Cats need to roam! Right? Wrong! It is a sometimes hotly contest conversation on whether indoor cats are happier and healthier than outdoor cats. Proponents of outdoor cats believe these cats indulge their hunting instinct and enjoy nature the way their indoor counterparts cannot.
Proponents of indoor-only cats believe that indoor cats are just as happy and healthy and they are certainly safer. An indoor cat isn’t going to fall victim to being prey to another animal. An indoor cat won’t kill the birds on the neighbor’s bird feeder (something your neighbors may feel strongly about). An indoor cat, especially one who may not be spayed won’t bring home an unwanted litter of kittens. An indoor cat won’t roam somewhere that you cannot find him.
You can have an indoor-only cat who lives a life full of cat-centric fun in which she can indulge her hunting instincts in a safe manner. Indoor cats need fresh air and exercise and that means you will have to concentrate on indoor cat enrichment of her environment. When you invest in a cat health insurance policy, your indoor cat will benefit from living a longer, healthier life!
What’s a cat parent of an indoor-only cat to do to ensure the cat is healthy, happy and not bored by his indoor lifestyle?
Here are a few tips:
- Open the windows! Just as you don’t want to continually breathe recirculated heated or air-conditioned air, neither do your cats. Open a window and let them sit on the window sill and soak up the heat and breathe in the fresh air. As a precaution, you may want to put reinforced screens or bars on the window, so your cat won’t fall through the screen.
- Build a catio. Yes, this is a bigger investment than simply reinforcing a window sill so you cat can indulge in the summer weather. If you have space and a window you can devote to being an entrance and exit for your cat, hire a contractor or build a catio yourself. A catio is a structure that attaches to your home with a screened and/or glassed in area complete with cat trees and earth at ground level. Your cat can access the catio through an open window and can indulge her instinct to chase any bugs that make their way into the screened in area.
- Buy a large dog crate. Take the crate outside, remove the plastic tray on the bottom then put your cats in the crate. Place it in an area that is both shaded and sunny, give them water and some food and let them explore the outdoors through the confines of the crate. Don’t leave them outside alone in case an errant dog comes to the neighborhood and tries to knock the crate over.
- Teach your cat to walk on a leash. Yes, cats can be taught to walk on leashes. I have two cats who I got accustomed to a harness and leash when they were kittens. I can now take them out of doors in the summer and let them lie in the warm grass, chase butterflies and otherwise indulge a love of the outdoors without roaming loose.
- Winter indoor enrichment. If you live in an area of the country where you’re faced with snow and cold temperatures you can still enrich your indoor cat’s life. Indoor cats should have an area to call their own – whether for sleeping, using a litterbox or eating. Make sure your cats have access to places where they can watch the family goings on from up high; the top of a bookcase, refrigerator or a tall cat tree. Buy puzzle food toys to let your cat pounce and hunt for treats, this is also an ideal way for your cat to get exercise. Grab a laser toy or a feather toy or your cat’s favorite catnip toy and play with her regularly to chase away the doldrums. Bring in a log or large stick from the outdoors and let your cats use it as a scratching post!
Indoor cats will inevitably live longer lives than their outdoor counterparts. Indoor cats require enrichment to keep them from being destructive and to keep them entertained in both body and mind and there are many easy ways to do just that!
It’s important to remember that indoor cats get sick and injured as well! Make sure that if an accident or injury occurs to your feline friend that you’re covered! Get a free quote here.
Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!