A kitten playing with a dangling toyGone are the days when we viewed cats as “outdoor only” pets or mousers for the barn, and this is good news indeed. Even if your pet ventures out on a leash or enjoys some playtime in the sun, most savvy pet owners understand that an indoor cat is typically a healthier cat with a longer life expectancy.

Indoor cats, however, can develop some challenges of their own – namely, in the form of exercise and weight management. The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center can help keep your indoor kitty at his or her best with some tips on indoor cat care.

Exercise and Weight Management

Keeping your cat indoors is the best option for reducing risk and promoting health, but unlike outdoor cats, indoor kitties often need encouragement in the exercise department. After all, a day spent snoozing in a sunny spot can diminish important opportunities for exercise.

Indoor cats can also be at greater risk of obesity, which can take a toll on health and longevity. To keep your indoor cat in great shape, practice these exercise and weight management tips:

  • Spend at least 20 minutes playing with your cat, either using a feather toy, a Cat Dancer, or any other activity that gets him or her moving.
  • Feed your cat the diet recommended by your veterinarian and in the correct portions (when in doubt, give us a call).
  • Avoid using treats as the only reward – offer brushing, petting, and your time as healthier ways to show you care.
  • Adopting another kitty companion can go a long way in promoting exercise and playtime for these furry friends.

Mental Enrichment

Along with exercise and the right diet, indoor cats need outlets to express their natural behaviors, as well as to engage them mentally. Being inside all the time requires extra care in keeping boredom at bay. Consider some of these great ideas to add some enrichment to your pet’s day:

  • Cat perch – Perches can really add entertainment to your cat’s day, especially when next to a window with a good view. And don’t forget how fascinating a bird feeder can be when placed strategically in front of the window.
  • Scratching post – Scratching is a natural feline behavior (which, unfortunately, can be directed at your sofa). Give your cat companion a few preferred places to express his or her scratching abilities by offering scratching posts or other surfaces.
  • Cat tree – Cats love to climb, and a cat tree may be the perfect combination of perch and a fun place to scale those heights.
  • Cozy spots – Cats also love to seek out places to hide, and some really great options include “sleeping sacks” and cat cubes that provide some privacy. Better yet, why not crate train your cat?
  • Interactive toys – Toys are required for all curious kitties, including catnip mice, toys your cat can “bat around,” and food dispensing games.

General Indoor Cat Care Tips

Along with the aforementioned tips, keeping your indoor cat healthy means:

  • Frequently scooping litter boxes and replacing litter every week (including scrubbing the boxes)
  • Offering plenty of fresh water in a few bowls placed around the home
  • Maintaining your pet’s parasite prevention and vaccine recommendations and following through with general wellness care appointments

If you have any additional questions about indoor cat care, just give us a call. As a certified Cat Friendly Practice, we’re always here for you and your fancy feline!