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How to Have a Happy Cat Indoors

Updated on April 27, 2015
VladimirCat profile image

Vladimir is a former champion ratter (retired). His hobbies are bushwalking, birdwatching and nature studies

Cats hate being bored
Cats hate being bored | Source

There's nothing worse than a bored cat

Are you an inside cat? Perhaps you share a high-rise apartment with your staff people but there are all sorts of reasons for cats to live indoors.

I'm an inside cat not just because of my advanced age, but because I live next to a Nature Reserve. The woman who feeds me makes sure I'm not out slaughtering the local wildlife, being inside means I can't get my teeth into the Rakali in the creek or snack on an Eastern Rosella.

So most of my day and all of my nights, I'm inside. But I get bored.

In the interests of everyone, here's a few tips to keep your cat happy indoors.

Cats like a view of the outside
Cats like a view of the outside

Safety for Cats while you're away

If you're going to go out and leave a cat inside all day, make sure

  1. all the windows are closed
  2. curtains are closed on hot days
  3. cables are tied up and out of view
  4. plenty of fresh water is in the bowl
  5. a bit of kibble is left out in a bowl
  6. the litterbox is fresh

A cat needs something to play with

Have you ever watched a cat outside? If you do, it will be fairly obvious that we're constantly looking for something to stalk, chase or jump upon. We do this to keep alert and sharp, to maintain our peak physical fitness and also because it's fun!

If we're stuck inside then you better provide some different types of toys for different activities so we can continue to hone our natural hunting skills. Otherwise we may just start ripping up some cushions and ripping down some curtains. Maybe there are a few little precious ornaments around your house we can break too.

Did I mention scratching the furniture? Gouging deep furrows in antique chairs is a satisfying antidote to boredom.

A Simple Cardboard Box for Hours of Fun

Bags and Boxes are Excellent Cat Toys

Paper Bags, we are told, are good for the environment but, even better, they're absolutely irresistible for cats. It's that enticing, rustling, crinkling noise they make, so like the sound of some little prey animal scurrying inside a burrow. They're pretty handy as cat lurking spots too.

Cardboard Boxes are the best cat toys ever invented! If you can get your hands on an empty cardboard box I can get my paws on a great hiding place to use as an attacking spot. From the depths of the trusty cardboard box I can lie patiently in wait for an unsuspecting unshod human foot to walk past. Cardboard boxes are cozy napping areas too. Next time you get a delivery, keep the box for me please.

Simple Cat Toys are Cheap

Through play, we exercise our natural instincts to explore and thrive in the world around us. Simple little toys help keep us healthy, active and engaged.

Make Your Own Cat Toys

Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving The Planet One Cat Toy At A Time
Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving The Planet One Cat Toy At A Time

Reducing your cat's carbon paw print has never been easier!


Cats don't want expensive toys

You don't have to spend much, or even any, of that money you're always so concerned about.

There are numerous inexpensive cat toys to keep us busy - ping pong balls, balls with bells inside, balls hanging from rope, soft mice for stalking, batting and pouncing.

My favourites are those cat toys which dangle from doors.

A Room with a View

I want to look out the window

Oh my how we love to look out the window!

The whole world is out there and we can sit and stare for hours at a time. It's alright for people to gaily go off and join in the outside hustle and bustle but even a senior cat like myself needs to look at what's going on.

A bit of wood, a hammer and some nails and you have a cat perch on the windowsill. Too hard? Rented apartment? No worries, you can still manage a comfortable perch.

Arrange your furniture so that a cat can climb up easily to a window. First step a chair, then a table, dresser or bureau under the window.

Make a Cat Perch yourself

Really easy with a small ladder

Use your imagination!

You can construct climbing perches yourself with no carpentry experience whatsoever.

This clever woman has made a cat's perch, ideal for looking out the window.

She used a four foot tall stepladder and 500 feet of 1/4" sisal rope.. The ladder is reinforced by struts at the base for safety.

The Cat Ladder has carpeted pieces, these ones are parts of a 12" diameter cardboard concrete mold bought at a building supply store, but rope would do just as well.

Full instructions for the Cat Ladder

The Perfect Cat Platform - You could relax here all day!

What cat wouldn't instantly love this K&H Kitty Sill Deluxe

P.S What's a Rakali?

What are these things?

Wondering what a Rakali is? They're rats! I thought one of my jobs was to keep the place clear of rats but apparently not these ones. Rakali are water rats, native to Australia, and have nothing to do with those nasty critters who carried the Black Death.

And what's an Eastern Rosella?

An Eastern Rosella is an Australian parrot and totally out of bounds to me. These days I just watch them from the window.

© 2009 Vladimir

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    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 2 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      My daughter's cat had to live indoors when she moved to Boston - he got so bored she had to "lend" him to me! Now he can go outside and have his "adventures" but stay inside and enjoy looking out the window when the weather isn't to his taste. We still have to keep him entertained on those indoor days, so I appreciate the tips here!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 2 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Very interesting. We don't have any cats right now but always did until several years ago.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My Olly would love this page ... he isn't good at reading :)

    • SimonJay profile image

      SimonJay 4 years ago

      Hey thx for these fantastic ideas i a m hoping to stop them from scracthing everything else around the house when they get bored

    • MariaDSk profile image

      MariaDSk 5 years ago

      I would be too concerned to keep a cat outside when I get one, and my grandma is too scared in moscow ( as are any cat owners there) to let them go outside so some ideas here are brilliant.

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