Many people think that cats need the outdoors to be happy, but this is actually a myth. Cats do have some special needs which are due to them spending hours in the wild, but these can be provided to them indoors as well. You may play with your cat / cats regularly, providing them with stimulation and hope to have done enough to give them the required amount of exercise. Instead of guessing, there are a few ways in which you can ensure that your home has the ideal environment for your cat:
Cats love climbing trees in the wild. They hide from their predators, use them as vantage points and survey their territory from the top of trees. You can give your cats the next best thing to trees – perches. House cats like to climb up and won furniture, mantels, tall bookshelves etc. And if you do not want your cats to jump on your furniture, you could buy cat clouds and cat trees. These are very cleverly designed climbing structures which are specially made for cats. Larger perches can be attached on the side of apartment patio or houses.
Cats outdoors love to hide in foliage or abandoned burrows. There are quite a few options available on the market. Your cat would love to hide in play tunnels which are manufactured from insulated fabric and can also be used a bed for the cat. There are end tables too which have enclosures for cats to hide in. Or a small play house which your cat might like. You could use your imagination to come up with interesting hiding places for your cat, like a cave made by draping a blanket or towel over a table.
Apart from taking your cat for a walk, it needs to feel connected to surroundings outside. You can let the cat go outside through an open window, screen porch or door, and its need to smell new smells and see the pets and people in the neighborhood.
Cats love to scratch and this behavior cannot be changed or stopped. If you want your cat to stop scratching the furniture, curtains and rugs, buy a vertical or horizontal scratch post. Scratch posts are made from carpets, rope fibers or cardboard and will take care of your cat’s need to scratch.
Feeding your cat / Water bowls placed strategically
Your cat requires a calm environment to feed, so the placement of food and water bowls is important. Choose a dish which is shallow, and the sides are short, which doesn’t cause the whiskers to bend. Put in an open place from where it can clearly view its surrounding, and doesn’t become jumpy. Water bowls should be placed strategically all over the house to encourage it to drink water.
Playing with your cat is important, and you should do that every day. Play should include opportunities for your cat to chase, stalk, lick and pounce. You could buy toys without strings or leave out cardboard boxes and paper bags (after removing handles) which your cat would love. Cats are social only when they want to be, so you should have enough toys for your cat.
Comfy resting places
Cats sleep for most of the day, as they mostly are active at dawn, which is the time to hunt. Another time cats are most active is at dusk, which is the other favorite time to hunt. Your cat needs to rest and usually you would find it resting on the easy chair, couch or the stairs. You could buy a bed for the cat, but it may or may not use it.
You ought to have several litter boxes at different levels in the house, whether you have one cat or more. This prevents territorial behavior and allows flexibility, and place them in quiet places to allow some privacy.
Cats have been domesticated quite recently and their natural instincts are still quite strong and your home environment should be one which does not suppress your cat’s instincts. A cat which is looked after well will be happy and healthy.