Welcome to ‘The Indoor Cat’
The purpose of this website is to offer advice, suggestions and tips on how to give your indoor cat the most fulfilling life, especially if they are never to venture outside.
There is no proof that an indoor cat’s life is any worse than a cat that goes outdoors, both need more or less the same amount of love, care and attention. But indoor cats do have additional needs which will ensure that they live a healthy and happy life. Though with the arrival of cat strollers, an indoor cat can still get outside and enjoy the fresh air!
What is an ‘indoor cat’?
Over the past decade or so, there has been an increase of ‘indoor cats’. A cat can become an ‘indoor cat’ for many reasons. Sometimes it may be because of an health issue or old age or it may be because of your neighbourhood has become an unsafe place for your cat to explore. There are even more and more cats that live in flats or high rise apartment, so them actually going outside is virtually impossible. These ‘flat cats’ can adapt to indoor living pretty well, especially from an early age.
Can an outdoor cat become an indoor cat?
Many cat adoption agencies are always seeking new homes for the unwanted pets that come their way. Most cats tend to be outdoor or garden cats (unless otherwise stated) and therefore will need a new home that can provide suitable outdoor space. We wouldn’t recommend keeping cats that are used to going outside, as ‘indoor-only cats’, except for health reasons.
But there are some unwanted cats that only benefit from staying indoors. These may have medical issues like mobility problems, deafness or blindness. Some have a fear of the outdoors or of other neighbourhood cats. Here is where an indoor lifestyle is ideal and can give the cat many happy years inside your home.
There are also some situations where an outdoor cat has to be converted to becoming an indoor cat due to a house move, a change to their outdoor environment or even a health issue.
Is there a downside to a cat living indoors?
An indoor environment for your cat can become pretty predictable and boring, especially if you do not provide enough activity and stimulation for them. Your cat’s indoor environment should be filled with toys, activity trees and other forms of cat entertainment. Not only will this keep them fit and mentally stimulated but it will also prevent your indoor cat from becoming stressed, inactive and therefore unhealthy and obese.
Some cats actually benefit from living with an indoor existence. Cats that have health issues or are too old to venture outdoors are pretty happy with being indoors. They also tend to have fewer ailments which they might have been susceptible from being outdoors.
Kittens becoming indoor cats
Many kittens are homed with an intention of becoming an indoor cat. Kittens have to be kept indoors anyway, to protect them from harm and they adapt pretty well and can become an indoor cat, without ever knowing about the outside world. If you are intending on turning a kitten into an indoor cat, then we suggest that you rehome a pair of kitten siblings, that way they have someone to play with and can keep each other company.
What are the essentials for an indoor cat?
An indoor cat will need lots of space and special accessories so that they can live a happy and active life indoors. Remember you are bringing ‘the outdoors’ indoors so that they can still use their natural instincts like climbing, hunting and playing. Below are some essentials that an indoor cat will need.
Clean litter tray
Cats who like to go outside tend to do their toilet business outdoors too. They like to be clean and bury their poop. An indoor cat would need the use of a large litter tray, which is cleaned and emptied on a regular basis. It should also be placed in a quiet private place, as they don’t like doing their business in front of spectators!
Lots on indoor space
Indoor cats like to venture around the home from room to room. Never close an indoor cat into one room only. Make sure they have access to several rooms. Let them explore and nap in various parts of the home or apartment. They like to explore different heights like bookshelves and windowsills. They also like lots of various napping places especially a nice comfy bed!
Make sure your cat has a bed on the floor level. The best cat beds are either igloo style beds or those with three sides. Another good resting place for an indoor cat is a place that is high up, which has a good view, Make sure this is a place that is safe for your cat. They like windowsills with a window view. A tall cat tower or cat activity tree is also a good choice.
Outdoor cats use tree trunks and bark to scratch their claws. Scratching their claws strengthens their muscles and keeps their claws sharp. Indoor cats will need scratching posts around the house in a few separate locations. They can also use these posts to mark their territory. Scratching posts will also stop your cat from using your best furniture and carpets as scratch pads!
Like outdoor cats, ‘indoor cats’ need regular exercise. This daily exercise will help keep them fit, mentally active and stop them from becoming bored. Buy them an activity tower, which includes lots of platforms and a cubby hole for them to hide in. It will act very much like an outdoor tree as cats like to climb and explore.
Activity and stimulation
Cats like to be active and mentally stimulated. make sure you provide (and create) ways of keeping them stimulated. Cat toys, activity trees and towers are a great way of providing them with physical and mental stimulation. An indoor cat without stimulation and activity can become a bored, unhappy and frustrated pet.
Bags and boxes
Cats love hidey holes and like to explore so never throw out those unwanted large cardboard boxes and roomy paper bags! Your indoor cat can have hours of fun with a large unwanted cardboard box or bag. They are also great because they don’t cost you a penny! Scratching the side of the box with your hands, while your cat is inside will give your cat some great interactive play with you. Dangling a fishing rod style toy over the edge will be a favourite game for them too.
Playtime and interaction with you
Outdoor cats have so much stimulation outdoors. trees, birds and other animals. An indoor cat will have none of those opportunities and will therefore need lots of attention from you. Take time to play with your cat as you may be it’s only companion, especially if it is the only cat in the house. You should never leave cats alone for long periods during the day, especially an indoor cat.
If you have a family, get them to take it in turns to play with the cat too. The more interaction an indoor cat has, the better.
From time to time, your indoor cat may need to venture outdoors. Trips to the vet or staying with a friend or relative, while you are away are bound to happen during a cat’s life. Did you know that there are now cat strollers, which can be used to take your indoor cat on trips outdoors?
They are secluded, secure and comfortable and are a great way for a cat to explore the outdoors safely from the comfort of their very own home on wheels! Taking your indoor cat outdoors on regular trips in a cat stroller make them less afraid and stressed of going outdoors.
Cat strollers are also much more comfy and better than a clunky plastic cat carrier, which puts fear into all cats! It’s also a great way of getting outdoors with your cat, instead of leaving them all alone at home. You also get to spend more quality time with your cat and they will enjoy the fresh air and stimulation of being outdoors.
Walk the cat!
More and more owners of indoor cats are now taking their cats outdoors for walks. You can but harnesses and leashes designed for cats. The leash is attached to a cat harness which fits around the cat’s body and is a much safer way to walk them than a neck collar leash. You may need to train your cat to walk on a leash at first, but in time they can begin to enjoy the outdoors safely and securely.
Not all cats are up for being walked and some may find the harness a bit too restricting. But take your time and when you are training your cat to walk on a harness, provide a few treats. Your cat will then begin to associate the harness with a more positive outlook.
Walking your get will ensure they get plenty of regular exercise, which they wouldn’t be able to do indoors. It also gives your indoor cat some opportunities to sniff and explore the great outdoors. Teaming a cat harness and leash with a cat stroller will also enable you and your cat to spend many hours outdoors, instead of them being all alone and cooped up indoors.
Safe indoor surroundings
Many presume that an indoor cat is at it’s safest because it stays indoors. But a home can be full of dangers for a cat. Cats can be injured by household accidents like jumping on an unstable shelf, leaping onto a wobbly bookcase, getting into a washing machine or tumble dryer. They may even get into danger by escaping through an open window. Always ensure that your home is a safe environment for your indoor cat…they will want to explore every nook and cranny.
Bringing the ‘outdoors’ indoors
You can add the feel of the outdoors by adding simple things like cat grass or cat nip to your cats environment. Cat grass can be grown indoors in little pots. Cats like to nibble on cat grass as it is nutritional to them and helps prevent the bukd up of fur balls. And all cats love a bit of cat nip from time to time.
You can also place cat friendly plants around the home too but most of all a large cat activity tree will act as a climbing frame, a hiding place and an outdoor tree – all in one!
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! There are some specialist cat DVD’s on the market which are designed to keep your indoor cat occupied. They are edited together and include various scenes of cats and kittens playing, snoozing and romping about with an additional soothing soundtrack.
Your cat may not sit and watch the whole looped screening from start to finish, but it can bring some companionship to their environment, especially if they are alone at home. Many cat owners have said that their cats do sit and stare at the screen, especially when they hear the meows of these cat screen stars.