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 owners to take initiative to prevent this from occurring, thereby avoiding any behavioural issues that may result. The following are some helpful tips:
- Health Care: Although indoor cats are indoors (mostly), many pop outdoors or sometimes the outdoors comes inside like Rabid bats. Parasites have been known to travel in potting soil. Routine health measures are still important to the indoor cat, just like their outdoor cousins!
- Provide quiet, secluded sleeping areas: Try placing a bed, tent, or even a cardboard box in your cat’s favourite sleeping spot. Their carrier with the door removed or blocked open makes a good hiding-sleeping space and being exposed to it daily makes it no big deal when the door closes and they go boarding or for medical care.
- 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