Keeping Your Cat Happy While Inside Your Home
If your cat already explores the world with you, you may wonder why they can’t explore the world with you.
Did you know that a cat who goes outside by themselves has an average lifespan of 5 years? This is because a cat that roams by itself is more likely to suffer through painful experiences like being hit by a car, ingesting poison like antifreeze or pesticide or attack from another roaming animal.
Keeping your domestic cat indoors will help extend their lifespan to up to 15 years or more. If your cat enjoys going outside, you can help scratch this itch by catexploring with them. This is a safe way for your cat to go outside and also provides you with additional opportunities to bond with them.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to go catexploring with your kitty either because of extreme hot or cold weather, low air quality or even time constraints. As such, we need to find ways to ensure that our kitty’s indoor life is enriched. This will help combat boredom and potential aggressive and destructive behaviour due to being bored.
We asked our community about how they keep their cats entertained while indoors, especially when they can’t take them for a walk on a harness and leash.
Toys are an easy way to keep your kitty entertained indoors.
The cat toy industry seems to be booming with so many options! We suggest you have a variety of toys. We suggest playing with your kitty once a day with their toys.
And to keep your kitty entertained, we recommend that you rotate the toys that are available for them to play with. (Tip from our personal experience – put the toys that they are not using in a spot that they cannot reach!).
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Free Standing Toys
Just bear in mind that the effect of catnip may only last 10 minutes and it may take a couple of hours for your cat to respond to it again.
Many cats just love interactive toys that give them an opportunity to play with their human. It also provides you with a precious opportunity to bond & play with your kitty.
Just like humans, our cats need mental stimulation and puzzles are a great way to do this.
What we like about puzzles is that they are a toy that your cat can play by themselves if you are not home.
Toys that Don’t Look Like Toys!
Cats are notorious for making toys from everyday objects like boxes, paper bags and wrapping paper. These are great options to mix their toys up.
In saying this, we recommend that you do not allow your cat to play with little objects or ribbon that they might swallow as this can be a choking hazard or cause an obstruction in their stomach. Items that might be dangerous include yarn, ribbon and hair ties.
We also suggest that you do not allow your cat to play with items that should not be a toy. For example a piece of paper. If your cat plays with one piece of paper, they will struggle to understand why they cannot play with another piece of paper, which may be precious to you.
Cats are playful creatures and there are creative and fun ways to create games for them including:
‘Magic carpet rides’ on floorboards (and please, sing “A Whole New World” while doing this!)
Tips/chasing each other
Hide and seek – and reward your kitty when they do find you with a treat or a cuddle
Play with siblings
Most cats like to follow their humans around while they are at home.
To keep your cat entertained, you can involve them while you are doing the boring house chores like laundry. Some members of our community have trained their cats to sit in certain spots while they are cooking and have made this into a game.
And involving your cat in house chores will make the otherwise tedious and boring tasks interesting for you too!
You can also teach your cat tricks like sit, high five, spin, jump and so much more.
Cat trees or cat condos provide your cat with a place to make their own. They provide your cat with locations to spend time in and to watch you from up high. They also make use of vertical space in what may be small living quarters.
An additional benefit of cat trees is that many come with areas for scratching. Scratching helps your kitty stay healthy and limber and a cat tree will give your cat a spot to scratch, which is not your furniture!
Our cats love watching the world outside and a window mounted hammock provides a great spot for our cats to sit, lounge and watch the world. They also provide the excellent spot for your cat to relax in the sun.
Cats love climbing and being up high. Many of us live in small apartments and a cat wall is an excellent way to provide our cats with the opportunity to go up high. They provide an opportunity for your cat to watch what is happening in their kingdom.
Cats just love boxes and you can use this to your advantage and build a box fort or castle.
It is easy to create caves for your cat to explore and sit in using blankets and sheets and cushions. We also love throwing a blanket over a chair and our cats love sitting inside it.
Mice and hamsters are provided with wheels to burn off their excess energy. Similarly you can purchase a cat wheel for your cat. They may require some time to get use to using the wheel, but it will help your kitty burn through those zoomsies.
Moving your cat furniture around your house may help your cat see a new way to use the furniture or love some cat furniture that they haven’t been interested in before. It is an easy way to mix things up.
We have all been provided with endless entertainment by cats high on catnip. But did you know that not all cats are effected by catnip? 30 to 50% of cats do not have the gene that allows them to be impacted by catnip.
And how your cat is exposed to catnip also impacts the effect it has. Smelling catnip will make your kitty hyperactive while eating it will cause your cat to feel sleepy!
If your cat is sensitive to Catnip, we suggest spraying a small amount in certain areas of your house or on a toy. Just bear in mind that the impact only lasts for 10 minutes and repeated exposure may stop your cat from being sensitive to it. We suggest only spraying it once every 2 or 3 weeks.
If your kitty is unaffected by catnip, perhaps you can try introducing them to Valerian root.
You can introduce some toys that have been filled with Valerian root or sprinkle a small amount on toys or in your cat’s food (make sure it is chopped finely so that your cat does not choke on it).
Do not give you cat human Valerian root supplements, pills or liquids as they may be too strong for your kitty or have other ingredients that are not safe for cats.
As Valerian root acts as a stimulant, we also recommend that you use it sparingly.
Another option if your cat does not respond to catnip, is honeysuckle. However, only the Lonicera tartarica or the tartarian honeysuckle has an effect on cats.
There are also some species of honeysuckle and berries from the plants that may be toxic to cats. As such, we suggest that you only give you cat honeysuckle that is inside a toy and purchased from a trusted vendor.
Catnip, valerian root & honeysuckle all act as a stimulant on cats. While many cats become more playful when they are exposed to these, some cats do become aggressive. We recommend giving your cat a little space when you first expose them to either to see how they react.
We live in an amazing time, when we can use technology to help keep our cats stimulated at home.
Did you know that there are many amazing videos on YouTube that are for cats? They range from birds, squirrels and raccoons.
We suggest playing these videos on an old tablet or phone rather than your TV as you cat may tip your TV while trying to get to the birdies on the screen!
Cat apps are a great option if you have a spare old phone or tablet lying around. We recommend that you don’t use your current phone or tablet as your cat may damage it while playing!
Yes, you read that right! There is music for cats.
These range from music to relax your cat, to sounds from a farm.
Our cats just love the relaxing music and one even runs to sit in front of the speaker whenever it is on. A warning for humans – it may make you very sleepy too!
Bring the Outside In
Something that makes us laugh is how much our catexplorers love munching on grass and plants while exploring.
Providing the weather is safe for your kitty to go outside, a catio is an excellent way to allow them to go outside when you are time poor for adventures.
Like cat walls, there are many pre-made catios on the market or you can make your own. We particularly like this idea of using an IKEA shelf and repurposing it into a catio!
Cats are neat and clean creatures and like us hate to use a dirty litter box. We recommend that you clean their litter box regularly – your kitty will be grateful for it.
What do you do to keep your cat happy indoors?