It has been proven time and time again that indoor-only cats ultimately live longer and healthier lives. The hitch, of course, is that our homes can lack the stimulation and excitement of being outside where there are so many things to smell, explore, and hunt. That kind of mental stimulation goes hand in hand with physical activity– two things that are necessary for your cat’s emotional and physical well-being. Here are a few things you can do to keep your cat’s mind active and sharp.
#1 – Food puzzles
Food puzzles are an easy way to help your cat feel as if she is hunting for her meal. There are quite a few companies that make them and even though they come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and configurations, they all have one thing in common: they will force your cat to hunt and problem solve for the reward of food. Some food puzzles, like the Stimulo, are even able to be modified so you can switch it up every now and then to keep your cat on her toes. Most food puzzles can be used with treats too!
#2 – Playtime with you
Many cat parents think of playtime as an optional treat– something they indulge their cat in every once in a while when they have some extra time. This way of thinking can be detrimental to your cat’s health and well-being. Cats who aren’t played with on a regular basis risk all sorts of problems like obesity, boredom, and depression. It’s your responsibility as her caregiver to make some time in each day to initiate some interactive play time, and even 15 minutes per day will make a huge difference.
#3 – Window perches
Indoor cats are, by default, exposed to far less stimulus than cats who are allowed outdoors. In a way that’s great because it means they aren’t exposed to predators and other dangers, but it also means that they aren’t exposed to the good stuff– curious scents, insects, birds, etc. Window perches can give an indoor cat a taste of the good stuff. She won’t be able to actually hunt from inside, but she’ll appreciate and love being able to watch the birds fluttering around. If you’re lucky you may even catch her chattering at the birds!
#4 – Toys
Toys are a critical part of keeping your cat stimulated when you aren’t around to play. There are endless types to choose from and each cat will have a different preference, so you may have to try a few to determine what gets your cat excited. To make sure your cat stays active and alert when you’re not home, consider adding a few battery-operated interactive toys to your home.
#5 – Cat TV
Did you know cats have their own YouTube channels? It’s true! If there’s nothing exciting to see from your windows or just to add some extra fun, park your cat in front of your computer, start a video, and watch her go bonkers as she tries to figure out how to access the birds and squirrels that are behind the screen.