Keeping your cat indoors can come with a whole range of benefits, including protecting them against injuries, disease, inclement weather and preventing them from getting lost. Of course, it also really helps to keep our wildlife safe.
With the increase in councils restricting cats to indoors only, it’s a great time to start transitioning your cat indoors. We know it can be challenging to think of how to keep your cat happy when they are contained, however it is certainly possible with the right knowledge and equipment. Here are some tips on how to keep your cat entertained, prevent boredom and keep your furniture safe.
How can I keep my cat happy indoors?
Cats can be very happy and thrive indoors. Providing some essential items will help keep them mentally and physically stimulated:
- all scratching posts will provide height and essential a place for them to satisfy their natural instinct to scratch.
- Toys will help stimulate natural senses like pouncing, chasing, and batting. Rotating toys regularly will help keep play time fresh for your cat. Providing enrichment toys and feeders such as the Nina Ottosson Puzzle & Play Buggin’ Out feeder will help keep your cat entertained while thinking about how they will be able to reach their reward.
Window beds allow them to see what’s happening outside while lying in the warmth of the sun.
It's always important to keep a safe space for your cat in your home. Somewhere they can go to if they ever feel overwhelmed or need some quiet time. Having hiding spots or igloo beds can help with this and it is important to allow your cat to retreat to this space whenever they feel the need to.
What if my cat really wants to spend time outdoors?
Building a cat enclosure is a great way to get the best of both worlds – it allows your feline friend to enjoy the outdoors while keeping them safely contained. Incorporating a large space with platforms ranging in height and size will encourage your cat to jump, explore and pounce, giving them their much-needed daily dose of exercise. Planting non-toxic bushes and trees within this space will help keep it as natural as possible and allow for hiding spaces.
What if I can’t have a cat enclosure?
Rest assured there are other ways you can let your cat enjoy the outdoors while keeping them protected at the same time.
Harness training is on the rise among cat owners. Harnesses such as the Anipal Harness and Lead not only keep your cat safe while outdoors, but this one is also made from recycled material and honors the native wildlife in need of protection.
Harnesses can be scary and foreign to cats. Take a slow approach when introducing a harness to your cat:
- While at home allow them to get used to the feeling of the harness around their body
- Rewarding your cat with treats, a toy or even a snuggle will help them learn to view the harness as a good thing, rather than associating it with fear.
Once your cat is completely comfortable with wearing the harness at home, you can then introduce the lead:
- Start by using the lead for short times inside your home. Reward this process inside until your cat is completely comfortable with wearing the harness with the lead attached.
This step is important as outside has a range of distractions and objects that could be frightening to your cat. Each cat is different, and some may take much longer to accept and trust a harness than others.
Once you are ready to introduce the harness and lead outside, it’s important to listen to your cat’s body language to ensure they are comfortable and not in distress. Introducing outside walks to your cat slowly will help increase their confidence and encourage exploring while in the safety of their harness.
We hope these tips help keep your cat happy and safe indoors. It’s truly one of the best ways to protect your feline friend and we know that both of you will find it rewarding! For more tips visit www.safecat.org.au