Some pet owners struggle with whether or not to make their cat an indoor cat, outdoor cat, or a combination of the two. While that decision is always in the hands of the owners, we want you to know that there are plenty of ways to keep your furball content that don’t include trips outdoors.
In fact, outdoor cats have a higher risk of catching contagious diseases from other infected animals. Other risks that can shorten the lifespan of an outdoor cat include getting hit by a car, catching fleas or ticks, eating pesticides, and more.
At Anasazi Animal Clinic, we are proponents of indoor cat well-being. And we’re dedicated to helping pet owners give their beloved companions long, happy lives. Here are our tips for how you can keep your indoor cat happy.
Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy
Cats need lots of exercise and stimulation. Make sure your cat has plenty of room to run around and engaging toys to play with. Mouse toys and toys that chirp are the perfect choices to trigger their natural hunting instincts and make playtime more stimulating. You should join in on the fun by playing with dangling toys, tossing toys around for your cat to chase, and even hiding toys and encouraging your cat to find them.
However, we recommend you avoid using your hands or body to play, such as by teasing them with your hands or letting them climb up your body. Encouraging this behavior will lead to your cat trying to bite or climb you even when it’s not playtime, which can be frustrating for both you and your cat.
Provide Places to Climb
Cats like to climb up high to keep an eye on their environment, hunt for prey, and feel safe. Having places for your cat to climb is an especially good idea for houses and apartments with limited space so they can still get plenty of exercise and enrichment.
Cat trees, condos, and towers with lots of places to perch and built-in scratching posts are the perfect places for cats to climb. Cats need scratching posts so they can keep their claws sharp and stretch their muscles.
If you don’t have the space or budget for cat trees, you can buy a cat hammock or clear off a bookshelf. Just make sure to place a few scratching posts around the house so they don’t destroy your furniture. For added enjoyment, place a cat tree, hammock, or shelf by a window so your cat can watch the birds and nap in the sun whenever they please.
Give Them a High-Quality Diet
It’s important to give your cat a healthy, high-quality diet to ensure they get enough energy and nutrients for their lifestyle. Cats have different dietary needs depending on their life stage, weight, and whether or not they have underlying conditions.
Speak with your veterinarian about the best type of diet for your cat’s needs. In general, your cat should drink plenty of water and eat food rich in protein. You should also limit their treat intake so they don’t become overweight.
Frequently Clean the Litter Box
If cats don’t have easy access to a clean litter box, they may start having accidents around the house. In fact, a dirty litter box can even cause a variety of health problems for your cat, such as urinary tract infections and bladder stones. To keep your cat’s litter box as clean as possible, scoop out waste daily and replace the litter completely every week.
Schedule Regular Visits to the Vet
Although your cat may hate going to the vet, regular wellness visits will make them happy in the long run. Keeping vaccinations up to date and other preventative care will keep your cat safe from a wide variety of diseases. Checkups also allow your vet to spot signs of health problems early and provide fast and effective treatment.
How Do You Know If Your Indoor Cat Is Happy?
You give your cat lots of love, affection, and enrichment all while keeping them healthy—but how do you know if they are truly happy? Here are eight signs of a happy indoor cat:
- Slow blinking
- Grooming in front of you
- Properly using the litter box
- Acting relaxed around you
- Greeting you with meows and trills
- Snuggling or sitting on your lap
Vet Clinic in Gilbert
Is your cat due for a wellness exam? Schedule a visit with Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, Arizona. We’ll help you keep your cat happy and healthy with our preventative services. If your cat seems unhappy and is showing any signs of distress or illness, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 480-497-0505 today.