Wondering if you’re giving your indoor cat the best possible life? StyleTails’ Cat Editor, Aideen Mccanny, answers the most commonly asked questions posed by indoor cat owners.
The indoor versus outdoor cat dilemma has long been a hotly debated topic, and one which we know weighs heavily on the minds of our readers. There are pros and cons for both sides of the argument, and of course you have to make the right decision for you and your cat. Whether it is the dangers of traffic and other animals keeping you up at night, or a desire to protect local wildlife, there are many reasons owners decide to keep their cats indoors. However, that doesn’t stop us questioning every decision we make and over analysing our cat’s behaviour. So with this in mind, we’re sharing the answers to the top questions asked by indoor cat owners to help put your mind at ease.
AM I PLAYING WITH HER ENOUGH?
As an indoor cat owner, and someone who works from home most days, my cat Indy would quite happily demand that I play with her all day every day. However, that expectation doesn’t meet my reality. As much as I’d love to give her my upmost attention, this just isn’t always possible.
While I can’t continually play with her, I do make the commitment to entertain her first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening. So as long as you are making an effort to play with your indoor cat a few times day, you are doing enough. Take a look at these 5 fun indoor games to play with your cat for some ideas.
IS SHE BORED?
Indoor cats can be prone to boredom, and even obesity if they’re not provided with proper stimulation. Therefore setting them up with the right indoor environment is is essential for their health and happiness. Attention-seeking behaviour is a tell-tale sign that your kitty is in need of a little attention. For example, every evening, as soon as I sit on the sofa, Indy begins biting a lampshade in our living room because she knows she’s not allowed to do it and it’s an easy way to get our attention. It’s her way of indicating that she’s there and wants entertained.
There are some easy ways to meet your cat’s natural needs while indoors. Cat trees, towers and perches, provide vertical pathways for your cat to retreat and survey their territory from above. Cat scratchers give your feline an outlet for sharpening their claws, and interactive toys and puzzle games are a great way to keep your kitty’s mind and body active (check out our top 5 cat puzzle toys). Some owners are even creating indoor cat gardens to stimulate their cat’s olfactory senses – see how to make your own indoor cat garden here.
WILL SHE HATE ME IF I LEAVE HER ALL DAY?
Again, the answer is no. It’s inevitable that from time-to-time we’ll be away from our homes, whether that be just for the day or for longer while on holiday. All cat owners experience guilt over this (even those with wandering outdoor cats). The key here is to make sure your cat’s routine isn’t interrupted too much as they’ll dislike this more than being left alone.
If you plan to be out all day, give your cat a good run-around in the morning, make sure they’re well fed and leave food and a clean litter tray. No doubt, they’ll sleep most of the day anyway. If you are away for an extended period, call on someone to come into your home a couple of times a day to feed and play with your cat so that life is as normal as possible.
SHOULD I JUST TAKE HER OUTSIDE?
Absolutely! If you have a garden, definitely introduce your cat to the great outdoors, while on a lead, of course. Indy loves being in the garden, but she doesn’t try to get outside, which definitely makes me feel confident in my decision. When the weather permits, we take her outside on her lead, let her have a little wander and a sniff and she usually ventures back inside when she’s had enough. Here’s some advice for teaching your cat to walk on a lead.
DOES SHE NEED A COMPANION?
This one is a little tricky and entirely dependent on your cat and your personal circumstances. The big risk is that the two cats won’t get along, and then you’ll have a whole new scenario to deal with. Cats are territorial creatures by nature and notoriously don’t get along with others. Introducing a second feline into your home could be disruptive, but over time, as your cat begins to feel less threatened, they may become friends. Take a look at this advice for introducing new cats into a household. Some cats do get on better with others, so if possible, determine how your cat behaves around other felines first.
While there are several questions you will ask yourself as an indoor cat owner, remember not to beat yourself up about it. You have made a decision, so embrace it so be happy that you are giving your kitty the best life possible.
Do you keep your cat indoors? Tell us in the comments below!