indoor cat care feature image

Indoor Cat Care

Indoor cat care can often be complex so here is a complete run down of how you can look after your indoor kitty best!

So, you have an indoor cat? or you’re thinking of getting one? Although cats are natural hunters who enjoy being outdoors (when they aren’t sleeping of course), this isn’t always possible and tThere are many reasons to keep a cat indoors such as;

  • Living in flats/apartments
  • Busy roads nearby
  • Health risks/recommendations

If you are able to; it is best (and less disruptive) to decide on indoor or outdoor as a kitten. Although adult cats can be acclimatized to an indoor environment (if handled correctly), those who have been outdoor cats for a long time are more likely to become stressed, anxious or depressed if they are kept in and disrupted in this way.

Benefits of Indoor Cats

Indoor Cat Care
Photo credit: Ctwirler12 via Visualhunt / CC BY

There are some added benefits to keeping your cat indoors, which are predominantly safety related, such as:

  • Reduced risk of environmental poisons
  • Won’t stray/get lost
  • Avoiding traffic accidents
  • No mice (or other) hunting surprises (you are definitely missing out)

BUT be prepared, as an indoor cat is more reliant on you for its environmental needs than an outdoor cat.  Since you are solely responsibly you will have more of a role in it’s life than just feeding and changing the litter tray. In order to keep a happy cat you need to ensure it has everything it needs in its environment (your house), stimulation and further general cat care than a normal outdoor cat.

Indoor Cat Care – Environment

Cat Corner I mean this literally – this is a cat’s home/safe place that they can retreat too if they feel threatened – this is more important for indoor cats because they find it harder to distance themselves from stress in the home (in the way that outdoor cats do). Ensuring a quiet, accessible place (all the time) where your cat can retreat if feeling threatened will help reduce the likelihood of stress, anxiety and related behaviourable problems.  Ideally a place with a “boxed in” feeling with 3 sides covered, where it is warm, quiet and cozy.

Indoor Cat CareScratching post Scratching is a natural behaviour of all cats. Indoor cats need an appropriate place to scratch that isn’t the furniture! For more info on this check out The Truth About Cat Scratching which covers; Cat scratching, types of scratchers, posts, tips and more!.

Litter Tray This will need to be cleaned more frequently than an outdoor cat to ensure bad toileting behaviour doesn’t begin. Keep your litter tray away from the food and water source – cats don’t like to poop where they eat anymore than we do.

Entertainment: Without outside stimulation cats can get bored, so with indoor cats you need to give them forms of entertainment. You can do this by making their environment more exciting by adding perches, towers or adding levels to your house, cats enjoy exploring too so adding new things and changing it up is a great way to keep them amused and exploring.

Indoor Cat Care

Toys

Another way to entertain your cats is by playing with them, you need to make sure toys are stimulating and provide exercise. Games and toys that emulate natural hunting behaviours are usually a favourite or for the piggies you can incorporate their food as an incentive! (making them work a little for it :p) Here are some examples of the toys you can try:

 

Indoor Cat Care
Puzzle Boxes – Photo credit: tehchix0r via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA
Indoor Cat Care - Toys
Feathers – Photo credit: travel oriented via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA
Indoor Cat Care
Mice – Photo credit: snacktime2007 via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA
Indoor Cat Care
Balls or Mice! – Photo credit: jah~ via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

*If you are the creative type, check out the 11 Fun & Frugal DIY Cat Toys you can make yourself!*

Specific Indoor Cat Care

Companions

Cats can get very lonely if they don’t get regular interaction and if you are the only companion and are going to be out a lot during the day you should consider getting two (if space will allow). If you do decide to get two then it is usually best to get them together as kittens to ensure they acclimate and draw their own boundaries naturally and as they grow up together. Older cats that aren’t introduced properly can fight, have behavioural problems and be very unhappy.

Deter neighbouring cats

Try to discourage cats and foxes from your gardens (or around the house if you don’t have one) as your cat cannot go outside to lay its boundaries and warn them off themselves. This can be threatening and stressful to some cats and can make them feel unsafe – which will lead to more behavioural problems.

Neutering

Just because they aren’t going outside doesn’t mean neutering still isn’t a good idea. Tom cats spray around the house and will instinctively try to leave in order to find queens. Queens in heat are messy and very noisy (amongst other things). Aside from both of these neutering can contribute to overall better behaviours and reduces stress and nervousness in cats. I discussed neutering in yesterdays post – aptly titled Neutering Advocacy.

Windows 

I know this sounds silly but make sure you have a good system in the summer for making sure you can get air circulating (for both you and your cat) whilst not risking an escapee. We had an indoor cat that fell out of a fourth story flat because we had the windows open in the summer and assumed he would be safe (there’s a reason curiosity killed the cat) he lost more than one of his lives that day (he walked away without a scratch luckily).

Exercise

Indoor cats are more prone to weight loss and other health issues if they don’t get appropriate exercise. Playing with them (see “Toys for ideas” above) and keeping them amused and moving is a great way to keep a healthy kitty. Sometimes their cute faces end up getting what they want so if you have ended up with a chunky monkey, check out these Weight Loss Tips For Your Fat Cat.

Change

Ensuring indoor cats are well adjusted to the usual changes in routine is key to ensuring your cat doesn’t become anxious. Introducing visitors, changing the routine (e.g. the feeder) and environmental changes (whilst still allowing a “cat corner” to deal with these) is a great way to ensure your cat is appropriately acclimatised and less likely to become stressed in the future if their environment changes drastically e.g. a new baby etc. Additionally cats that are able to deal with environmental changes are less likely to develop behavioural problems relating to stress and anxiety in the future.

Food

Indoor cats are more likely to pile on the pounds and the smaller the house/flat, the more likely they are to put on weight so you have to be careful with the amount of food you provide. Specific food for indoor cats usually provide a balanced meal alternative to the usual food for outdoor cats. Also make sure you pay attention to serving sizes (just like with humans) as it doesn’t take long for the extra snacks to be noticeable around the furry waist. IF you are unsure about food, check out my post: Wet Vs Dry: Which is Best?

Why not check out my Cat Corner Pinterest Board for cat posts on the site or  “Cat Care” Pinterest Board which has more tips for all types of cats from all over the web!

How do you keep your indoor cat amused? let me know in the comments section below or share this post if you like it 🙂

Indoor Cat Care - Tips, tricks and how to look after them in the best way properly!

This post is part of #CatWeek – so why not see what you’ve missed!

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Written by Charlotte

Founder at The Mummy Toolbox

39 Comments

  • […] “Indoor cats don’t need neutering” – False – Indoor cats can be at a higher risk of stress or injury if they are kept in during mating season, especially if there are other cats nearby and will often try to escape at all costs which makes them more likely to get lost or injure themselves because they are not accustomed to going outside. In addition to this, being an indoor cat won’t stop your cat from spraying or scratching the furniture while they are “in season”. For more information on indoor cats check out my Indoor Cat Care post. […]

  • […] last year’s #CatWeek I wrote a post all about indoor cats, their care and the reason you might keep a cat […]

  • Nadia (#)
    July 25th, 2016

    Thank you for a great post!

    We’ve got an indoor car, and have recently put cat shelves up along the entirety of a wall, the highest part being just under the ceiling, and the lowest being low enough that she can get to it from a dresser. It’s really simple IKEA Lack shelves, with felt glued on them, and our cat absolutely loves them. The top one allows her a safe space where she can get away, and the middle one is the perfect height for tossing soft toys on, that she can the push down, for us to throw back up. It’s fast become a favorite spot to sleep in too. We live in a small flat, but the shelves allow her to use vertical space, instead of the limited floor space that we do have.

    Instead of a water bowl, we’ve put a cat water fountain in one of the window still, which seems to be both good for her drinking more, but she quite often enjoy just playing with the water too. (and it means the water isn’t next to her food, which seems to make her drink more too). We’ve cut up an old yoga mat into smaller squares, and put them around the flat, as “cat zones” which she’s promptly accepted as being her spaces (in front of the tv, at the end of our desk, a corner next to the kitchen table), which seems to reduce the stress of living in a small space too.

    We’ve also got multiple cat scratchers, both cardboard, and a wall hung rope one, to save space. Her litterbox is inside a kitchen cabinet, which has a catdoor in the door, so she’s completely undisturbed, despite there being people around her.

    Ofcourse we got a ton of different cat toys too, and play with her a few times a day, but really, jumping up and down the shelves on the wall, seems to be the best entertainment of all.

    Maybe someone living in a small space can use some of this :).

  • Isabelle (#)
    February 29th, 2016

    This is a great resource, thank you! I have two indoor cats, one year old bengals so a very active and curious breed. They are hard work but worth it.

    One of the things we have found that works well is making sure they have a really structured routine for food, play, and bed time. We feed them twice a day, at set times (we feed a raw diet too which is a bit more interesting for them) and they get a good half hour of interactive playtime with either me or my husband every evening, as well as shorter play sessions during the day.

    We have a spot on top of my wardrobe where they can go and hide, and our bedroom is their ‘safe space’. It’s where we kept them for the first few days when we moved into this house, and it’s deliberately kept as an oasis of calm, for their sake and mine! They have two large cat trees, one floor to ceiling, and lots of interactive toys. We are also hoping to build them an outdoor run soon.

    Since we moved house though one of the girls has started to over groom. She’s got bald patches on her legs and belly where she’s literally licked her fur off. We’ve taken her to the vets and there are no underlying issues, she’s just stressed. It seems as though being in a much larger house (we used to live in a tiny one bedroom flat), being able to see other cats from the window
    , and the constant change that is involved in moving into a house that needs a lot of work doing to it has had a big impact on her. We are doing our best to help her of course! I suspect this is a bigger issue in indoor only cats sadly.

    • Charlotte (#)
      February 29th, 2016

      it’s great that you keep them so entertained! I think cats in general are so prone to stress and it is especially the case for indoor cats! the idea of an outdoor run is great though! I would love to see some pictures once it is done ! thanks for commenting x

  • Laura (#)
    February 11th, 2016

    We don’t have cats but my son would absolutely love one and we are thinking of getting one so these tips are fantastic – going to bookmark this post for future reference

    Laura x

  • Louise (#)
    February 10th, 2016

    I’ve never had a cat before so this was really interesting for me to read 🙂

  • Erica Price (#)
    February 7th, 2016

    Ours are outdoor cats in theory at least, but one of them doesn’t go out much in winter and the other only nips out to the loo if it’s cold or wet. Some interesting tips though – I wonder if I should provide a corner for ours although we have a big house with plenty of hiding places.

  • Rachel (#)
    February 7th, 2016

    I have three cats, 2 are in and outdoor cats and my baby is just about to hit 6 months and he is still an indoor and will remain so for a few more months but if he wishes to then go out, he will be able to x

  • Kara (#)
    February 7th, 2016

    I am afraid to say I don’t agree with keeping cats indoors as they are naturally outdoor creatures. My cats barely ever come in the house unless they want food or the weather is horrendous

    • Charlotte (#)
      February 7th, 2016

      Well sometimes it can’t be helped unfortunately although i agree, by nature they should be allowed outdoors 🙂 thanks for commenting

    • Charlotte (#)
      August 2nd, 2016

      I agree in theory, but there are some reasons that cats must be kept indoors, for example disability or chronic illness. Our cats are chronic sufferers of Feline Coronavirus and so cannot be allowed to roam freely outside as they will infect other cats if they leave faeces outside. All my previous cats have been free to roam, but unfortunately it is not possible in all cases.

  • Ickle Pickle (#)
    February 6th, 2016

    Great post – I have had quite a few cats but they all loved the outdoors. I know that sometimes it is better to keep them in. Kaz x

  • Sabrina @ The Mummy Stylist (#)
    February 6th, 2016

    I had no idea there were indoor cats, I’ve learnt something new! That’s scary about the windows in the summer – poor kitty! xx

  • Ana De- Jesus (#)
    February 6th, 2016

    Aw I really wish we could have a cat but I am not allowed! These look great!

  • Anosa (#)
    February 6th, 2016

    These are great tips to consider when deciding what/which cat type you want to keep. I am not big on cats I am more of a dog lover.

  • Grant R (#)
    February 6th, 2016

    I’d also add – be prepared for the mad half hour. Every evening, our elderly cat, Sooty, goes crazy and tears around the house chasing ghosts. It’s like discharging saved up energy before sleeping for the night!

    • Charlotte (#)
      February 6th, 2016

      haha yes I forgot the mad half hour! we have boys that do that ! :p and they are outdoor!

  • Idaintyit (#)
    February 6th, 2016

    Interesting post. I am a dog person myself and am allergic to cats but i sill think they are cute

  • emma white (#)
    February 6th, 2016

    great post Casper is 2 years old and black cat who has never been outside shes an indoor cat

  • You Baby Me Mummy (#)
    February 6th, 2016

    Such an informative post. We have dogs now, but I have had two house cats in the past, more because they hated being outside than anything else x

  • [email protected] (#)
    February 2nd, 2016

    My girls keep asking for another pet such as a cat or a dog..we have two bunnies right now and that’s enough for me, lol. In case I change my mind and we decide for a cat, well, here I got everything I need to know! Thanks Charlotte!

  • […] mentioned in my Indoor Cat Care post that indoor cats were prone to weight gain due to the limitations on the amount of exercise they […]

  • Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault (#)
    November 22nd, 2015

    We have 4 cats – I think Henry would quite happily never go outside if given the choice, which he isn’t, and Firkin, who is an outdoor farm cat spends all his time trying to sneak indoors. However, he is still drawn to the great outdoors and never stays in too long. Fumée is so nervous if she does come in she legs it straight out again and as for Foggy … well he is our wanderer and would never settle indoors. I am not too sure I totally agree with keeping cats indoors at all times but I do understand the reasons some people do it and if they are going to, then this is great advice you give. Many thanks for adding this post to #AnimalTales.

  • chickenruby (#)
    November 19th, 2015

    I’ve never heard of indoor cats, until we moved to Dubai, the local vet is shocked that we let our cat outside what with all the strays and the main road

  • Angela / Only Crumbs Remain (#)
    November 19th, 2015

    Such an interesting read Charlotte. Our boy is an indoor cat. Sadly he needs to be due to an inflammatory bowel disease which means he can’t be served regular cat food (he’s on a special diet and you know how cats can happily find food outside). He spends a lot of time with me and playing games is so much fun with him – not just chasing balls etc but he’s brilliant at playing ‘peepo’ (resulting in me being ‘got’!
    Angela x
    (as a side note I’d recommend indoor cats being provided with more than one litter tray. Our boy has 3 (I know, he’s spoilt!) – not because I’m lazy at cleaning them but because he won’t do a pee and a poo in the same tray!)
    Angela x

    • Charlotte (#)
      November 19th, 2015

      How interesting! I hadn’t considered more than one tray! haha I love the peepo! definitely hunter instincts at work there :p thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Dean of Little Steps (#)
    November 17th, 2015

    If our cat ever comes back home, I’m going to turn her into an indoor cat!

  • Ersatz Expat (#)
    November 17th, 2015

    Oh these are really useful tips thank you. We rescued a little kitten from the streets a few months ago and are adjusting to having a cat in our lives. She is very different to the dogs we have (and have always had).
    She is my darling and loves nothing more than to sit on my knee while the baby enjoys her bottle with the dogs cuddled at my feet. Bliss.
    We have one of the dogs aero transport crates in the house which is her ‘home’ if she wants it. I would love some tips on how to stop her jumping on the ktichen cabinets though – she has just got big and strong enough to do this. She also prefers to scratch leather sofas instead of her scratching post (even when catnipped) which will be fun to explain to the landlord!

  • Jessica Powell (#)
    November 17th, 2015

    This was so interesting – my nan was absolutely terrified of cats, and my mum was uneasy about them, so we never had one growing up and I don’t know much about cat care! I love those cat shelves too, so cute. 🙂 #animaltales

  • Mummyandmonkeys (#)
    November 12th, 2015

    My sister has an indoor cat and it is their baby. It has so many toys and even comes and wakes them up in the morning. They sometimes take her for a walk on a lead but she only likes it for a bit. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

  • […] Indoor Cat Care […]

  • Something Crunchy Mummy (#)
    November 11th, 2015

    Great tips! Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  • A Cornish Mum (#)
    November 11th, 2015

    I have a confession to make….I am really not a cat person at all and would love it if they were all indoor cats 😉 ha (sorry!!) mostly as two of our neighbours have 12 cats between them, and after the tenth time of the children walking cat poo into the house it starts to grate 😉

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix 😉

    Stevie x

    • Charlotte (#)
      November 11th, 2015

      Ha ha oh no! It’s definitely difficult with so many living in one area ! Thanks for commenting ! 🙂

  • Julie S. (#)
    November 7th, 2015

    I’m reading this while snuggling with my baby and cat 🙂
    That toybox thing looks so much fun! I definitely agree with indoor being safer for kitties but they do need their own accommodations.

  • Alicia (#)
    November 6th, 2015

    I thought indoors cat were more likely to gain weight? mine have especially after neutering. Poor little mites have a little apron each.

    Have you got a post for weight loss advice for cats.

    • Charlotte (#)
      November 6th, 2015

      No weight loss advice yet but that’s given me a great post idea! thanks alicia! x

  • Laura's Lovely Blog (#)
    November 6th, 2015

    Very interesting, our cat is such an outdoor cat and I think it would stress him out to stay in he has had the hump with me getting him in early for the fireworks the last couple of nights. So l think it is probably best to do this from a kitten 🙂 #picknmix

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