There are many benefits associated with keeping your cats indoors, including protection from trauma, accidents, fights and infectious disease! However, there are also risks associated with this lifestyle, such as boredom and stress! As such, it is important for owner’s to take initiative to prevent this from occurring, thereby avoiding any behavioural issues that may result. The following are some helpful tips:
- Provide scratching posts: This is an instinctive behaviour that seems to persist even after a declaw has been performed.
- Provide quiet, secluded sleeping areas: Try placing a bed, tent, or even a cardboard box in your cats favourite sleeping spot.
- Supply your cat with vertical spaces to explore: Try clearing the tops of furniture, providing cat tree-houses/condos or window ledges!
- Play time: Playing behaviours can satisfy the hunting instinct. Provide a selection of cat toys that your kitty can use alone, or with you!
- Feeding time: To provide more stimulation during feeding, try placing small amounts of food at various spots around the house, using food puzzles, or placing the food into egg carton wells that will require your cat to scoop it out!
- Tricks: Try teaching your cat some simple tricks to provide mental stimulation. There are many resources available on this topic, including books available at your local pet store and online sites and videos.
- Socialization: Although cats are solitary hunters, they are still social creatures that appreciate time spent with them – including petting, rubbing, grooming and cuddling!
To learn more, visit the “Indoor Cat Initiative” from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine