We all know that cats need lots of stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If your cat is an indoor-only cat, the right types of stimulation may be hard to come by. You might have some toys and window perches, and maybe you have some carpeted shelves in your house like we do. If these don’t seem to be working, or you think you can do better, then perhaps you could take a look at these ideas for increasing your indoor-only cat’s happiness.
The right toys and scratching posts will help your indoor-only cat’s happiness the most
Do you know what types of toys your cat likes to play with the most? Does he like to chase things on the floor, like mice, or jump after things in the air and on the walls, like bugs or birds? The best toy for your cat is the toy that will speak to what type of prey he’d prefer to chase in the wild. Petplace has advice on how to determine which toys are best; simply buy several types of toys, and play with your cat with each one. Do this for several days. His level of interest will show you which toys are best for him.
Another way to enrich his environment is to give him scratching posts and perches, particularly near windows so he can see out. Choose posts that have different scratching surfaces, like a combination of carpet and sisal rope. The carpet can give him soft, comfortable places to lounge, nap, or watch outside, and the sisal rope gives him a good, durable scratching surface.
Petplace also talks about how to pick out great scratching pieces that can help your indoor-only cat’s happiness. They note that sisal rope is cheaper and more durable than carpet, and that it appeals to cats more than carpet does, too. Good scratching posts with different surfaces will help to satisfy your cat’s need to scratch, which keeps him more fulfilled, and it will also give him comfy perches.
What you choose (scratching pad, post, tree, condo, or playground) depends on your space and budget, but you should be able to find something that works and is affordable for you.
Catnip and cat grass may also help your indoor-only cat’s happiness
Another possibility for working on your indoor-only cat’s happiness is having cat grass and catnip plants in the house. About half of cats are susceptible to catnip (including all four of mine). One chemical in catnip, called nepetalactone, acts as a stimulant and produces the “high” that we see when cats start rubbing all over catnip toys. Catnip is also safe for your cat to eat (although too much may make him vomit and have diarrhea), so you can have it out and within your cat’s reach.
Cat grass is good because cats eat grass to help them rid their bellies of indigestible material, such as fur and feathers. Even if your cat never has any exposure to feathers, he does get fur in his tummy. The grass can help him to eliminate it.
Having these two plants around might keep your cat from chewing your other plants to smithereens. You can grow some yourself, or buy it from your local pet store. Just remember to put it out of reach occasionally, so that it has a chance to regrow after your cat eats some of it.
Interactive playtime also goes a long way toward increasing your indoor-only cat’s happiness
Finally, to really help with your indoor-only cat’s happiness, schedule playtime with him. Dedicate 10 to 15 minutes of playtime for him twice a day, every day, in addition to cuddle time. Both of these are great ways to interact with your cat, and help him to both get exercise, and relax. This interaction is important not just to stimulate him, but also to strengthen and reinforce your bond with him.
Indoor-only cats are stuck in the same environment day after day. While I would personally love to build a catio for my cats, it’s not practical for me right now and may not be practical for you, either. Therefore, it’s important to find other ways of maintaining your indoor-only cat’s happiness. Your job as his person is to make his environment as fun and stimulating as possible for him. He’ll be happier and healthier for it.