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How To Keep An Indoors Cat Happy
Bean Bag Cat
Keeping Your Indoors Cat Happy
Since I've had to keep my cat inside, it's been a little more difficult to keep her happy and occupied, not to mention healthy. She hasn't really adjusted to being inside, and since she's been able to go outside for most of her twelve years, that's not surprising. When we discovered Tia was FIV positive, she had to become an indoors only cat.
2013: Although we really worked on giving her enough attention and things to do, she really was demanding when it came to doing things her way. She is no longer with us, but the new cat is also very attention seeking, and is also an indoors only cat. Keeping cats happy and healthy inside is sometimes hard work, but we wouldn't be without one.
In The Outside Pen
Some Outside Time For Tia
Fortunately, we have an old chicken pen in the back yard, so Tia was able to have some outside time. She absolutely hated being picked up and carried to and fro, however, but she got used to it eventually. We used to put feline sun protection on her white nose, which she disliked, but it was necessary.
It was the only way she could be outdoors, as if allowed to run free, she risked being attacked by other cats and picking up infections. She seemed happy enough, although she regularly went to the (locked) cat door and waited for it to magically open.
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A great idea if you don't have a permanent cat run.
Upside Down Bed
Quite a long time ago, I bought this cat a very nice bed, lined with fake fur, and surrounded with sheepskin. Do you think she was grateful? Not at all. She totally refused to use the bed, and wouldn't even put a paw in it!
The bed sat unused, until one day, I turned it upside down into a tunnel and dragged one of her toy mice on a string through it. That made a difference, and she started trying to get under it to hide, and loved chasing the mouse through the tunnel. She also slept under it.
After a couple of weeks, she started to sleep on it, but only when it was upside down. I thought in time I'd turn it over, and see if she'd use it properly now.
Weeks later: No, turning right side up didn't work, she ignored it, so the bed went back to being an upside down bed again. CATS!
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Unwanted Cat Furniture
Fancy Scratching Post Not Wanted!
The scratching post in the picture was bought for Tia, so that she had something else to play with, and a place to hide in.
Did she like it? I don't think so, because she went in it about twice in a couple of months, and one of those occasions was when I put her on the top shelf to see if she'd stay there.
I tried to pull toys on string through the hole and around the poles, but she wouldn't go through at all. It just sat around doing nothing until we got a cat who does like it! Since Tia didn't tolerate other cats, that had to wait for a while.
2013: Tia is no longer with us, but the new cat, Magic, loves this and plays on it often, although she also will not go through the bottom section, preferring to pull her toys out of there.
Do Cats Love Us?
Do cats really love sleeping on the bed with us, or on our laps, or are they just getting the warmth from our bodies?
Keep your cat happy with this little toy.
What Else Can You Do?
Sometimes, I just don't know what to do next to keep the cat happy. I feel that she gets bored and lonely in her outside pen, as it's not very big really, and there isn't much to do there, although she does love to watch the birds in the garden. The pen is about 3 x 3 metres, and has some grass, shade, and shelter, so all her physical needs are catered for. Of course, there is a water bowl as well, and a tennis ball hanging on a string.
Inside, she sometimes is very demanding of my attention, especially when I am on the computer, crying frequently and coming in and out of the room. I know that this is a cry for attention, and I try to give it, but also I do need to concentrate on what I'm doing sometimes.
Talking to her while I'm working seems to keep her happy for a while, and when I can, I stop and play with her, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Am I keeping her short of attention, or just creating a monster?
She does get to sit on my lap when I am working, if she wants to, but it doesn't usually last long, as it isn't that comfortable for either of us. Guess I'll just have to keep trying, or banish her to the boring outside pen a lot more, which doesn't really seem fair - she is a pet after all.
In The Garage
Outside Time Versus Completely Inside Time
My last cat, Tia was FIV positive so we didn't let her roam outside once we knew this. She was pretty disgusted with this, and loved being able to roam around at will, before we discovered she had this awful disease. It's probably because we let her roam freely that she became infected in the first place, as we didn't realise it was so rife in our area.
As she was an inside cat after the FIV discovery, she didn't get the fresh air which we felt she should have. The cat is carried to our outside pen when the weather is suitable, and is carried back inside when we feel she's had long enough out there alone. If we didn't carry her, she would take off and enjoy a little freedom!
Sometimes I gardened nearby, and she seemed to enjoy the company, but I'm sure she felt that she was put into this run for punishment.
I've put a poll just under this section - what do you think? My cat is an inside cat, but we have given her an outside run. She hates being cooped up but the fresh air is good for her,so we keep putting her out there.
Do you think we should stop putting the cat in the outside run?
Cat owners will all relate to this book - cats rule.
Cats Like To Watch Fish
Whenever we go away, our cat goes to a cattery, as she is safe there, and well looked after. At this particular cattery, in most rooms where there are cat accommodations, there is a large tank of goldfish in the centre of the room, where all the occupants can see them.
If you have a cat which is left at home alone, then it will need something to occupy its mind. If you can, why not have a goldfish tank? They are interesting for the cat to watch, and are also very relaxing for the humans to watch!
Cats don't like water much, so it is very unlikely they will try to get the fish out of the tank. In any case, it is always better to have a lid on the tank, as this will prevent the fish from jumping out, as well as the cat trying its paw at fishing.
Most Important For Inside Cats.......
What do you think the most important thing would be? Perhaps you'll disagree with my choice but I think it is the litter tray.
At my place, although we only have one cat, there are two litter trays, and she uses both of them. One is kept in the toilet, but since the door is sometimes closed, we have another tray in the laundry, which she can always access.
What kind of litter is best?
This comes down to personal preference, yours and the cats. My girl prefers the tiny granular grey type of clumping litter.
There are also crystals, pellets of recycled newspaper, non-clumping litter, sand, and even dirt.
We prefer to use a biodegradable type of litter,because this can be placed in the compost heap, or even onto the garden once the used parts have been disposed off in the toilet.
We've also found that the litter trays sold by many places are too shallow, so we use the type in the image, which are washing bowls. They are much deeper, and not so much litter is thrown out of the box.
A Scratching Post Is Vital
.......It might even save your furniture.
Cats need to sharpen their claws, and remove the old ones. To do this, they need something to claw against. Outside, there are trees, posts, and hard ground to keep their claws short, but inside, something has to be provided for them. If they have an outside pen, make sure they have a scratching post in there, as they enjoy using them.
A very simple scratching post can easily be made using scrap timber and some old carpet. You'll need a very heavy piece of wood, about 18 inches x 18 inches, a round post at least 24 inches high, some carpet and nails.
Secure the post to the board, cover the whole thing with carpet, and you have a new cat scratching post! It should be heavy enough at the base to prevent it falling on the cat while it is using it.
Cats Need Toys
All cats like to play, and they need their own toys. It doesn't matter if they are expensive store-bought toys, or little home-made toys. My cat's favourite toy is a very old furry rat tied onto a string, which she plays chase with as long as I'll keep pulling it.
Recently, I bought her a multi-level scratching post, with a hide at the bottom and a mouse hanging from the top level, mentioned earlier in this article. She won't go near it, but she absolutely loves the box it came in!
Another recent addition to the toys, is an empty tissue box, left as it is, with the oval space on top. Put a few of your cat's favourite small toys inside it, and enjoy watching as they turn the box upside down, beat it, and otherwise play as they get the toys out. Of course, you'll have to put the toys all back inside again, but it's worth it, for the pleasure your pet will get from a very low cost toy!
There's no explaining why a cat loves a certain toy, and won't touch something else. If you find something your cat enjoys playing with, go with the flow, and make the most of that quality time together.
Quality Time Is Important
Pets need time spent with them to remain happy and healthy. Try to spend some time playing with your cat each day. The cat will enjoy it, and who knows, you might find it more fun than you thought!
Of course, some cats are more sedentary than others, and to them, quality time is that time spend lying quietly purring on your lap. It's also great in winter, when they can keep you warm. Older cats will spend more time resting than playing, but also appreciate your company.
My cat is often in the study with me, when I'm trying to work on the computer or sewing - she keeps asking until I give up what I'm doing, and leave the job to spend time with her. Often, it's just a simple game of chase, or she might just want to come and sit on my lap while I'm typing.
A Space Of Her Own
Sometimes, your cat might just want to be left alone, so it's important that they have a place they can go where they won't be disturbed.
Tia loved her basket in front of the heater, and she also spent a lot of time in her beanbag. When she was in them, I wouldn't disturb her unless it was absolutely necessary, so that she knew she was safe and secure.