Top 10 Tips to Keep an Indoor Cat Happy and Healthy

In this article, I explain what extra provisions are necessary and why they are important for an indoor cat. I share a variety of unique and reliable tips that will ensure they remain happy and healthy, and many of these tips can also be applied to outdoor cats. 

A happy and healthy indoor cat

There are a variety of reasons that owners choose to keep their cats indoors: 

  • Their cat is elderly
  • Their cat is anxious
  • They live in an apartment
  • There is endangered wildlife in the area that the cat may hunt
  • Their cat has health complications
  • Their cat gets into fights with the neighbors' cat
  • There are dangerous wild animals in the area that may attack their cat
  • They live near a main road

However, what's important is that the decision has been made with the cat's best interest at heart and that the owner does all that they can to ensure that they are kept happy and healthy. 

It is important to note that some cats, especially those that are accustomed to an outdoor lifestyle, may find it too stressful to adapt to being an indoor cat. It is, therefore, best that a cat is kept as an indoor cat from an early age. 

If you are going to keep your cat solely indoors you need to provide them with extra enrichment so that they don't become bored, aggressive, anxious, stressed, or depressed. Cats are inquisitive, clever, and curious creatures. Cats that are to be kept strictly indoors will need to be in a stimulating environment that fulfills their needs and they will also need extra resources. 

1. Make Feeding Time More Challenging 

Think about your domestic cat's wild ancestors. Finding a meal was much harder than weaving in and out of a human's legs a few times and then giving them a hopeful and chirpy 'meow'. They had to hunt, which is both mentally and physically stimulating. From stalking to the chase to the kill, hunting requires both effort and skill. Also, extending the amount of time that your cat spends feeding can help prevent boredom. 

With both of the methods below, it is very important to monitor the amount of food that they are eating and check that they have managed to find or access it all. 

A) Hide Their Food

You can either hide a few healthy treats around a room, or you can hide their entire meal by splitting it into a few dishes. This can become a really fun game to play together

These are the steps to follow when encouraging your cat to forage for their food:
  1. Make sure that your cat is out of the room that you have chosen to be the new hunting ground and shut the door. Otherwise, they will just follow you around hoovering up what you put down, which defeats the whole object of it being a challenge
  2. Hide healthy treats or their normal food in various locations, such as on their cat tree or on the window sill
  3. Make sure that you remember all the hiding spots so that you can check afterward that they managed to find it all
  4. At first, guide them to where the treats are hidden. This is a new concept and it is best to introduce it to them slowly
  5. Once they get used to it they can find the food on their own. They will soon come to realize that as soon as the door is opened they have to go in and seek out their food

B) Interactive Food & Treat Dispensers

This method of feeding involves your cat using some basic problem-solving skills in order to access the reward, their food. Below are three of my favorite interactive food and treat dispensers:

PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
PetSafe Interactive Food Dispenser
Provide mental stimulation for your cat by placing their meal in the ball, so they have to push it around and work for their food, mimicking natural hunting behaviours. The hole sizes are adjustable, so the difficulty can be varied

Trixie Mad Scientist for Cats
Trixie Mad Scientist
Provides enrichment for your cat as they learn how to retrieve the treats, which are placed in the beakers and fall out when they are spun. The treats are then retrieved from amongst the pegs. To increase the difficulty, lids with holes can be placed on the beakers

Catit Digger
This interactive feeder encourages your cat's natural hunting instincts. Hide food inside the different-sized tubes and watch them dig and catch the treats like prey!

2. Regularly Groom Your Cat 

Not only does grooming help prevent fur balls, prevent matting and help stop a film of cat hair from forming all over the furniture, but it's also a chance for you and your cat to spend some time together. 

Cat grooming and social interactions

Hartz Groomer's Brush
This brush is gentle and perfect for everyday de-shedding. Many cats love this brush so much they present themselves for their daily grooming session and purr away while being brushed

3. Daily Playtime Sessions 

Interactive fishing rod-type toys, such as Da Bird and the Cat Charmer, are the best when it comes to kitty playtime. Toys that you can move around and encourage your cat to hunt and pounce are the most exciting. However, these sorts of toys have stringy bits so they should only be played with under your supervision as cats have been known to swallow them. 

Make sure that you engage in daily sessions of interactive play with your cat, which is both mentally and physically stimulating for them.

Cat Charmer/Dancer Cat Toy
Cat Charmer Toy
A colourful ribbon that you can swish around on the floor and in the air, and is extremely fun and entertaining for all cats

Da Bird Cat Toy
Da Bird Toy
These feathers on a rod are one of the most popular and irresistible cat toys ever created. Perfect for interactive playtime 


4. Provide Them With Cat Grass 

Common Oat, Avena sativa, is also known as cat grass. However, the term 'cat grass' is used to refer to a number of grass species, such as barley, oat, rye, and wheat.

Cat Grass

Many cats, both wild and domesticated, seem to enjoy eating grass, although the reasons for this behavior are not yet fully understood. Theories for cats eating grass include: 

  • Grass contains fiber that helps with their digestion. The roughage also helps them move hair they have swallowed while grooming themselves through their digestive tract
  • Grass induces vomiting, which helps cats expel indigestible matter such as feathers, bones, and fur, not only from the prey they eat but also from hair that they swallow while grooming themselves
  • Their digestive systems aren't designed to process grass but some minerals and vitamins may leak out of the grass juices
  • They like the crunchy feel and sweet taste of grass

Although there is no evidence that cats need grass, if a cat cannot go outdoors and obtain grass then it may be best to provide them with some, so that they at least have a choice. You can either buy pre-grown grass or you can grow it yourself.

The Cat Ladies Grass Kit
These kits make it easy to grow your own organic grass, and you'll be amazed and how quickly it grows! Perfect for cats that love to chew on plants and will also add safe and healthy greenery to your home

5. Litter Trays Are Essential

Having a litter tray is common sense but there are a variety of things that you can do to ensure that your cat is happy with their litter tray setup. 

  • Follow the '1 each, plus 1' rule. Every cat should have their own litter tray, then you should have an extra one. Cats should not be expected to share litter trays
  • Make sure the litter trays are in a quiet location away from where they eat
  • Buy one open litter tray and one covered litter tray to find out which type your cat prefers to use
  • Make sure the litter tray is spacious so that your cat doesn't have to step on old eliminations each time they use it. Remove old eliminations daily and give it a thorough clean once a week
  • Most cats prefer litter that is fine-grained, like sand, and that is unscented. However, each cat is an individual and will have their own personal preference, so you may have to try a few different types of litter to find out what they prefer 
  • Each cat will have their own preference in regards to the amount of litter so experiment with different depths of litter, or have one deep end and one shallow end

Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan
Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan
 It's spacious, easy to clean, will prevent litter from being scattered all over the floor, and has a carbon filter to remove odors

Cove Litter Box
It's very modern, spacious, and easy to clean, with integrated cleaning tools and high walls to contain litter. It's probably the most attractive litter box you've ever seen! Treat your cat to this carefully designed litter box


6. Scratching Posts Are Essential 

Scratching is a completely natural behavior. Cats will scratch to mark their territory, stretch and remove old claw sheaths. If you don't want your furniture and/or carpet to be destroyed then you must buy your cat a scratching post. I highly recommend the SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post, since it is tall, sturdy, high-quality, and very reasonably priced. 

SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post
The best scratching post, standing 32 inches tall, which is perfect for stretching, and has a wide, sturdy base, which keeps it stable while your cat is scratching. It is made from natural sisal and is highly durable, so will last for years

Zip Scratching Post 
A very stylish and modern design that will look great in your home. It's 3 feet tall, with a wide base, and is beautifully crafted so will last for years. Treat your cat to the finest post ever made!

For tips on how to stop your cat from scratching your furniture, read my article 'How To Stop Your Cat Scratching the Furniture or Carpet Today!'

For tips on how to encourage your cat to use their scratching post, read my article 'How Do I Get My Cat To Use Their Scratching Post?' 

7. Provide a Variety of Resting Spots 

Get creative. You can even build runways around the perimeter of the room and shelves for your cat to climb on. Your cat should also have a private place where they can rest and not be disturbed when they want some quiet time, as well as soft beds for sleeping, which they spend the majority of their time doing!  

Kip Cushion
Sculpted with a foam core it provides a nest-like comfort that won't lose its shape. It's a joy to watch them snooze and snuggle in their favorite soft, cosy bed

A) Resting Spots That Are Up High

Cats like lookout locations. They like spots where they can spy on the rest of the world and where they feel secure. It's really important to have some resting places up high, such as a tall cat tree, access to the top of the wardrobe, or runways around the perimeter of the room.

Provides high-up resting spots, caves to hide inposts for scratching, mice to play with, and exercise!

B) Resting Spots On The Wall

I think cat shelves are a fantastic idea. Not only do they provide a place for your cat to rest but you can use them as stepping stones for your cat to access places higher up, such as the top of a wardrobe.

Trixe Wall Mount Lounge Set
Makes great use of the vertical space in your home and includes a cave to hide in, a hammock, and 2 steps, which can be used for resting and as a vantage point where they can observe and feel secure

C) Resting Spots By The Window

Window perches make ideal resting places. Not only can your cat have a cozy snooze, but many cats like to have a spot where they can watch what's going on outside and participate in one of their favorite activities, known as bird watching. It's basically their version of TV.

Cat Window Perch by PEFUNY
Easily and securely attaches to glass via large suction cups, providing a high-up area to rest where they feel secure and have a great view! Every cat needs one

D) Resting Spots That Are Warm & Cozy 

Snug radiator beds make warm and dreamy sleeping areas, especially during the winter months.

Bamboo Radiator Bed
 Super warm and cozy making it perfect for colder climates. It's also unique and stylish, making it a great addition to any room

8. YouTube Videos for Cats  

YouTube channels for cats tend to have videos with lots of little critters running across the screen that will have your cat mesmerized and captivated for hours! Just make sure they don't pounce on the TV and knock it over!

9. Clicker Train Your Cat 

Believe it or not, you can train cats to do tricks. It's fun, a great way to spend some bonding time together and as well keep your cat mentally stimulated. The Cat School Clicker Training Kit is high-quality and Julie, who has designed the product, has her own YouTube channel where she will teach you how to teach your cat! 

Cat School Clicker Training Kit
Contains all the tools you need to start training your cat. Clicker training quickly accelerates your cat's learning and you may discover what a genius your cat actually is!


10. Walk Your Cat Outdoors 

If your cat is looking longingly out of the window and you would like to start taking them outdoors, under your supervision, then training them to walk on a comfortable and escape-proof harness, such as the RabbitGoo Leash and Harness setcould be your ideal solution. 

The key to getting them used to being on a leash and harness is to go really slowly! Start with just the harness and get them used to wearing it indoors. Gradually get them used to being on both the harness and leash indoors. Only once they are comfortable walking on the leash and harness indoors should you attempt to go outdoors. 

RabbitGoo Cat Leash & Harness
Comes in a variety of sizes and colors, and is soft, lightweight, breathable, and escape-proof. Many cats quickly get used to wearing the harness and enjoy walks in the garden, the park, or even hikes. Try it, they might just like it!

Cat On A Leash And Harness


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