How to keep your indoor cat happy and healthy

Written by Dr Kylee Woods

Did you know that your cat is likely to live a longer and safer life by keeping them in your home? Cats can live up to four times longer in the safety of a home as compared to being allowed to roam. They are less likely to have accidents, get lost, be in fights, or contract diseases (such as Feline Aids).

But doesn’t a cat need to be allowed to go outside to be happy? Cats can live very happy and contented lives indoors. There are a few considerations to ensure their environment is a “cat friendly” as possible.

Food and Water
Food and water should be set up at least a few feet (if not more) away from the litter tray area. Water should be available at all times. Some indoor cats tend to be less active then their outdoor counterparts. Ensure the amount of food offered is appropriate for their energy levels to avoid them getting too

A lot of people may think a cat is just happy to sleep all day and be by itself. Actually, a lot of cats are social creatures. They more often than not like the company of people and/or other animals.

Play Time
A lot of cats like to play, and most cats like some form of mental and physical activity. Providing toys, play sessions and patting for your cat will assist keeping them happy. It is a good idea to have a stockpile of your cats favorite toys and rotate these regularly.

Your indoor cat will need a litter tray. A rule of thumb is one litter tray per cat. Trays need to be scooped each day, and thoroughly cleaned and changed each week. The tray should be in a quiet, private space.

Perching Places
Cats like to have perching areas from which to observe their world. A high shelf, cat tower, or even the back of a couch near a window may suffice.

Private Spaces
Some cats have less outgoing personalities than others. All cats, but particularly the more shy ones, value a space they can retreat to when they feel worried or scared. This may be a special room set up particularly for this purpose, or just one of the rooms in your home that is quieter and they have access to.

Surfaces to Scratch
Cat like to scratch surfaces as a means of communication. Some cats prefer vertical surfaces, whilst others like horizontal surfaces. Some like cardboard, other carpet or rope surfaces. Try different things for your cat to see what they prefer.

Cat enclosure or run
This can be considered an optional extra. There are many ways a cat run or outdoor enclosure can be constructed, either DIY or by a company offering such a service.