For owners that have an indoor cat, keeping your feline friend active, fit and stimulated can sometimes present a bit of a challenge. Cats by their very nature are independent souls and will often find ways to keep themselves entertained. However, there a few things that you can do to ensure that your cat is kept happy and trim if they spend their days living indoors.
If you are at home for the day then helping keep your cat active is somewhat easier. There are a variety of toys on the market that are perfect for stimulating felines; laser pens are a good example of this. Simple, yet effective, your cat will chase the laser spot around the house, using different actions such as jumping, running, standing on its hind legs etc to try and get at the mysterious moving spot. A great thing about a toy such as this is that you control the level of intensity in terms of how much the cat ‘works out’, meaning that you can help him/her keep active whenever you are in the house.
You can also help your indoor cat to lose some weight by replacing food treats with special toy treats. Rather than rewarding your pet with snacks that add calories and pounds to him/her, try to instil a sense of positive reinforcement with a toy that you let them play with as a treat. Continuing on with the food theme, it can help to keep your cat’s food bowl and water bowl separate and far apart; ensure that they know where both sources are and then they will have to move between both, rather than them being in the same place and easier to reach.
A technique that can also help is to move the food bowl mid-way through eating. If the bowl is on the floor, then after a minute or so, move it to a kitchen side so that your cat has to jump up to carry on eating, then after another minute move it back down again, helping your cat to keep active that little bit more; be sure to give them lots of cuddles (if they allow you) after they’ve finished eating to show that you are happy with them.
There are many things that you can do to ensure that your cat can keep active if you are not in for the day. Be sure that there are areas of the house that have a good vertical spacing so that your cat can jump up lots, as this is something that they love to do and having these kinds of space will encourage them to jump up and down regularly. Cat trees are also ideal for keeping a feline both entertained and fit when left to their own devices. There is a diverse range of these that come in all shapes and sizes, the better and more expansive the better as this will keep your cat interested for longer.
However, the cost of buying such expansive and developed toys can sometimes be too much. There are many things that your cat will find interesting that you will not have to buy specifically for that purpose. How many times have you caught your cat playing with a bag, cardboard box or a piece of string? You can use this to your advantage and purposefully leave stuff like this around the house for your cat to play with; providing that it is safe and there is no way they can injure themselves using the homemade toy.
In addition to the tips outlined above, having another cat as a companion/ playmate will encourage both cats to keep active. If you have a pair of kittens then they will forever be playing, running around and chasing each other, keeping them consistently active throughout their lives. However, if you are thinking of introducing a new cat into a single-cat-household, then be sure to introduce them properly.
To find out more about how to care for your cat, visit our blog, article and guide pages. Insuring your pet gives you peace of mind that you and your pet will be covered if anything were to happen. Animal Friends have a range of policies for dogs, cats and horses, and we also insure older pets.