Pets
8:45 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Entertaining Your Indoor Cat

Just couldn't resist!
Credit Wendy Moody / smkybear [Flickr]

A cat's nature is to hunt, stalk, mark territory, but living indoors can limit its opportunities follow its instincts.  You can help your cat live a happier and healthier life if you find ways to make your home more "friendly" for your feline resident.

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Keeping our cats indoors safeguards our feline companions from several dangers that lurk outside, including attacks by larger animals, diseases carried by other cats or rabies, being injured or killed by a vehicle on the road, even extremes of hot or cold weather.

The life expectancy of an outdoor cat is only about three years while an indoor cat may live fifteen years or more. Sounds like a great life, catnapping all day, always plenty of food and water available, maybe the occasional warm lap to curl up in. No problems, right?

Well, not every cat wants to nap all day. By nature a cat is active and inquisitive. Just toss a empty paper grocery sack on the floor; your cat won’t be able to resist checking it out and even crawling inside for a closer look. Like us, a cat likes to have something to do. Without that, your feline friend might develop some bad habits or even psychological problems, like scratching or meowing for no good reason.

One way to keep your cat entertained is to provide places where it can watch what’s going on outside. It might be a shelf attached to the window sill, or a kitty condo next to the window, or even a cardboard box. If you arrange things just right, you can create a maze and a series of levels for your pet to explore.

Give your cat something to hunt for, like treats hidden in a toy, or hidden around the house, or even in a timed food dispenser.

Take time to play with your pet. One of our favorites is a slender rod with a string attached to one end. Hold the other end and flick the string (sometimes with a feather or toy attached) and watch your cat run and leap as it attempts to catch the “prey”.

Another great toy is a laser pointer; a cat will be thoroughly captivated by the moving red dot, although you have to be careful never to shine it directly into the animal’s eye.

Find out what entertains your cat, and then play. You may find that both of you are having a good time in each other’s company. And isn’t that why we call them our best friends, when we’re speaking of pets?

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