What to know when keeping indoor cats
Living in flats or on busy roads can make an indoor cat seem like your safest and easiest option when considering becoming a cat owner. But what is the difference, and what is the best way to keep a cat indoors?
The RSPCA say that there is no evidence to suggest being an indoor cat is any better or worse for your pet than being an outside one. Of course, either way you must consider the needs of the animal and make sure it is well catered for.
When indoors, this requires a little more work to ensure you keep indoor cat happy and give them everything they need from their environment.
Is it the best option?
This depends completely on your circumstances, and those of your cat. A new kitten should adapt well to living inside as they have not known any different. An older cat that has spent a lot of time roaming outside, on the other hand, may find it difficult to accept the reduced freedom and space they have.
Consider your outdoor environment, the number of cats in your neighbourhood and the proximity of fast and busy roads. If you feel it’s too dangerous, keep them in but remember that there are difficulties and dangers in your house too.
Cats can become bored if they are unable to follow their hunter instinct, which can lead to depression or illness and there are hazards in the home which can cause accidents.
Make sure you are aware of these before taking on an indoor cat.
Keeping an indoor cat instantly resolves the issue of your cat getting into fights, unwanted breeding and picking up illnesses. Keeping a cat indoors also eliminates the chance of your cat straying and going missing.
However, even with these benefits it is important to remember that a cat is an animal that needs interaction. So if you’re thinking of keeping a cat indoors there are some considerations that need to be made.
Keep them active
To help prevent the boredom and frustration of your cat, which can lead to them scratching beloved pieces of furniture, try to keep them as occupied as possible. Buy plenty of toys and scratching posts, and put them all over the house so that they feel there are many different areas for them to explore and keep them interested. You can also provide your indoor cats with a range of surfaces at various levels, so they can climb.
This will get them to let off steam, and wear down their claws. Also buy new toys regularly to prevent them getting bored of their old ones. Don’t forget to play with your cat too; as an indoor cat they won’t get the chance to socialise as they would outside so you may be the only playmate they have. One idea is to place a bird-feeder in your garden that’s watchable from a window with a ledge. Indoor cats will enjoy keeping an eye on the wildlife in your garden.
You can even take your cat out for a walk on a lead, with a harness rather than a collar. Get them used to walking on a lead in the house and then venture out to let them see the great outdoors.
You should also make an effort to play a game with your indoor cats on a daily basis. A 10-minute game twice a day will ease boredom and strengthen the bond between you.
Hide a few treats around your home for your cat to discover and find a nice surprise.
Cat-proof your home
Make your home into a pet paradise that your cat won’t want to leave. Open the windows a little to give them some fresh air but make sure they are secure so they can’t jump out.
Keep a clean litter tray in your home in an easily accessed place and try using scented litter so it doesn’t smell unpleasant. Clean out regularly, and thoroughly, and remain vigilant so that your home stays clean and your cat avoids infection.
Try to keep the lid of the toilet down too, especially if you have a small kitten that may climb in and drown. Chemicals around the home are another hazard for cats so put any bleach or toxic cleaning products in a sealed cat-proof container to avoid accidental consumption.
Cat’s love clawing and chewing and a mess of electrical cables is a danger you can easily limit. Where possible, bundle together electrical cords using a cable-tidy and put them out of reach to keep curious claws from a potentially fatal hazard.