Modern Medicine, Old-Fashioned Care

May 31, 2013 | Fast Facts

FAST FACTS: Enrichment & Exercise for Indoor Cats

Indoor cats are great pets because their solitary ways and ability to use a litter box make them easy companions. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they don’t need mental stimulation and exercise too. Felines may be domesticated but their instinctive needs should be met for overall wellness.

 Here are some tips for keeping your indoor cat happy and healthy.   

Resting areas – Cats operate on short-bursts of energy versus sustained activity like dogs (and kids). Provide a variety of areas to rest and sleep, especially in elevated areas, like a sunny window, where they feel safe and can watch what’s happening around them.

Interaction and play – Whether it’s playing with a toy or lap time, cats still want your love and attention. A few minutes throughout the day tossing a small toy, sitting quietly with a soft touch behind the ears, or brushing its coat will make your kitty purr happily.

Toys – Cats are natural hunters so toys that provide prey opportunities—like catnip-laced mice, feathers or bugs—are great. Cat trees and scratching posts provide a place of their own to scratch, jump, play and rest safely.  

Outdoor Access – Putting your indoor cat in a screened porch, specially-fenced area or on a collar and leash provide safe outdoor access for fresh air and bird watching.

Training – Despite their aloof attitude, cats are trainable. Learning tricks or agility skills would be great stimulation for an active cat and a patient human. Books and videos are available.

For more information about understanding cat behaviors and providing your indoor cat with enrichment and exercise, check out this website for a link to a presentation by Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD and DACVN with Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.