I read in Tracey Stewart’s Do Unto Animals that indoor cats live longer than feral cats (about a ten-year difference). I don’t have any cats of my own, but my family has cats and practically adopt any cat that walks into the house and decides to stay (there’s a cat door). Collectively there are seven cats and then a few strays that stop by regularly. The oldest cat we’ve ever had was Harry. He lived to be 19. He stayed mostly indoors, but sometimes I’d catch him roaming through the trees outside. Our second oldest cat is Mamie. She used to stay inside, but I hear that she panics if she’s inside too long, so my family never lets her in anymore. It makes me sad because she tries to follow me in when I visit and then she’ll sit at the window, scratching and meowing for a good 15 minutes. She’s about eight or nine-years-old.
If you don’t allow your cats to roam around outside, they can get pretty bored being cooped up all day and that’s just not fair for anyone. Here are five ways to keep your cat happy and stimulated.
Provide Lots of Toys & “Hunting” Opportunities
We have feathers on strings, bells on strings, little mouse-shaped toys and just about any other type of cat toy you can think of. It feels like one big hunt when the cats see the toys. They all scatter throughout the room and enter prowl mode. They take turns sneaking up on the toy and attacking it. Bessie, the oldest of the indoor bunch, tends to hog the toys if a person is playing with the cats. The younger cats grab the toys on their own and play with them, sometimes hiding them away in their play boxes.
Create Fun Pads Out of Boxes
My cats love boxes. It’s insane house easily amused they are. We cut holes into the boxes and stick them all together and the cats make a hotel out of them. They nap in the boxes, hide toys in the boxes and play hide and seek with one another in the boxes. Boxes and storage containers also come in handy if you have a lot of strays in your neighborhood or if you have outdoor cats. Fill the boxes and containers with blankets to keep the cats warm during winter months.
Plant Cat Grass & Other Plants That Are Safe For Feline Consumption
Cats are natural detectives. They like to prowl through the grass and investigate the plants. Grow cat grass inside and look into plants that are safe for cats to consume. Keeping plants in your house completely changes the aura and makes your space feel more natural and earthy, which can be good for both you and your cat.
Train Your Cat to Walk on A Leash (Or Just to Walk With You)
It’s probably best to chip your cat if you let him or her outside without a leash. Our cats are accustom to walking in and out as they please, so they are all chipped and don’t require a leash. Whenever we take the dogs for a walk, the cats will scatter throughout the neighborhood and play with us during walks. Sometimes they walk with us. Kitty and Bessie, the two girls, tend to walk with us, while the boys tend to just pop up every so often. It’s nice to go on walks with the cats because they get to be wild and act like cats are meant to. I’ve even witnessed them hunting squirrels.
I believe all animals should get a fair amount of time outdoors every day, so look into ways that you can make sure your cat gets fresh air.
Let Your Cat Climb
Cats like to play “sneak attack” with each other, so they need lots of room and different angles to choose from. It’s never safe for cats or dogs to have access to the kitchen counter because they may encounter dangerous foods or objects. However, making your home as feline and canine safe as possible is key if you have pets.
Scratching posts are ideal for cats. They’re able to give themselves pedicures and climb at the same time. Posts also help cats communicate with each other by establishing rank and territories due to the scent glands in their paws. Climbing also allows cats to get enough exercise if they don’t spend much time outdoors.
Those are my tips on five ways to keep cats happy. Make sure to share tips of your own in the comments and let me know if this post helps!