Tips for a Happy Indoor Cat

Indoor or Outdoor? That is the big question all cat owners face when introducing a cat into their lives.

Although exploring the outdoors may be fun for some felines, it can also be very dangerous. Working in the veterinary industry, we see a number of cats present with preventable illnesses and injuries relating to an outdoor lifestyle. These issues can range from annoying flea infestations to cat fight wounds or more severe injuries sustained from being hit by cars. Cats can also become stuck on objects via their collar. Break away collars are a must! We see too many injuries from cats wearing buckle collars who get themselves stuck on objects or worse, around the mouth or body and cannot break the collar to free themselves.

Indoor cats are not exposed to these risks and tend to live longer, happier lives. Living indoors also makes picking up on illness much easier for cat owners as you can better monitor your cat’s demeanour, appetite and toileting behaviours.

Below we have put together some of our top tips along with some great advice from our partners at the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) to help keep your cat enriched in their indoor environment and to make living indoors fun!

Provide opportunities for your cat to ‘forage’ by hiding small amounts of food or treats in different places.

  • You can use feeding puzzles and balls to make feeding more interesting and challenging!
  • You could provide their meals this way rather than sticking to a standard feeding bowl.

Have a variety of water receptacles around the house for your cat to drink from.

  • Cats like clean, running water and will often drink from taps so why not look at getting a water drinking fountain! These are easy to clean and keep cats happy and occupied.
  • As a basic instinct, cats prefer their food and water to be separate from one another so be sure to keep your cat’s food and drinking bowls separate and very importantly, keep these away from litter trays! No one likes to eat where you poop!

Have at least one litter tray per cat in the house plus one extra!

  • Litter trays should be placed in various, quiet locations and kept clean.
  • For multiple cat households, you may find an automatic litter tray is the way to go! These clean up after your cat each time they toilet meaning the tray is ready for the next cat right away.

Set aside regular times every day to play with your cat (using a variety of toys) or groom them.

  • This is also a great way to monitor your cat’s weight, any behaviour changes, lumps or bumps etc that may arise

Ensure your cat has their own space and area to retreat to if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

  • Cardboard boxes make great hidey holes and are a cheap alternative to scratchy posts.
  • Every indoor cat should feel safe in their home so if you’re expecting visitors you may like to invest in a calming, pheromone spray called ‘Feliway’. This comes as a spray and a plug-in wall diffuser and helps to keep cats calm during stressful situations.

Allow your cat access to as much space in the home as possible.

  • Cats love to climb up onto high objects where they can rest and observe their surroundings in safety.
  • Make sure your cat is able to do this safely in the home by providing safe spaces such as scratchy posts.
  • We often get told ‘My cat doesn’t use their scratchy post’ and this can often be due to the location! Cats like to look out windows and feel secure. They don’t like to be in open, busy spaces so if your cat falls under this category, try moving their scratchy posts into different locations.

Provide your cat with toys

  • Check these regularly for any damage and swap them around to keep them stimulated and occupied.
  • You may find your cat is more interested in the simple things in life such as cardboard boxes and paper bags! Cheap and simple!
  • To help encourage your cat to play or use a scratchy post or new area, you could also introduce catnip into the equation! Most cats love this stuff and will roll around and smother themselves in it! It’s amusing for both you and them!

Where possible, consider building an enclosed, outside run to allow your cat(s) some safe outside time.

  • If this isn’t possible, don’t worry! It isn’t essential! A lot of cats are quite happy just sitting on a windowsill looking out at the world and watching the birds go by.
  • Maybe you could provide ‘outdoor TV’ for your cats by planting flowers that attract butterflies or hanging a bird feeder or bath to attract birds to your yard and provide your cat with plenty of entertaining things to watch from the comfort of inside!
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Lynbrook Vet IconLynbrook Vet

14A/10-30 Northey Road, Lynbrook

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  • Avatar Rosie Kawala ★★★★★ in the last week
    My 5 y.o. dog just had her first health scare with some tumours, and Lynbrook Vet helped us through the testing and removal process so kindly.They laid out all our options and were transparent about probable outcomes, minimising costs where … More they could.They checked-in with me throughout her surgery day with phone calls, texts and photos (non-surgical!) and patiently answered all of my questions at pick-up.I have taken my dog to Lynbrook Vet since adopting her 3 years ago, and continue to go there after moving further away because they are so wonderful.The staff in reception are always friendly and helpful and happily assist with all of our needs.It's nice to attend a clinic with a great culture, where the animals, and their humans' peace of mind, are their top priorities.
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    I could not recommend both Lynbrook Vet and their sister vet Berwick/Clyde Vet any more. It is the best vet you will ever experience. We were desperate to find a vet to look after out little boy (he's a ragdoll cat who stopped eating … More and is also dealing with CKD) after being unhappy with our previous vet. We were recommended by our local community to take him to Jess who is working now full time at Berwick/Clyde Vet which has recently opened and her care (along with all the other nurses there), love, how switched on they are was one of the greatest experiences we've ever had. We thought that maybe something bad had gone wrong with his kidneys, but it was immediately picked up that one of his tooth was infected which explains the no eating (this wasn't picked up by the previous vet). Our little boy had to stay over night with a drip before going under and having 4 teeth removed. He's about to be 13 so this was a stressful situation with him going under. We were sent frequent updates with photos in the morning, during the day and just before we picked him up. They called me right before the procedure, during the procedure and right after to confirm everything was okay and if there were any updates. They knew exactly what to do and how to best keep him safe during this procedure. When we picked him up we were taken through all his blood work, x-rays and documents in elaborate detail so that we understood what everything meant and what was going on. They have even put us on a 6 month plan to get him to be as happy and as healthy as he can be when we return a week later for a free dental check up to see how his mouth is healing. We were given an aftercare plan. Pain medication that they had already been pre made!! I got a Toutube link texted to me that explains what exactly happened during the procedure. We were also given a tooth fairy certificate!!! (this vet is so extra I can't deal). This vet goes above and beyond, we saw a HUGE improvement the following day (he is SO MUCH HAPPIER) it felt like our little angel was at daycare and I could not recommend going to this vet enough! THANK YOU so much. We are eternally grateful for looking after Oscar so thoroughly.
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    1000% recommend!!!! This is such a stunning vet, everyone is so friendly and forthcoming, we have been seeing them for the past 4 months with our little staffy boy Stitch! He loves it there as everyone loves him and gives him all the attention … More he needs, we have had nothing but incredible service from all the staff there. Stitch went in today for a procedure and we felt so happy and safe leaving our boy there, everyone cares for your pet, like they are family. It’s truly the best experience we have ever had with a vet.It’s a definite must, as when your little ones aren’t feeling the best they make you feel better because they keep you in the loop every step of the way!We also did puppy pre-school through them which is incredible as well as he now associates the vet with such a happy feeling we never have him worried about the vet visit… and besides that all the love and care he gets when he walks through the Lynbrook vet doors!Truely amazing
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