When it comes to cats, many people believe owning one means they don’t have to worry about taking them outside like you would a dog. They also do not consider the happiness level of keeping an indoor-only cat. So what can you do to ensure your indoor cat is happy and content?
Understanding the Stress
If you’ve ever known a “problem cat”, it’s very likely due to environmental stress. What do I mean by this? Well, there are certain things a cat needs to stimulate its wild nature and if those things aren’t provided in the home, the cat may just act out purely out of boredom. This can quickly turn into aggression if you don’t pay attention to your cat’s needs.
Bring the Outdoors, Indoors
Not only will they filter your air and help you sleep at night but your cat will love you for it. What am I talking about? Plants! Felines adore plants from different smells to the textures and shapes. Not all plants are created equal. You do not want just any old plant sitting around because cats enjoy chewing them and some can be poisonous.
Here are 10 plants non-toxic plants you and your kitty (also safe for dogs) will love from Apartment Therapy writer Michelle Chin:
- Blue Echeveria
- Areca or Golden Palm
- Burro’s Tail or Lamb’s Tail
- Christmas Cactus
- Cliff Brake or Button Fern
- Hens and Chickens
- Pearl Plant
- Pony Tail Palm
- Spice Orchid
Get a Little High With This One
There are two types of cat personalities when it comes height preference: Bush dwellers and more commonly, tree-dwellers. Most felines love heights and enjoy being the highest living thing in the room. So, how many areas of your home can your cat be at a good height? Probably not many. This is very important to cat’s overall happiness and even yours. You want to provide a high sitting area in each room where a lot of socialization happens.
For most homes, this would be the family room and the kitchen. Not many people want their cats up in high places in the kitchen because of hair shed, so my advice is to have a high sitting area away from the refrigerator and stove. If you have a dining room, have a high area where your cat can sit comfortably on in there. As for the family room, you can be as creative as you want. A simple high-standing cat tree will do just fine but if you are tight on space, wall hanging shelves are always a great option and they can be set up in very creative ways. Just make sure your kitty can reach them!
Interaction is a Must
You should make sure your cat has toys available at all times, some for single play and some for you to play with. Play with your cat every day! It is a misconception in the pet world to believe just because a cat is more independent than a dog, they don’t need daily playtime. Cats are hunters of living, moving prey. That style of play has to be in their lives to be happy. This is most important to a person who only owns one cat. Most cats will do just fine with a feather wand and they are fairly cheap in pet shops. Playing with your cat daily will not only make them happy but give them the exercise they need to stay healthy and in shape as well. If you can spare an hour a day sitting on your couch watching TV, you have no excuse for this one!
One thing every indoor cat loves and needs is access to windows (Yes, more than one!). You should give your cat access to one window in each direction: north, south, east, and west. This may not be possible where you live so just allow your cat the viewing pleasure of the outdoors in the family room, dining room, and master bedroom. There are cat window perches you can buy that fix right below the window or you can allow them access to a table that sits under the window. This is not only important for keeping them entertained but also for allowing them to sunbathe when they want to.