Keeping cats happy all the time is a hard thing for any owner. Your cat might be the best behaved little angel that you've ever met but when it comes down to it, cats are crazy creatures and they like exploration and stimulation to be kept happy.
Outdoor cats are easier to keep happy because they've got the entirety of the outdoor world to explore and play in as well as your home, however, should they be locked inside for a time, or if your cat is strictly an indoors feline you'll need some tips and tricks on how to keep them happy.
Firstly if you want your cat to be an all indoors kitty it's best to start them from the moment they enter your home, in fact, the younger the better. If they've never been outside the need to explore out there won't be as strong as the need is for a cat who could once go and come as they please, but now is forced to stay on the safe side of the windows.
All cats can live happily indoors you just need to keep life interesting for them and keep all kinds of temptation at bay (an open window will tempt any cat into jumping out it, so make sure your windows are securely closed or covered by screens to keep your kitty in!)
One of the best and the most important things you can do for your indoor cat is to spend time with them, especially if you live in a single cat household.
Even though your cat might seem like a lone wolf they actually depend on you for entertainment, reassurance, and companionship. You will be the only friend your cat has so make sure you take the time to play with your cat, brush them, or sit next to them so that they know they can count on you.
That being said, your cat might not always want to share your bed with you, it's important that there is a space in your home set aside just for them. Make sure it's secluded and private, where they can feel safe and independent, and know that it is a place for them to relax where no one will approach and surprise them, and your cat will be happy.
If your cat has a happy, safe, clean home they will be more than happy to relax indoors with you because let's face it, the big wide world might be a bit of fun but food, warmth, entertainment, safety, and love are far easier to come across if you live indoors.
Don't blame your cat if they try to escape, it's only in their nature, but to be safe make sure they are always wearing a collar and have a microchip so that if they get lost and someone finds them, they can return them home to you.
Keeping all of that in mind there's no reason that your indoor cat needs to stay inside 24/7. There are many safe ways that you can allow your cat to explore the outside world as long as you keep a close eye on them.
Fences aren't going to cut the mustard here, it might work to keep other animals out of your yard but your cat also has free opportunity to leave, so unless you want to watch them and be by their side the entire time they're out there you'll need to take it a step further.
If you and your cat are comfortable and live in a safe area, you can train your cat to wear a harness and walk on a lead. This gives you the freedom to take them for a walk and explore more of the world than just a section of your yard and spend some quality time with them.
Once you're comfortable with the harness, you can even attach your cat to a stationary object and let them wander freely while you're gardening or relaxing nearby. Please remember that your cat should never be left alone while they are on a lead/restrained in any way, you should always be with them to ensure their safety.
Other options include a screened in porch area or 'catio' where they are safely enclosed but have the sun to lie in and things to play on or climb, allowing them safe time outdoors without you having to be with them constantly.
You could allow your cat longer periods of time outdoors this way because they won't become bored so quickly and you have the freedom to do other things in between checking on them.
If you didn't want to worry about taking your cat outside at all there's also the option of purchasing a frame to fit in one of your windows, it allows them to sit in the breeze without ever actually leaving the house! They fit in much like an air conditioning unit would and are totally safe for a feline friend in a busy household, you could even try hanging a bird feeder around the window so that there's something interesting for your cat to look at while they're relaxing.
Now it's time to fill your home with all things cat-friendly! Your little friend will be stuck in your home all day, every day, for its whole life and even though you do it for their safety let me tell you, it's going to get boring. So you need a bunch of toys for them to play with, not just one or two old mouse toys either.
Try a heap of different things to keep your cat interested, and you can even store some away and cycle the toys you give them so that it always seems like there's something new around.
Try things like toy mice, balls, feathers, toys with bells, kitty fishing poles, cardboard boxes, hair ties, tunnels, cardboard tubes (like paper towel or toilet paper rolls!) pens, pegs, bouncy balls, or you could even make toys yourself that reward them with treats.
If you'd like to try this start with an easy puzzle to occupy them, cut small holes in a Pringles can and fill it with treats if you show them that rolling it around gets a reward they'll be occupied for hours trying to get every little treat out.
You cat will also need places to climb and explore so that their muscles are getting used and stretched, and staying healthy and strong. You could try making a catwalk of shelves, bookcases and platforms around your home, or supply your cat with multiple cat trees to play on, either way, they'll climb on those to get their exercise rather than on top of your TV!
Indoor cats can become bored and obese very easily so you'll need to make sure they aren't overeating and lazing about. Make sure you spend time encouraging them to play with you or put their daily dry food in places they'll need to climb to reach - they'll either be too lazy to go and stop eating as much or burn off some of their fat getting there.
Other than lots of love, toys, and entertainment, the best thing you can do is make sure the home they're living in is clean and safe. There are many things in a home that can be harmful to cats so it's best to remove them from your home or keep them in a room that your indoor cat is restricted from entering.
A lot of plants are toxic to cats and should be replaced with ones safe for them such as cat-grass or catnip. You probably won't stop your cat from grazing on your plants so it's better to just pick some that both you and your cat will like. Avoid plants like Amaryllis, Aloe, most Lillies, Chrysanthemum, English Ivy, Tulip Bulbs, and Yew.
Keep their litter clean and accessible, along with some cozy beds, and try changing things up once in a while with what you do with them, or even with their water!
Maybe they like still water, or flowing? Try a new fountain or bowl for them just to keep them on their toes. As long as you do your best for them they'll be happy, but remember, if you slack off they'll be sure to let you know that they're bored!
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