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Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy and Healthy

Boo McCourt has personal experience caring for her own cats and likes to share tips that might be helpful.

Cleo Louise Devine is a happy, healthy indoor cat.

Cleo Louise Devine is a happy, healthy indoor cat.

Making Your Indoor Cat Happy

Cats are intensely curious about their surroundings, and they are not satisfied until they scope out their whole environment with all their senses. Cats love to chew, and electrical cords, unfortunately, are one of their favorites.

To keep your cat away from this dangerous hazard, an easy solution is to wrap the cords in material specifically made for covering cords. It is cheap and will protect your cat from gnawing on dangerous electric cords. To protect your cat from choking or swallowing something hazardous, inspect those toys that have loose parts very carefully.

You may think a dish doesn't matter. But believe it or not, some cats are finicky about their bowls. Stainless steel bowls are highly recommended. Plastic and ceramic bowls are good, but they can scratch and leave crevices where bacteria can grow inside the bowl. I found dishes with a slight curve or slope on the inside work best if you are using wet food. The curve will help prevent the food from getting stuck on the edges.

Is Your Cat Lazy or Fat?

Did you know an indoor cat can become lazy and seriously overweight if it is not active? Taking a proactive approach to keeping your cat happy and healthy can quite possibly add years to your cat's life. A fat cat does not necessarily mean a healthy cat.

Cats can become dangerously overweight, just like people. Overfeeding your indoor cat can often lead to serious health problems, shortening its life. So the first thing you should do is find the proper amount of food your cat should be eating based on your cat's weight.

Many people leave a dish of dry food out all day; unfortunately, this may encourage your cat to eat more and all the time. Some cats may even continue to eat even when they are not hungry, which can cause digestion issues for your cat. It is estimated for every ten pounds, a cat can be fed 1/4–1/3 cup of dry cat food.

You can break this up into intervals throughout the day so your cat gets the food it needs. One can of wet food a day is also a yummy treat for your cat. Wet food is a great way to keep your cat hydrated as well because of the high water content it contains. Don't forget a fresh bowl of water.


Playing and Scratching

Indoor cats need to play and stay active to help maintain a healthy weight. It is a very important part of their healthy development. Having a few playthings and toys for your cat will keep it busy playing and exercising.

Cats love to climb, jump, and run; there is no doubt about that. Choosing a cat tree or cat house that provides your cat with the opportunity to exercise is important. You will want something that fits into your living space yet is useful for your cat.

It is important to choose something your cat can scratch on, hide in, and, of course, climb and jump on. This will build coordination and give your kitty plenty of exercise. Cardboard boxes are a useful and cheap commodity to have around the house.

Your cats will love playing in them, sleeping in them, and, most of all, they will love scratching on them. Make some different-sized holes, connect a couple of boxes, and you have a cardboard cat house that your cat is sure to love.

Toys Can Help Keep Indoor Cats Engaged and Active

Cats love toys, and almost anything can be turned into a playful cat toy. The more toys a cat has access to, the less likely it is to become sedentary. The following are some great, low-cost toy ideas that are perfect for indoor cats.

Good Toys for Indoor Cats

  • Little felt mice with a bit of catnip inside. My cats get a kick out of these little mice, pouncing and swatting them all over the house. Sprinkle some catnip on the mouse; your cat might perk up a bit after getting a whiff of the scent.
  • Thing on a string. Many cats adore things on a string. You can buy string anywhere. Take some yarn, ball it up, and tie it to the string. There you have a thing on a string. Any soft toy will do.
  • Laser pointers. What about those laser pointers? Cats go wild for that little red or blue light. Your cat can get plenty of exercise chasing that laser around; be safe, and do not point directly at your cat's eyes.
  • A crumpled-up piece of paper. My cat gets excited when I crumple paper; she is ready and waiting for me to throw it so she can pounce on and bring it back for more. And I throw it again and again. This also provides great exercise for your cat.
  • A small sock or piece of material tied in small knots. It's easy enough on their teeth and light enough to bat around.

Cat Info

Cats Need a Lot of Protein

Cats need five times more protein than dogs need. That's because cats use protein for energy when possible. A cat's body is specifically made for consuming more protein than carbohydrates; this is a trademark of a carnivore.

Cats Have an Impressive Population

There are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with 40 of those as recognized breeds.

Cats Are Domestic Carnivores

Domestic cats are carnivores by nature.

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Cats' Meows Can Change Over Time

A kitten's meow starts out with a high-pitched squeak-like sound. Most meows will deepen as they get older.

Tricks and Yumminess

  • You can teach your cat tricks. Your cat might not be as quick to learn as a dog, but they can learn. How about this? Have your cat sit pretty for a treat. It can be done. Use a small stool or a box that your cat can jump onto.
  • Pat the top of the box while saying treaty. Your cat can eventually learn new tricks while getting exercise, food, and love all wrapped into one.
  • Another simple trick is playing fetch. Something as simple as a crumpled-up piece of paper will work just fine. Fling the paper ball a few feet in front of you, not too far, just enough to tease your cat.
  • Use the same routine, throwing the paper further each time. Cats love rewards and love, and some yummy-ness just might give your cat some encouragement to sit, play, and fetch.

Is Your Cat Happy?

So how do you keep your cat happy and healthy? The simplest way is to make your cat feel safe and secure and keep the above-mentioned tips in mind. And you should have a happy and healthy cat to love—one that loves you back.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2014 Boo McCourt


Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on April 19, 2015:

Thank you Kristen, Same as mine. I only have one cat now. She runs up and down the hall and has some kitty furniture to keep her climbing. She likes to hide in the cupboards too.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 06, 2015:

Boo, great hub. I have two senior adult male cats. The only exercise they get is chasing each other down the hallway and wrestling. I do feed them dry food at night and wet food for supper, half a can per cat. Voted up!

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 29, 2014:

I let mine out on the balcony. I make sure to watch the 1 year old, she tends to get excited by whatever decides to fly by. She also likes to sit on the windowsill and watch the activity. I basically live in the woods, so she has lots of critters to watch. I am going to check out ClawClub.

schoolgirlforreal on July 17, 2014:

Thank you for this helpful hub crazybeanrider. I have a new cat now and he is 2 1/2 years old and he's great but I also feel bad that he has to stay indoors. He loves to watch the birds outside. I used to let him on my porch but he tried to get thru to the birdies. Oh well. He seems happy otherwise with his fancy feast, and the laser game we play almost daily, and my company as well. :)

I just joined the ClawClub on fb

Thanks again!


Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on April 30, 2014:

Genna East, FlourishAnyway I thank you for your comments. My cat will get in a paper bag too. Her favorite place right now is my backpack. Genna, my cat loves shoelaces too. She will actually drag the shoe all over playing with the lace. I had small piece of craft cord she bounced around for a good while to. They are precious.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 27, 2014:

I always learn something new and endearing with your hubs. My cat loves shoelaces and is always swiping at them in such a cute way. Thank you for sharing these sage words of advice.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 26, 2014:

Your tips are helpful and your photos are adorable! My cats love paper bags and boxes and an ever changing variety of toys, catnip, scratching posts, and view of well stocked bird and squirrel feeders.

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on April 26, 2014:

I am glad my hub was useful to you Ruth. My sister takes her cat out on leash. I had one years ago that I walked on a leash. I have a kitten who is desperate to go outside too. I am using boxes and a lot of toys to keep her busy. She has a little dog plushy she loves playing fetch with. Early morning as I sit and drink tea, she brings the plushy and plops it at my feet. So I think she has the right idea. Good luck with your kitties, they will be lots of fun.

Ruthbro from USA on April 25, 2014:

I have recently become a cat lady, 3 kittens , 2 of which are desperate to get outside so need lots of ideas to keep them busy. This was perfect.

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on April 25, 2014:

Thank you Ruthbro and Devika. Your comments are appreciated. I guess I am a crazy cat lady. LOL! Even though I only have 2. I am glad you enjoyed the photo's Devika.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 25, 2014:

I don't have a cat but had to stop by to read this interesting hub. You have such lovely photos and do really care for cats. Great tips and sound advice here thank you

Ruthbro from USA on April 24, 2014:

Great hub!

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