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How To Keep An Indoors Cat Happy

Updated on January 27, 2017
Snakesmum profile image

Jean, aka Snakesmum, has been an animal lover for her whole life. Cats are a favourite, and there is one living with her.

Bean Bag Cat

Tia loved her beanbag.
Tia loved her beanbag. | Source

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

A Sunny Spot.
A Sunny Spot. | Source

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.

Cat Gear and Books - Plus books for you!

ABO Gear Happy Habitat for Indoor Cats
ABO Gear Happy Habitat for Indoor Cats

A great idea if you don't have a permanent cat run.


Upside Down Bed

I Only Like This Bed Upside Down!
I Only Like This Bed Upside Down! | Source

Crazy Cat

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!

The Big Book of Cats
The Big Book of Cats

If you love cats, then this is the book for you!


Unwanted Cat Furniture

A Scratching Post Is A Must
A Scratching Post Is A Must | Source

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?

See results
Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, Original
Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, Original

Keep your cat happy with this little toy.



Harry. my sister's cat
Harry. my sister's cat | Source

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

An old roll of carpet makes a good bed.
An old roll of carpet makes a good bed. | Source

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?

See results
Cat and fish on stamps
Cat and fish on stamps | Source

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.

Litter tray.
Litter tray. | Source

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.

Cat with toys
Cat with toys | Source

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.

Cat Attack


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.

Tia in her basket.
Tia in her basket. | Source

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.

Cat Comments - Do You Like This Lens?

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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      Pretty kitties indeed. We don't have any cats outdoors, but we do take them out on the leash. Too many things out there anymore to hurt them.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      My brother's cat has become an indoor-only cat because he keeps getting challenged by a 'bigger' neighborhood cat and is worse the wear after the fights because he won't back down and the vet bills decided he'd now be an indoor-only cat. LOL. He's not completely happy about it, but lives with 2 other cats and a dog, so isn't totally bored either. :)

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I so love cats. They have the most wonderful personalities. With that in mind I can completely understand your cat not wanting to sleep on the cat bed when it is right side up. No accounting for their discriminating tastes lol. I really enjoyed a peek into the world of your cats.

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 4 years ago

      We have five of the little rascals indoors. No boredom with that many! We just lost one to liver cancer...still miss the little fella...can't imagine life without the furbabies.

    • ValerieJoy profile image

      Valerie Smith 4 years ago from New Zealand

      A really nice lens and a lovely cat. I have two cats who just love being indoors, but strangely enough they like to go outside on cold wet days, which they are doing today!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Yes, I enjoyed reading about your cat.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @Aunt-Mollie: I wish ! There is certainly a lot of online info about cats and dogs though. No excuses for saying "I didn't know" :-) Thanks for visiting

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      Love of cats has taken over the Internet. I think everyone loves cats now.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @cmadden: Tia thanks you for saying she's gorgeous! :-) Torties can be a bit temperamental, but we love them just the same.

    • profile image

      cmadden 4 years ago

      Tia's gorgeous! Our oldest kitty (nearly 15) is a Tortie.

    • Sunflower2423 profile image

      Sunflower2423 4 years ago

      Nice lens. What a great idea for the washing bowls to be used as litter pans. My one cat likes to sift the litter and it goes out onto the rug I have in front of it to catch the litter. Will have to get me one and try it.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @KimGiancaterino: Yes, cats definitely rule! :-) Thanks for your visit and blessing.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      Ah, they do seem to rule us. But I love my cats.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @MaryMorgan: Yes, Mary, she is very spoiled, but that's what pets are for, isn't it? :-)

    • profile image

      MaryMorgan 5 years ago

      She looks lovely and obviously has you completely under her paw - I have two Siamese who definitely have me under theirs!

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 6 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @dellgirl: Thankyou! Glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 6 years ago

      Your lens is really nice, I superliked it.