It’s true that indoor cats are safer than their outdoor cat friends; they don’t have to contend with cars, getting into cat fights, or predators like coyotes and mountain lions. However, they do tend to be couch potatoes unless we step in to give them some entertainment.
Animal Medical Hospital wants to help you keep your indoor cat healthy and fit, and one way to do that is through environmental enrichment. So, we’re taking some tips and tricks from our arsenal and passing them on to you. Let’s get moving!
Keep Your Indoor Cat Healthy
Cats in the wild have specific behaviors that, well, make them cats. These natural instincts, if replicated indoors, can help your cat express themselves in a healthy way.
Here are some ideas…
Climbing – Cats like to climb up to survey their “territory”. If you have the space, a cat tree is a great investment. The best cat trees include flat spots for cats to nap, observe, and hide inside (such as an enclosed spot). Don’t have the floor space for a cat tree? Consider vertical shelving to give your cats a place to climb without the “tree”.
Scratching – Left to their own devices, cats will scratch furniture as scratching is a biological instinct that needs to be satisfied. Instead, provide them with a vertical scratching post that allows them to stretch to their full length.
“Hunting” – Cats are natural hunters, and so giving them some ways to express this behavior is a great way to keep them entertained indoors. Food puzzles or hiding their meal in small portions throughout their environment are a few ways to incorporate this into their daily entertainment.
Interactive toys – Cats love to chase, run, and jump and their athleticism knows no bounds. Give them some toys to chase and they will be happy for hours, and keep fit and trim. A feather wand is simple and great fun (and exercise) for cats.
Bring the outdoors in – The newest rage in indoor cat enrichment is bringing the outdoors in, by giving them access to the outdoors in a safe, screened enclosure. A cat window box, catio, or even an outdoor pop up tent can give your cat a taste of the great outdoors while keeping them safe.
Another way to bring the outdoors in is with plants. Cats love to chow down on grass and of course, catnip. First, visit the ASPCA list of toxic plants to learn which ones not to have in a pet friendly home. Then, purchase a few safe plants with your kitties in mind. You can also provide a small plot of grass. Pure entertainment – for them, and for you!
Plenty of face time – One of the best things you can do to keep your indoor cat healthy is to spend plenty of time with her. Contrary to popular belief, cats are social creatures who thrive on attention and social interaction with you.
Whatever you choose, keeping your indoor cat healthy and happy requires a mix of physical and mental stimulation and activity. Adding enrichment to their indoor environment take a little time and effort, but your cat will thank you!
Give us a call and let us know how you’ve made your indoor cat’s environment entertaining and fun.