You want your cat to live a long, healthy, and happy life. Are you doing everything you can to ensure you cat is living her best life? Here are our top 10 tips for helping your cat live all 9 lives with the best quality of life.
#1 – Keep her inside
It used to be assumed that cats needed the opportunity to go outside to explore and hunt to be happy. Now, we know better. There are an infinite number of dangers outside, and there are plenty of ways to keep cats happy and safe inside. According to Paws:
“For cats, the great outdoors are anything but great. Whether they live in the city, in the suburbs, or in the country, outdoor cats face a multitude of risks. They are exposed to contagious diseases, most of which are fatal. Traffic takes a huge toll on free-roaming cats, and while many people believe their pets are street-wise, no cat looks both ways when being chased by another animal. Further dangers include poisons, leg-hold traps, pet theft, and inhumane treatment by cruel people.
The average life span of an outdoor cat is 2 to 3 years, whereas an indoor-only cat can live 15 to 20 years. Indoor cats are usually healthier, too, which saves on veterinary bills for treatment of contagious diseases, parasites, and abscesses from fights with other animals. While it is true that cats enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, they do not need to go outside to be satisfied. Some creative planning on the part of their human guardians can help indoor cats live fully.”
Transitioning a cat from enjoying some time outdoors to being an indoor-only cat can be difficult. Ultimately, though, it’s worth it for the well-being of your cat (not to mention local wildlife). If possible, do the transition during winter, when cats prefer warm spaces anyway. Gradually leave them inside for longer and longer periods while providing an interesting life indoors. Hopefully, your cat won’t be itching to run outside once spring hits.
#2 – Keep her active
The biggest problem with indoor cats is that they tend not to get enough exercise and frequently wind up obese. Obesity can lead to a number of health issues that will impact your cat’s quality of life. While many people perceive cats to be lazy, the truth is often that they are bored. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help keep your cat active.
Teaser toys, usually something dangling from a pole, allow you to play with your cat in an interactive way. They allow you to mimic the movement of prey and gives your cat the opportunity to “hunt.” Not all cats are into catnip, but some cats go crazy for it. Having a few catnip toys around, refreshed every few weeks with new catnip, can inspire your cat to play more. Some cats enjoy fetching. You can ramp up the activity level of a game of fetch by throwing a toy or ball down the stairs. Running up and down stairs is great exercise! Even if you don’t have stairs, a nice long game of fetch will help your cat get the exercise she needs. Some toys dangle from doorknobs, giving even lazy cats the opportunity to swat at a toy when home alone. Track ball toys allow your cat to swat at a ball that will never wind up lodged underneath furniture. Many cats go crazy for laser pointers, which can be just as much fun for you as they are for your cat. Watch them go crazy for a little red dot that they can never catch!
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy cat toys to keep your cat entertained. Plenty of cats are more interested in the box that a toy comes in. A crinkled ball of paper or the cap of a milk jug can be just as entertaining. You should always supervise your cat with these types of non-traditional toys to make sure they aren’t chewing on something that’s unsafe for them to eat.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to engage your cat’s prey drive and keep them happy, healthy, and active living life entirely indoors.
#3 – Provide a cat tree
Cats love vertical space. They love the opportunity to look down on the world, and a well-placed cat tree can also provide a great view through a window of the outside world, where they can watch wildlife without putting themselves or the wildlife in any danger. Very tall cat trees are perfect for homes with multiple cats, as each cat can have their own perch. There are also a variety of window perches that can be attached in front of, or even inside of a window (like an air conditioning unit), to help your cat enjoy the outdoors from the safety of your home.