Everything you need to know about indoor cats

You may have just got yourself a new cat and you've decided you'd rather keep your fur baby indoors or you may have rescued a cat that's always had an indoor lifestyle, either way you're going to be wondering how to keep and indoor cat happy and healthy. Well worry not, I'm here to tell you what you need to know about keeping an indoor cat. It is important to remember that having an indoor cat isn't for everyone and the advice given here will cover benefits and drawbacks to allow you to make an informed decision.

How to look after an indoor cat

 I would not recommend keeping a cat that has previously had the opportunity to be outside as an indoor cat as it will be a very stressful situation for it to try and adapt to (unless of course there are medical reason that mean it shouldn't go outside anymore), I also wouldn't recommend an indoor cat if you don't have a lot of time to dedicate to it, they need a lot more interaction than outdoor cats but we'll cover that in more detail shortly. As a side note, I have two cats who are almost 3 years old, they are from the same litter and we've had them since they were nine weeks old, they have always been indoor cats. You can read about why I decided to keep them as indoor cats in this blog post.

The benefits

Having an indoor cat means you know they are relatively safe and will completely avoid all the dangers they would face outside which can provide peace of mind for you. If you're home a lot it means your cat will always be around which could be a big benefit for anyone living alone or anyone who gains comfort from pets for a physical or mental health condition. 

Things to consider

If you are rescuing a cat that has always lived indoors or needs to live indoors for medical reasons then please don't think it's OK for them to go outside. If you really don't want an indoor cat, don't adopt one that has to be kept indoors. Also if you're wanting an indoor cat it's probably not the best idea to adopt a cat that's spent a long time outside as adjusting to being in a house all the time will be very stressful for the cat. Indoor cats require a lot more time, love and interaction then outdoor cats do. You will be their only companion so all their socialising will be done with you, you will have to dedicate time to playing with them, interacting with them and in my opinion indoor cats aren't as independent as outdoor cats so if you don't have the time to dedicate to caring for them properly and indoor cat is definitely not for you.

 Another thing to consider is space, outdoor cats obviously have a lot of space to roam but indoor cats only have your house, I'm not saying you need to have a mansion if you're wanting to keep your cats indoors but you need to allow your cat as much space as possible to roam, hide, sleep etc. Our house is by no means big it's a 2 bedroom semi-detached property but there's only one room in the whole house that the cats aren't allowed in other than that they can go where they want.

Finally I'd say the other big thing to consider is the litter tray situation. Indoor cats will need access to a litter tray at all times and they're really not the most pleasant thing to have in your house, litter will get flicked around (even with an enclosed tray) and yes they do smell. You need to be prepared to clean it often and deal with the smell, there's really not a lot you can do about it but keeping it cleans and using candles and air fresheners helps. You need to seriously consider if a litter tray is something your happy about being in your house all the time.

Keeping your cat entertained

Indoor cats will need entertaining and playing with more than outdoor cats, they aren't out chasing birds and mice, they aren't wearing there claws down on paving and fences and they aren't exploring the world around them. I think finding things your cats enjoy playing with really is a case of trial and error, we've tried so many different toys that have all been a fail but our two definitely have firm favourites now. It's good to try a range of toys to see what suits your cat best, you don't have to spend loads of money as places like The Range, B&M and Quality Save all have some great toys. The most used toys we've got cost £5 (for a pop up activity tent for cats from B&M) and £1 (for a crinkly lure toy from Quality Save). Scratch posts, activity towers and beds are also something you're going to need room for. We have four scratch posts, three of which are cat trees that can be slept on/in at multiple levels, we also have a teepee and then a blanket upstairs in a spot the cats like to lay if they're wanting a quiet moment.

Keeping your cat healthy

Indoor cats, no matter how much you play with them will always get less exercise than an outdoor cat so it's important to keep them fit and healthy. Obviously playing with them is always a good idea for both entertainment and fitness but also don't discourage those mad zoomy moments they seem to have as it's a good way for them to expel some energy. It's also important to keep an eye on your cats weight and don't overfeed them as again they aren't moving as much so aren't burning off as many calories. Stick to rough feeding times each day, not just when you're cat decides it's time for food, also make sure there's always fresh water available. Lastly, just because you're cat is relatively immune to the dangers of the outside world doesn't mean you shouldn't keep on top of vaccination boosters and health checks, you should also definitely insure an indoor cat too. Keeping on top of vaccinations will ensure you're cats health and it's also worth noting catteries won't accept cats that don't have up to date vaccinations either. 

Having an indoor cat is a big commitment, bigger than having an outdoor cat and there's lots of things to consider so I hope this guide has offered to good advice on the best why to look after your furry friend! 

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