive to catnip, offer your cat some catnip to enjoy periodically. Also, "marinating" toys in catnip when you put them away is a great way to encourage your cat to enjoy them even more when you reintroduce them.

4. Schedule Playtime . Schedule time twice a day to play with your cat. Allow him or her to chase the ball, laser pointer or feathery flyer. Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to play with your cat. You can even do this while you are watching TV in the evening.

This one made me laugh...schedule time...really? Our cats TELL US when we are going to play with them. They bring the shoe strings and mice to us. Our cats play fetch with mice and just about any of their other toys.

5. Give Plenty of Love Time. Some cats really want a little of your time and attention. Encourage your cat to curl up with you when you are resting.

Our cats will only allow you to pick them up or hold them when it is their idea. This photo of Dennis with Callie Ann on his lap is a rare happening. Lizzie Tu usually gets up on my lap every evening for a few minutes to be petted and loved. Callie Ann "puts me to bed" by getting up on the bed for her nightly petting and then off she goes.
                                                              Dennis brushing Callie Ann

6. Grow Some Cat Grass . Some indoor cats love to chew on a little cat grass - just like they would if they were outdoors. It is easy to grow and very healthy for your cat.

7. Give Your Cat a Spot of Sun. Cats love the sun. Find a nice window where the sun shines in and place a cat bed in that location. If you have the blinds or curtains closed, consider opening them so your cat can bask for a while in the sun.

Lizzie Tu
Usually there is more sun coming in the front door, but our cats love to lay in the sun there when we open the door for them. Their favorite place in like I mentioned above, in the front window.

Climbing posts, scratching posts, cat grass, windows perches, window beds, toys and a view to watch birds or squirrels are all great ways to enrich your indoor cat's life and prevent boredom.

Check out Dr. Jon at http://www.petplace.com/ and read some of his other topics about cats.

1 comment:

  1. Our cats love looking out the windows! And now that we have a screened-in porch, they love sitting out there to get some fresh air and watch the birds. When I was a kid, we had an outdoor cat who disappeared, so after that I wouldn't want to keep a cat outside again. :(