July 26, 2022
Happy Cat: How To Keep Your Feline Family Member Happy Indoors
Whether you have an outdoor or indoor cat, you want them to be happy when they’re home; this becomes more important during the warmer months when they might be a little more interested in exploring outside, or the colder months of the year when they need to be inside. There is no scientific evidence that points to cats being happier outdoors, so you should be able to provide everything your feline family member needs to remain not only content but happy while in your home!
Here are five ways to keep your cat happy while they’re indoors.
Keep It Clean
Anyone who has spent time with cats knows that they are clean freaks. Cats spend multiple hours a day grooming and cleaning themselves, so it should come as no surprise that they prefer their environments to be clean as well. Your cat’s litter box and eating area are most likely the main offenders in this arena. Make sure you are cleaning and changing both your cat’s litter box and food and water bowls regularly. Cats quickly become irritated with a reused bowl or messy litterbox and may start refusing food or finding a new place to go to the bathroom. Each problem can be easily remedied with a little due diligence on your part.
Cats also like a clean space to sleep and often rotate through their favorite spots. Which may include small enclosed areas with one entrance, spots up high with a good vantage point, and places tucked away from the hustle and bustle of your home. Wherever your cat chooses to rest, they prefer it to be clean, so make sure to find their favorite spots and keep them free of clutter.
Additionally, cats like to play with clean toys, so keep toys in a clean space away from the litter box and wash them if possible!
As a cat owner, you know you need to play with your cat. But, do you know how much and why? While they are generally relaxed, cats also have the instinct to hunt, and that’s why they play the way they do. Regular daily play satisfies this instinct. It also helps your cat exercise to maintain a healthy weight, reduces boredom and stress, and helps them maintain and improve their psychological health. If cats do not get enough play time in their daily routine, their habits and personalities can change, and they may become aggressive or destructive.
Interactive play is the best way to satisfy your cat’s primal instinct. Felines love to chase toys, lights, and you! Provide your cat with one to two play sessions of twenty to thirty minutes each day, and think of creative ways to provide enrichment even when you aren’t home. Homemade enrichment toys, treat dispensers, and interactive toys are all fantastic options to keep your cat purring and relaxed!
Create A Vantage Point
Cats love heights. In the wild, a high vantage point allows felines to survey their environment, seek out prey, and remain safe from potential predators. That instinct is still hardwired into the lions in our living rooms.
A high vantage point serves many functions: it’s a way to get away from kids who want to pick them up, avoid dogs who chase them, and remain secure and relaxed while still being able to hang out with their favorite humans. There is also an element of prestige in being higher than everyone else in the home because cats have a thing with status if you haven’t noticed.
TV For Your Cat!
Cats LOVE windows; it’s like watching television for them. Birds, squirrels, other cats, and humans provide your cat with hours of viewing pleasure from a safe place. This may also mean tracking outdoor creatures and scurrying to other windows in your home to continue their “binge watching”. Windows are also a spot for your cat to keep an eye on you when you go outside.
Especially during the warmer months, open windows mean breezes carrying plenty of new smells for your cat to enjoy. These scents provide your cat enrichment by entertaining them and giving them something new with which to interact. Windows can also present the opportunity for interaction with insects, which gives your feline the chance to swat at flies as if they were playing whack-a-mole!
If you have long curtains or blinds, your windows can provide your cat with an isolated spot to unwind and nap. When possible, you should open your windows for your cat to enjoy, but make sure you have properly installed screens first!
Here’s something that should go without saying: your cat NEEDS attention every day. Regardless of any preconceived notions, cats ARE social creatures, and thirty minutes of daily attention is crucial to their health and social development. This essential interaction helps to strengthen your bond with your cat and allows them to feel like part of the pack. Your cat may not always outwardly show it, but they also DO like you and ARE affectionate creatures. Cats who do not receive proper attention can become destructive and anti-social, so ensure they get enough playtime, snuggles, and massages!
Your cat will let you know if they are craving attention. Following you around, providing auditory cues such as whining or meowing, jumping up on furniture you’re sitting on, knocking random household items down, or scratching at things they don’t normally scratch at, are all ways cats will try to demand your attention.
When we welcome feline family members into our homes, we take on the responsibility of keeping them happy and healthy. Properly maintained and clean cat areas, appropriate amounts of play, places of their own to safely hang out, maybe an open window now and then, and plenty of love and affection make for a happy cat! Following these simple tips is an easy way to keep your kitty purring!