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How to Keep your Indoor Cat Happy and Healthy.
Cats are natural predators that love to climb, jump, hunt and pounce. How can you make sure your cat is able to explore its natural instincts while living indoors? There are a variety of strategies that can be used to ensure your cat is kept occupied and are able to satisfy their need to scratch and hunt.
Cat condo with scratch posts joining each section
Cats scratch for a variety of reasons. They do so to mark their territory, sharpen their claws and to exercise by stretching their front legs. It feels good to stretch and scratch and cats will do this with or without a scratch post so it is an essential purchase for your home. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be incorporated into a variety of cat furniture. For example some cat condos have scratching posts joining different sections of their structure.
Many scratchers are shaped to double up as perches or loungers and cats enjoy both scratching and snoozing on them. It is even possible to make your own posts with just a few simple materials. Using a scrap of wood for a base, a thick piece of wood for a pole and some sisal rope or other scratch-able, tough material you can easily put together a simple post.
Cats do groom themselves and each other. However a positive bond between cats and their owners can be achieved through brushing and grooming of your cat. There are a variety of brushes and combs available depending on the type of hair of your cat. If these practices are put in place while your kitten is young, it may be possible to make grooming enjoyable for both cat and owner. The ASPCA website suggests choosing a time when your cat is relaxed - after exercise or eating. keep grooming sessions short and handle all parts of your cat so that they are used to having their ears, paws etc touched. This will also make your cat feel more comfortable when clipping their nails.
Cats love to chase and pounce and enjoy a wide variety of toys. Laser pointers provide lots of fun for cats. They love to follow the beam and pounce on it and it provides both sensory stimulation and exercise.
Cat bubbles are great fun for some cats and kittens. They chase, jump and attack the bubbles. Ribbon and wool or yarn can provide entertainment.
Cats love 'prey' like toys and will chase and play with a variety of items which provide mental and physical stimulation. Life like mice and birds allow cats to 'hunt prey' in the safety of indoors. Some toys also come with a squeak or chirp to add to the play.
Most important of all is making time to play with your cat or kitten. Spending 10-15 minutes several times a day to ensure a positive bond is developed and to provide stimulating play and exercise will go far to have a happy cat.
Window Spaces Make Perfect Spots for Bird Watching.
Perches, Windows and High Places
Cats love to climb and jump onto high places. Cat condos and cat trees are ideal for this type of exercise. They can be purchased in a variety of designs and structures to fit the desired space in your home. Another option is cat perches which can be placed at various heights or attached to window ledges. Windows provide perfect places for cats. They can watch the world go by, and with double hung windows cats can experience fresh air through the safety of a screen.
Cats love hiding spots and lots of space to move around. Good hiding places can be provided inexpensively, a simple cardboard box can provide a perfect place for a cat to hid out and pounce on unsuspecting passers by. Cats should have freedom to move from room to room as much as possible.
Variety and Correct Amount of Food
It is particularly important to monitor indoor cats diet. Indoor cats may be prone to being overweight and consequently have weight and exercise related diseases. A vet can help advise on a balanced diet. It is also important to ensure cats are not fed human food as it can make them ill.
Indoor cats need access to clean litter boxes. There are many different types available and it is a good idea to have one on each level of you home, especially if you have more than one cat. Cats are creatures of habit and will use litter boxes successfully if kept clean and available.
Cats love cat tunnels and many enjoy running along them and using them as hiding places for pouncing on passersby. Some tunnels are available in a see through mess material and secure fastenings at either end, they can be placed outside for safe play in the fresh air.
Cat grass is a good way to bring the outdoors indoors. This is a much better option that outdoor grass which may be treated with chemicals that are poisonous to cats. Cat grass is usually a type of cereal grass such as oat and can be bought in most pet supply stores. It grows easily and quickly and can be eaten by cats as a supplement to their diet.
Many cats seem to prefer fresh, flowing water. This can be achieved by purchasing a water fountain that keeps recirculating the water. This is also a good choice for multi cat households. Choose one that is quiet running and has a filter if possible.
Link to Article on Letting cats Outside
- Should I Let my Cat Outside?
Most cat owners keep their cats indoors over fears of safety and it is generally thought that indoor cats live longer. So should you let your cat outside? What are the pros and cons of having an outdoor cat?
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