It is becoming more common for cats to be kept entirely indoors. Indoor cats are protected from traffic accidents and injuries and diseases associated with fight wounds, their exposure to parasites such as fleas, ticks and ear mites is minimal and local wildlife is protected from predation. Cats that have pink noses and pale skin around their eyes and ears have a much lower risk of skin cancer if they are protected from the sun.
There are a number of things that you can do to keep your indoor cat happy.
Spend 20-30 minutes each day directly interacting with your cat – playing, grooming or cuddling.
Toys provide entertainment and exercise for your cat. There is a variety of cat toys available – from catnip-filled mice to treat balls. Cats also love playing with ping-pong balls and pieces of string and yarn.
Provide access to high places – cats love surveying the world from a superior position! This can be as simple as sitting on the back of a sofa, or climbing up onto a bookshelf or wardrobe.
Cat play centres, that are a combination of scratching posts, platforms and hidey-holes can be purchased or made at home.
Scratching posts help stop your kitten from attacking your furniture. Start training your kitten as soon as you get her home – if she starts pawing or scratching furniture, take her to the scratching post straight away.
Cats love sitting by a window and watching the world go by. If your window-sills are too narrow for your cat to sit on, placing a tall scratching post or play-centre next to a window will let your cat enjoy the view.
Provide a clean litter tray in an accessible but private place (the laundry or a garage is a good spot). Make sure faeces and wet litter are cleaned out at least once a day; clean the tray with hot water and replace the litter once or twice a week. If you have more than one cat, provide one litter tray per cat, plus one extra.
Bring the outdoors in. Cats that play outside eat grass, this provides extra fibre in their diet and helps them pass or bring up hair balls. Catnip, sage, parsley, wheatgrass and oatgrass will all grow in an indoor planter box and give your cat something safe and palatable to chew on.
Raising two kittens together is a great idea if you have the space and money to look after two cats. This provides stimulation, social interaction and exercise when you are out.
An indoor cat is usually happier if he has a playmate.