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The Best Way To Keep An Indoor Cat Happy
February 15, 2024

Our feline friends are very curious beings, who often tend to seek out adventure and love to explore every nook and cranny in their domains. While Fluffy’s inquisitive nature is definitely charming, that sense of adventure can actually pose a risk to her well-being. One of the most effective ways to keep cats safe is by keeping them indoors. In this article, a local Frederick, MD veterinarian shares some helpful tips for caring for an indoor cat and keeping her content, fit, and purring.

Is It A Good Idea To Keep My Cat Inside All The Time?

Absolutely! Fluffy is much safer indoors. We know that many cats thoroughly enjoy the Great Outdoors. Our feline buddies also love taking part in all sorts of outdoor kitty activities, like putting paw prints on freshly washed car windshields, playfully rolling around in driveways, and proudly presenting us with (dead) gifts on our doorsteps.  However, as soon as your cute pet steps outside, she is exposed to many dangers. 

These include:

  • Cars
  • Weather
  • Wild Animals
  • Parasites
  • Chemical Exposure
  • Unsafe Plants
  • Stray Dogs
  • Viruses and Diseases

In general, cats that are allowed out are much more likely to get hurt, lost, stolen, or even killed. They’re also more vulnerable to infections, parasites, and disease.

Your pet isn’t the only one who will be safer. Local wildlife will also benefit. Let’s not forget that Fluffy is, well, a very cute serial killer. Housecats kill billions of small animals every year, mostly birds, reptiles, and rodents. This is very concerning, because in many cases, they’re adding stress to already-strained wildlife populations. Grounding your pet is a small thing you can do to help protect native animals and the ecosystems they both inhabit and support.

What Are the Best Ways to Keep An Indoor Kitty Healthy?

Let’s start with the basics: Kitties need good, age-appropriate food, fresh water, and a comfortable place to sleep, regardless of whether they live indoors or outdoors. 

Proper veterinary care is also crucial.  Fluffy will need regular exams and screenings. We also recommend all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and up-to-date on all vaccines and parasite control. At home, watch for signs of illness and consult your Frederick, MD veterinarians immediately if you notice anything amiss.

How Do I Keep My Indoor Cat Safe And Healthy?

We would prioritize petproofing here. Make sure that any object that could harm your furry little buddy is kept well out of paws’ reach. The list includes small and sharp things, like fishing lures, pens, safety pins, craft kits, and jewelry. Ropes and strings are also dangerous, as are plastic bags and wrappers.

Toxins are another big concern. Poisoning is a major reason for emergency veterinary visits! Many common chemicals and household products are toxic to cats. That list includes drain openers, cleaning agents, paints, pesticides, automotive products, glue, detergents … the list goes on. 

We would also recommend that you keep large appliances closed when not in use, and make sure your windows and screens close securely.

Last but not least, make sure your home only contains safe plants. You can learn more at the ASPCA site here

How Can I Teach My Cat To Stay Indoors?

This is going to be much easier for some cats than others. Many of our feline friends are homebodies, who do not wish to leave their kingdoms and all of the kitty luxuries they contain. In fact, even former strays sometimes lose all desire to go outside. 

That said, some of our feline pals are furry little adventurers. You may have to constantly keep your cat in check if she falls into the latter category.

If your furball is just a kitten, make sure she stays indoors from day one by establishing those ground rules as soon as you bring her home. 

If it’s a bit too late for that, you may have to use a bit of trickery. One way might be to startle Fluffy whenever she sniffs around the door. You don’t want to hurt her or scare her, as that could just make her more determined to escape. You really just want to annoy her a bit, enough to make her think twice. You can try squirting her with water. You can also make a loud noise. Make a loud noise with the bike horn, the phone alarm or a jar of change. You can also bang two pots together. Loud clanging noises are a huge pet peeve for cats! 

We also can’t understate the importance of spaying and neutering. That alone can have a huge impact on your pet’s desire to go out!

Creating a Kitty Palace For Fluffy 

It’s not hard to turn the average home into a kitty luxury palace. Make sure your cat has lots of toys, and take time to play with them every day. Don’t forget to give Fluffy the occasional empty box to conquer!  Your kitty will also appreciate cat furniture, such as cat towers, beds, scratching posts, and window seats.

It’s also important to make sure your furry pal feels loved. Talk to Fluffy, pet her, play with her, and cuddle up with her.

Providing small comforts for your pet can also help keep her motor going. If you can’t get back home before dark, turn on a light and TV for her.

Tips On Bringing The Outside in

To be honest, exploring the outdoors does offer both exercise and stimulation for our feline friends. Giving your cat a safe, secure environment that provides some of those benefits is a great way to give her the best of both worlds. 

The purrfect solution, of course, is a catio or kitty enclosure. You can use a porch, a patio, a spare room, or even a sunny corner. Choose a spot with a good view, preferably one that includes birds and squirrels. 

Next, add a few pet-safe plants for Fluffy to sniff, nibble on, and hide behind. The obvious choice here is catnip, but there are many others that can be used. Many of these can be beneficial for you as well. Wheatgrass, for instance, contains nutrients like riboflavin, vitamin E, and folic acid, which are all beneficial to pets. You can also make smoothies using wheatgrass. Several herbs are safe for our feline friends, including rosemary, basil, lemongrass sage, thyme, mint, dill, and cilantro. You can use them for cooking, and your cat can nibble on them. Want a pop of color? Some safe flowers include zinnias, marigolds, freesias, daisies, orchids, roses, snapdragons, and sunflowers. 

Be sure to avoid lilies: they are extremely toxic to cats. Even nibbling a leaf or drinking the water could poison your pet!

Lastly, consider Fluffy’s safety when setting them up: don’t put a heavy plant on a thin stand that she could knock over onto herself.

Conclusion: Cats are both safer and healthier staying indoors. To keep your indoor kitty happy, provide her with lots of fun toys and scratching posts or boards, so she feels comfortable, happy, and safe. In addition to that, just spend time with Fluffy. 

As your Frederick, MD animal clinic, it is our pleasure to provide great care for your pets. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time if you have any questions.