Let’s face it, if kitty isn’t happy, you won’t be either.
Because she will make your life miserable. Especially if she is one of the more vocal types.
If you have made the wise decision to keep your kitty indoors—no matter if it’s for her own good, or for the birds and wildlife—then you need to deal with keeping your cat happy. Contented and purring is what we want, not pouting. Not destructive. Not meowing all hours of the night and day!
And if she was used to roaming outdoors, it can be a real pain to now have to confine her. Besides her evident displeasure, you might feel guilt and sadness that her life is reduced in scope and joy.
Well, fear not. There are solutions!
Just a few things to keep in mind, whether your cat is transitioning to indoor life or has always been an indoor cat:
1. Rejoice that animals live in the NOW. She will not be thinking about the good old days when she was taking down birds at the neighbours’ feeder. Nor will she be remembering the bad old days when she was chased by dogs, trapped up a tree by a coyote (they live in cities too!) or narrowly escaped being run over by a jeep. So making her happy in the NOW, will be the goal. And it’s possible! Even as an indoor cat. Don’t be put off by her yowling to get outside again. It will fade. Meantime, read on for tips on how to make her indoor life enjoyable.
2. The same things she enjoys outside she can enjoy inside. Lying in a sunny spot. A good tummy rub. Her favourite foods. Watching birds. “Hunting.”
3. She will live a longer life inside, and you will get to enjoy her longer.
4. As an indoor cat, there will be more time for cuddling and bonding, lap-time and watching your favourite movies together! You won’t be wondering where she is, or if something happened and she won’t come home tonight.
The main thing she will be missing will be the hunting and “entertainment” that those stalking activities gave her. The desire to hunt is innate in the cat, it won’t go away. Further, activity is good for their health, just like for their people! We all need to move and be active, doing things we enjoy! With this in mind, here is my number one tip:
Set up a Play Area for Indoor Kitty
- You can keep her favourite toys in a basket in the Play Area. There are do’s and don’t’s in regards to cat toys! You can read about those here (link) because, along with her happiness, kitty’s safety is our desire! And some toys are dangerous, even lethal.
- Play with your cat. Games of prey and pounce are always fun, all you have to do is simulate the prey and let her pounce. A wide ribbon is safer than string (choking hazard) and a Cat Dancer is a simple, safe and insanely popular toy for felines.
- An important element of the Play Area is the Scratching Post. If you don’t want your furniture ruined, don’t neglect this important feature! Cats will even use the wood of a stairway if they don’t have another option (ask me how I know).
- You can make your own Scratching Post out of a long piece of firewood, set on a slant or upright. It can be attached to a plywood base, or attached to the wall, and you can make it as fancy as you like. One thing to remember is that cats like a bit of something to grip on, so don’t finish the wood smoothly.
- If you can’t be bothered or don’t have the equipment to make a Scratching Post, you can purchase one at your local pet shop or online.