Monday, 22 December 2014

How To Keep Indoor Cats Entertained

Keeping an indoor cat healthy and happy

fluffly black cat on a cushion
my contented black cat
Are indoor cats more susceptible to behavioural issues caused by boredom and lack of stimulation? The answer is, they don't need to be. Here are some easy suggestions to keep your indoor cat happy and healthy.

More people are becoming concerned with safely from traffic and predators and from catching diseases, so more cats are being kept indoors. If you need convincing just consider that indoor cats live much longer than outdoor cats. 
Staying inside does them no harm - I've kept cats for years and all of them have been indoor cats. It is a fantasy that cats need to go out at night - it just isn't true and if you train them young you will have no problem. That said, it is important that they have plenty of stimulation in their lives and I've included my top tips for keeping them entertained. The experts talk about life enrichment but for me it is simply keeping them from getting bored.

Top Tips to Keeping a Cat Entertained

black cat with scratch post
Bailey my other black cat with her scratch post
1. If possible get her a playmate. Two cats will play happily together. Three tends to be a crowd though. My two were kitten mates and I would always recommend taking two from the same litter. 
2. Scratch posts with different levels provide climbing, observation and sleeping places and will save your furniture.
3. Arrange it so they can watch the world outside. A bird feeder attached to the window will give them plenty to watch.
4. Change cat toys every week of so. Rotate the ones you have so they don't get bored with one.
foster kittens with lots of toys
5. Make simple toys; scrunched up pieces of paper can occupy them for hours. Boxes are always fascinating to cats and I've included a couple of videos to show you how to create box toys they can interact with.
6. Play a light on a wall for them to chase. You can buy laser toys but can just as easily use a torch.
7. A small ball in a dry bath keeps my two occupied for ages. The slope of the bath means they can't get the ball out and will they keep chasing it.
8. If possible have one room where they can clamber over furniture. I have rigged up a wooden slatted bookcase, cheap from B&Q, and a plank of wood running to a wooden towel rack. The different shelf levels give them hiding and climbing chances.
9. Of course cardboard boxes to jump in and out of are favourites. If they like to keep you company at your desk think about adding a couple of shoeboxes, they will happily sit in them for hours and leave your hands free to type or pet them as required. 
10. Make tunnels with cardboard boxes made into tubes, line and cover with old carpet and they will play for hours and have something to scratch. Just make sure the carpet doesn't match your actual carpet or they will think it is OK to scratch that. Try to make it a completely different texture. You can buy odds of carpeting from the end of rolls from most carpet suppliers.
11. Give them something to work out; you can buy ready-made toys you fill with treats that they have to roll or paw to get at. More easily, take an old yogurt pot with a lid, make a smooth hole in it, fill with treats and your cat will soon work out how to get at them. One of mine is very adept at getting lids off containers, so I use an old ice-cream carton for her. She works the lid until she gets it off.

12. When you have to go out, leave a radio or TV on.
cat grass from Amazon
grow cat grass indoors
13. Grow grass in a pot for them to chew on. You can buy dried food especially adapted for indoor cats, but the act of chewing is also useful for them. It helps their digestive system too and helps keep down hair balls. Have several pots in different stages of growth. You can buy cat-grass from suppliers. 
14. Give them places to hide, mine love to jump out and paw my ankle. They also need places where they feel secure that they can hide in and nap. A blanket over a chair is often all they need. Or of course - a cardboard box!
15. Play with them. Trail a cord or piece of wool for them to catch, or play tug. Let them win, they will lose interest if they don't catch it more often than not.

Loads of toys on sale in my Amazon store

And finally: 

This is a great video for creating stuff for keeping your cats active.

1 comment:

  1. Sit at the bottom of the stairs, throw a table tennis ball up the stairs - gets them exhausted and saves your legs.