Indoor cats are happier and healthier when they have an environment that is enriched in that it mimics some of the advantages of outdoor living, without some of the disadvantages of actually living outdoors. Here are some ideas to make your indoors more exciting for them,and next-to-natural.
Safe and Secure
When provided with the right environment, most cats thrive indoors. Cats retain their natural investigatory and communication behaviors, like scratching and chewing, when they live indoors. Because of this, they sometimes display undesirable behaviors when deprived of appropriate outlets for their expression. Still, the American Veterinary Medical Association advises cat owners in urban and suburban areas of the U.S. to house their cats indoors. Rural areas one with their own threats to cats, including predators such as coyotes and raptors. With this decision, though, comes the responsibility to provide conditions that sustain good health and welfare for these cats.
Create an Indoor Paradise
So how to do this?
Veterinary behaviorists outline several typical cat behavior patterns and describe how you can enhance the feline experience in an indoor environment.
Hunting : Outdoor cats tend to stalk and hunt for mice and other tasty prey for four hours a day. Indoor cats have their meals delivered to them in a bowl, giving them little or no reason to hunt. You can reward your indoor cat’s hunting endeavors by putting all or a portion of the cat’s food in puzzle toys, bowls that are on an elevated surface so that the cat needs to jump up o get the food, or hidden bowls that the cat has to find. The idea is to make food seeking a fun and challenging activity.
Playing ,Traveling: Playing climbing and moving from point A to B is an important part of a cat’s daily routine. Cats that share a household will typically, but not always, play with each other. It is important for humans to play with them. Cat toys are also a good idea. The trick is determining the type of toy your cat likes. Some lie balls, others like furry mice, and others like anything that moves on a string. In addition, be sure to provide ramps, stairways and other climbing opportunities to help address the traveling need in indoor cats.
Scratching: A normal feline behavior that loosens old nail layers, sharpens claws and provides visual and olfactory signals to other cats, scratching can be a nuisance in the household-particularly when a cat schooses an expensive couch or wool rug to rip apart.
Kittens can develop a preference for scratching surfaces, which can be helpful if you find an appropriate scratching substitute early. Offer a choice of scratching surface, or post (vertical and horizontal), make the acceptable scratching surface desirable to the cat. Sprinkle it with catnip, say, and put it in a location the cat likes. Second, maker he unacceptable scratching surface undesirable to the cat by using a motion detector or a smelly spray, for example.
Stimulating the senses: To excite an indoor cat’s senses, provide a range of visual, auditory, olfactory and gustatory stimulation. Indoor cats should have access to windowsills or window seats to watch birds, squirrels and other outdoor activity. They also need auditory stimulation, so they should be given toys that make noise. For example, a pingpong ball in a bathtub.
To stimulate a cat’s sense of smell, nothing beats catnip. Yet, not all cats respond the same way to the same kind of catnip, so you may have to try different kinds to find the one that he prefers. Forms include the fresh herb sprinkled on a towel or throw rug, catnip bubbles , or as stuffing in various toys. Catnip loses its aroma over time, so refill or replace periodically.
Also, try offering a range of safe edible greens, including cat grass and fresh catnip. It is usually available as a mixture of soft grasses, such as wheat, oat and barley. For best results, the seeds should be planted in large terra-cotta pots. The grass takes several days to grow and then lasts for 2-3 weeks.
Sleep and Rest: A typical cat sleeps and rests 15 hours a day. Since cad tend to eat and be more active in the early morning and evening, try offering free-choice feeding or providing a midnight meal from a timed feeder. If a cat is awakening you by begging for its breakfast, you can try increasing your cat’s play tie and feeding a satisfying snack before bedtime.
Also provide plenty of resting spots for them to “hang out”, such as perches, rugs, chairs, an extra bed, boxes, cat hammocks and condos. If there is more than one cat in a household, it is important to have a variety of places where they can isolate themselves.
Grooming: Using up 4 hours of a cat’s day, grooming keeps her coat looking ints best. Also, the most important function of grooming may be social interaction with other cats and owners. Indoor cats that do not have a companion cat to groom them often rely on their owner. Cats tend to groom each other on the head and neck, so it is a good general rule for people to concentrate their petting and grooming on those areas. Several types of brushes and combs are available as well.
Overall, cats and kittens can enjoy a longer life when kept indoors because they are safe from dangers- but it’s important that you provide enough variety and novelty to keep them stimulated and engaged.