How you can activate your indoor cat

Cats are basically active animals that need to be activated to feel good. An outdoor cat that can go out when it wants to has the opportunity to both move around and activate itself more freely than an indoor cat. For a cat to thrive indoors, their home environment needs to be stimulating and enrich their natural behaviours. For example, an indoor cat does not have an outlet for their natural predatory instincts, so they are more dependent on their owners for activation.

At home, a cat needs:

  • Raised beds and seats

  • Opportunities to scratch, for example on a scratching post - like this one

  • Places to hide when it wants to be left alone

A cat that does not have its natural instincts stimulated is at risk of being understimulated. A cat that is under-stimulated may often be more hungry and demand food if they are not stimulated in other ways. Under-stimulation may therefore be a risk factor for obesity. Making sure your cat gets to do things and move around on a daily basis can be positive for their mental wellbeing but can also prevent obesity. Sub-stimulation can also be a risk factor for stress. Signs that a cat may be stressed include urinating in the wrong place, yowling and washing a lot. Remember that these signs can also be symptoms of various medical conditions.

So for your indoor cat in particular to feel good, it needs to be activated in the home, but activating your indoor cat requires a bit of imagination! In fact, there are lots of fun things you can do with your cat. You can make your cat work a little for its food or treats by buying an activation toy where the cat needs to use both its body and brain to get the food out. Lassie cat parents recommend this one.

Other examples of activation for indoor cats:

  • Playing with your cat, this can also strengthen the bond between you

  • Let the cat chase laser pointers

  • Take the cat for a walk in a harness

Does your cat have a plethora of toys at home that they are no longer interested in? You can solve this by keeping only a few of your cat's toys out at a time. Then replace these after a few weeks with some of the other toys.

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