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Keeping An Indoor Cat Happy: What You Need To Know

February 15, 2024

We all know that our feline friends are pretty adventurous. Many of them certainly love going outdoors, and taking part in fun kitty activities, such as rolling around in your driveway, leaving paw art on your windshield, refusing to come when called, and dropping dead animals on your porch. However, while many cats really enjoy being outdoors, they are much safer staying in. In this article, a local  Sandwich, MA vet offers some advice on how to keep an inside cat healthy, happy, and purring.

Is It Good To Keep A Cat Indoors All The Time?

Yes! In fact, it’s actually recommended! As soon as your cute pet steps outside, she is at risk from many different threats, including cars, weather, wild animals, and other kitties. Additionally, cats that go out are more likely to get hurt, lost, stolen, or even killed.

As it turns out, keeping Fluffy inside is also safer for local wildlife. Fluffy is, well, an adorable little serial killer. Every year, our feline buddies kill billions of small animals, mostly birds, reptiles, and rodents. Even grounding one kitty can make a big difference in helping protect threatened and endangered species.

How Do I Make My Place Cat-Friendly?

Want to give Fluffy the best of both worlds? Offer a catio! By providing your cat with a safe, secure area where he or she can enjoy some of the benefits of going outdoors, you can give your cat both benefits of both. This can be a screened or enclosed porch, a spare room, or even a sunny corner. Include some kitty furniture and toys, as well as some pet-safe plants for your cat to sniff and munch on. Catnip is obvious, but there are many more to choose from:

In addition to being a popular supplement, wheatgrass is beneficial to Fluffy, as it contains vitamins and nutrients like riboflavin, Vitamin E, and folic acid. Your kitty can safely nibble on some greens, while you can use the fresh ingredients in smoothies.

Rosemary, basil, lemon grass sage, thyme, mint, dill, and cilantro are all safe herbs for our feline friends to consume. (Bonus: you’ll have fresh ingredients to cook with.) 

Both Zinnias and marigolds are safe for cats. African violets are also non-toxic and easy to grow. You can also get asters, Freesias, Gerbera daisies, orchids, roses, snapdragons, and sunflowers. However, not all plants are safe. For instance, anything in the True Lily family of lilies is highly toxic to cats. 

As for plants, Spider plants are very popular houseplants. They’re attractive, easy to grow, and safe for cats. The Boston fern, the Prayer Plant, the Fern, the Bromeliad, the Cast Iron Plant, Peperomia, and the Friendship Plant are also suitable options. If you want a larger plant, consider getting a rubber tree. (Note: These are great for bad gardeners, because they are nearly impossible to kill.) Ponytail palms, Areca palms, and money trees are also safe for Fluffy. 

Check out the ASPCA’s site here for more information about safe and unsafe plants. 

What Can I Do to Keep My Cat Healthy Indoors?

 Fluffy will have the same basic needs as any other kitty: good, age-appropriate food, fresh water, and a comfortable shelter. These don’t change, regardless of whether your pet is an indoor or outdoor cat.

Proper veterinary care is also critical. We recommend that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept up to date on vaccines and parasite control. Fluffy will also need regular examinations and screenings from her veterinarian. However, indoor cats have an advantage in that they’re less prone to illness and injury in general than outdoor kitties. 

Ask your Sandwich, MA  veterinarian for more information.

How Do You Keep A Kitty Safe At Home?

Your pet’s safety is paramount. Cats are curious, playful, and a bit reckless. This makes for an adorable combination, but it can also be dangerous. Secure or remove any items that could be dangerous for your furry friend. That list includes small or sharp items, such as fishing lures, pens, safety pins, craft kit pieces, and pins; plastic bags and ties; and ropes and strings. Toxic plants can also pose a risk, as can many household chemicals. Also, make sure your windows and/or screens are securely closed, and keep large appliances closed when not in use. 

Ask your Sandwich, MA veterinarian for tips.

What Can I Do To Get My Cat To Stay Inside?

First things first. If Fluffy hasn’t been fixed yet, start there. This will help a lot, just by curbing the urge to run off looking for love. 

Some kitties are homebodies, who feel safest in their own domains. Others are just determined to escape. You’ll find it much easier to ground Fluffy if she prefers to stay inside. Otherwise, you may find yourself constantly trying to corral your feline friend.

Starting young will help a lot here. If your feline friend is still a kitten, raise her to be an indoor cat by establishing these ground rules from day one. As your feline friend grows up, she will probably be quite happy to stay indoors.

If your pet has already been used to going out, you may need to work a bit of trickery. Whenever you see Fluffy sniffing around the door, do something that will startle and/or annoy her. You don’t want to hurt her or scare her; that will only make your kitty more determined to escape. Try squirting her with water. Making a loud noise may also help. You can also set off an alarm on your phone, rattle a jar of change, or clap your hands.

How Do I Keep An Indoor Cat Happy?

Kitties aren’t hard to please, but they do have some specific needs. 

Here are a few pointers on this:

  • Make sure your kitty doesn’t get bored! It’s vital for cats to have ways to entertain themselves and practice their lioning skills. Even the laziest cat can’t sleep all day long. 
  • Play with your pet! Cats are natural hunters, so it’s essential to keep them mentally and physically engaged. Set aside time each day for interactive play. Use toys that mimic prey behavior, such as feather wands or laser pointers. This not only provides exercise, but also fulfills your pet’s hunting instincts. Keep play sessions short and frequent.
  • Attention is crucial as well. It’s also important to spend time with Fluffy. Talk to your pet, pet her, play with her, and let her snuggle up with you. Making your pet feel loved will help keep that motor going!
  • Small comforts are also helpful. Before leaving your home, turn on a light and TV for your cat. For more information, contact your veterinarian.
  • Offer a window seat. Even though your kitty may live indoors, she may still want a connection to the outside world. Set up a designated window perch with a comfortable cushion for your cat to observe the surroundings. Birdwatching is one of Fluffy’s favorite pastimes! 
  • Cat furniture, such as cat towers, can also keep that little motor running.

Conclusion:  Kitties are both safer and healthier staying inside. However, it’s important to provide your pet with a safe, comfy environment. Offer lots of toys, and play with her on a daily basis. 

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Is Fluffy due for an appointment? Please feel free to contact us at any time. As your local Sandwich, MA veterinary clinic, we are dedicated to providing the best care possible for your pet.

Posted in Cat Care

492 Route 6A
East Sandwich, MA 02537
(508) 888-2774
Also serving Bourne, MA and surrounding areas.

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