How to Keep Indoor Cats Happy

Indoor cats require attention and activity to stay happy and healthy.
Indoor cats require attention and activity to stay happy and healthy. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Keeping an indoor cat happy requires attention and proper care. An overweight, bored cat is unhappy. Upset or unhappy cats may show their displeasure by urinating or defecating around the house. Even if you have two or more cats, you need to give each cat personal attention. By spending time with a cat, you see what its normal behaviors are, making it easier to spot possible problems, like joint pain or illness.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat toys
  • Catnip
  • Litterbox
  • Litterbox scoop
  • Cat litter
  • Cat brush
  • Cathouse or box
  • Window ledge
  • Cat food

Play with the cat for at least an hour a day. It doesn’t need to happen all at once. Spread it out throughout the day. Find a type of toy the cat enjoys. For example, some cats enjoy chasing items. Balls or ribbons work well for these cats. A little catnip adds some stimulation to the activity. Not all cats react strongly to catnip though. Not only will playing with the cat provide it with exercise, it acts as a bonding activity.

Scoop out the litter box daily. Cats do not like using a dirty box. Use low-dust litter. Change the litter at least once a week (for single cats).

Brush the cat several times a week, especially when the weather warms up. When cats clean themselves, they swallow loose hair, leading to hairballs. The more loose hair removed from the cat, the fewer hairballs it will have.

Give the cat an area to hide in. Cats like hiding in small spaces. Sturdy cardboard boxes and cathouses work well. Show the item to the cat. Rub catnip on it to attract it to the spot. Keep the dwelling in a low-traffic area.

Install a window ledge. Many cats enjoy lying in the sun.

Take the cat to the vet for yearly checkups. Even if the cat stays inside all of the time, it is still at risk for various feline diseases.

Feed the cat the appropriate amount of food. Use the recommendations on the bag, or ask the vet how much food to give the cat each day. Overfeeding the cat causes weight gain. Weight gain leads to a variety of health problems. Avoid giving the cat table food, no matter how much it begs for it.

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