5 Golden Rules to a Happy Indoor Cat

A house cat’s life today is a far cry from the life of their ancestors. Yet, despite centuries of domestication, your indoor cat still has many instinctive behaviors that they need fulfilled to feel satisfied and content with living inside. Without an environment that is adequately physically and mentally stimulating, your cat may develop health and behavior issues, such as obesity, inappropriate elimination, overgrooming, and aggression. Fortunately, you can keep your indoor cat satisfied, without letting them roam outside. Implement the following five golden rules to feline happiness. 

#1: Engage your cat when they are fed

Face it—a never-empty bowl of food is a boring way to eat. Plus, cats are natural-born hunters, who are used to eating multiple tiny meals a day. In an unstimulating indoor environment, cats are prone to overeat from boredom, which can lead to numerous health issues. Do not let your cat gorge themselves on a full food dish—make them work for their meals. Swap their bowl for a puzzle feeder that will encourage them to exercise their mind and body while eating. You can make or purchase a variety of puzzle feeders—try this list of DIY puzzle feeders by Purina. Exchange the feeders regularly to keep mealtime fresh and interesting.

#2: Let your cat scratch

While you may not appreciate your cat’s “redecorating talents” that add claw marks to your sofa, you must understand that scratching is natural and necessary for a cat. Scratching provides an outlet for exercise and stretching, and serves as a form of cat-to-cat communication with visual and scent markers left on surfaces. If you don’t want your cat scratching your household goods, you will need to provide plenty of appropriate scratching surfaces and offer rewards when your pet scratches the correct items. 

Most cats prefer a sisal scratching post, but others will opt for corrugated cardboard, wood, or another material. Offer a variety of materials and place each scratching surface in different positions and areas to determine their preference. Ensure that each scratch pad or post is at least one and a half times as long as your cat, so they have room to fully stretch when scratching. Place scratching items next to windows, sofa arms, and doorways to help prevent inappropriate scratching, and reward your cat when you catch them scratching their pads or posts.

#3: Practice good litter box hygiene

Nobody likes to use a dirty bathroom, and your cat will look for cleaner quarters if their litter box is not up to snuff. Follow these litter box rules to reduce your cat’s stress and anxiety, and potential elimination issues:

  • Provide enough boxes — At a minimum, provide one litter box per cat, plus an extra one, to ensure plenty of options, especially if you fall behind on scooping.
  • Scoop and scoop again — If your cat could flush after each litter box visit, they certainly would. Unless you have a self-cleaning litter box, you have to do the job. Aim to scoop all boxes twice daily to help keep them clean.
  • Check placement — Location is everything for finding a quiet place to eliminate. If your cat’s box is in the family room, they may search for somewhere more private. Or, if your cat’s box is in the basement next to your clanking washing machine, they may avoid such an unpleasant area. Place your cat’s litter box in a quiet location that is not too far out of the way, and ensure your cat has easy access.

#4: Teach your cat new tricks and skills

Although your cat needs roughly 15 hours of sleep each day, they also need plenty of stimulating interaction while they are awake. Keep your cat on their toes by incorporating mini training sessions into playtime each day. Cats typically have shorter attention spans than dogs, so keep each session brief, and work on one skill at a time. Your cat will delight in being taught to follow a twirling treat or toy, high five, and leap onto furniture.

#5: Keep your cat healthy with preventive care

While we know you are doing a great job keeping your cat healthy and safe by keeping them indoors, regular preventive care is also essential for your pet’s health and happiness. Important wellness care for your cat includes:

  • Diet management
  • Dental care
  • Vaccinations
  • Parasite prevention
  • Screening tests

At your cat’s wellness visit, our team will cover these preventive care components to help your feline friend remain in good health.

Happiness and good health go paw-in-paw. Keep your feline friend in great shape mentally and physically by scheduling regular wellness care. Contact our Fremont Animal Hospital team to schedule your cat’s wellness visit.

By |2022-12-27T18:36:49+00:00December 22nd, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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