If you are an overprotective cat parent, you may tend to keep your cat indoors all the time. To you, it is the best thing to do to safeguard your cat from any kind of danger. You may also decide to keep your cat indoors due to illness or lifestyle constraints (i.e. you are living on the ninth floor of a high-rise building). However, you may also feel guilty since you are keeping your kitty exclusively inside your home.
Is it cruel to keep a cat indoors all the time?
No, it is not cruel to keep a cat indoors all the time. However, you should also try to make sure that your indoor cat gets to experience the outdoors safely once in a while. Indoor cats are happy and comfortable being inside the home, particularly if they have been used to the setup since kittenhood.
There are many benefits of keeping your cat at home since she is less likely to get lost, hit by a car, or attacked by other cats or dogs. Being an indoor cat also reduces the disturbance caused to neighbors and the impact of hunting. Indoor felines are also less likely to contract parasites and diseases, like the feline immunodeficiency virus.
Ways to keep your indoor cat happy
You can keep your indoor cat happy, stimulated and active by following these helpful tips from the experts:
1. Encourage your cat to be physically active.
Outdoor cats spend most of their days climbing on trees and hunting for prey. Indoor cats do not get to experience this and get less exercise compared to their outdoor counterparts. To keep your house cat physically active and stimulated, play with her for at least 15 to 20 minutes twice daily.
Encourage your cat to participate in games that involve chasing, running, and pouncing. Keeping your indoor cat active also ensures that she won’t become overweight.
2. Provide her with the right equipment.
Cats are natural predators that hunt for prey. Iit is instinctive for them to climb, jump, and scratch. Keep your indoor cat healthy and happy by providing her with the equipment that will allow her to practice and enjoy such activities. These include a scratching post, a cat perch, and a cat tree. You can also provide your cat with interactive toys to keep her stimulated so she won’t get bored.
3. Create a stimulating environment for your cat.
Keep your indoor cat happy, comfortable and content by helping her to stay active and mentally stimulated. A cat perch near the window will allow her to observe and watch the birds outside. You can also let her watch some cat videos on your laptop. You can teach her tricks and train her so your cat stays mentally sharp and agile.
4. Let your cat experience the outdoors safely.
Encourage your indoor cat to experience the outdoors every once in a while. Outdoor enclosures are a safe way to let her explore your front yard. You can also install a catio where she can lounge, climb, and run about without doing any harm to other wildlife.
Letting your cat enjoy the scenery outside or walking to a nearby park is doable by putting her on a leash. However, you need to train her so she gets used to having a leash around her neck before you take her for a stroll outside your home.
5. Feed your cat with specially-formulated indoor cat food.
Indoor cats have slightly different energy requirements than outdoor ones. They are also more likely to have hairballs since they tend to have more time for self-grooming. Specially-formulated indoor cat food has the right balance of nutrients for your indoor cat’s needs. It also contains fiber to provide relief for hairballs.
Pros and cons of having an indoor cat
- There is a reduced risk of your cat getting hit by cars, being stolen, being poisoned by toxic chemicals or plants, or getting into fights with other cats and animals.
- An indoor cat is less likely to contract parasites and infectious diseases.
- It won’t be able to hunt and bring home dead rats, mice or birds.
- An indoor cat may become bored.
- It may experience increased stress and anxiety.
- It may have an increased sensitivity to changes in its environment.
- Your indoor cat needs to have adequate exercise to avoid becoming overweight or obese.
Do indoor cats get depressed?
Yes, some indoor cats tend to get depressed, but most indoor cats are happy and content just staying inside the home. Cats that were used to being indoors when they were kittens are also less likely to feel bored, sad, or depressed.
These are the signs of a depressed cat:
- loss of interest in food
- a prolonged period of hiding
- increased or lack of energy
- becoming aggressive
- sleeping more often
If your indoor cat is manifesting these signs, consult your vet so he can do a thorough evaluation of your cat’s condition. He will evaluate if the behavior could be sickness-related and will look for signs like weight change, pain, and dilated pupils. Your vet may also have to run some laboratory tests for a more in-depth evaluation and analysis.
Is it cruel to keep a cat indoors at night?
No, it is not cruel to keep a cat indoors at night. Cat experts recommend that cat owners do keep their cats indoors at night since there are more risks of traffic fatalities during nighttime. Your cat is also more prone to an attack by feral cats or stray dogs at night. There have even been reports of cats that have been killed by humans during the night since they were spotted outside or in the streets.
Cat parents only want the best for their furry babies. It is not cruel to keep your cat indoors all the time because it will keep her safe and away from harm. However, it is your responsibility to keep your indoor cat happy and healthy by providing her with stimulating toys and activities. Allow her to enjoy the outdoors safely once in a while. Most importantly, let her practice her instinctive activities like hunting and scratching by providing equipment like a cat tree and a scratching post.
Image: istockphoto.com / kaorinne