Whilst it is often a matter of personal choice whether you allow your cat outdoors or not, there can also be circumstances that make it impractical or unsafe to allow your cat outside. This can include if you live in an apartment or near a busy road so even if you have once allowed your cat to go outdoors you may find that you need to transition them from an outdoors to an indoors cat.
Both Noggins and Binkles have been indoor cats for their whole lives. The only exception to this was some supervised garden play on their harnesses and leads when the humans lived in Seychelles and Mauritius. Nowadays, Noggins and Binkles live in an apartment in London so it really isn't possible to let them outside and even if it was, their humans would be worried for their safety on the busy London roads.
Binkles wearing his mint green Vegan Cork Leather Cat Harness and Lead
In this post, we explore how to keep your cat entertained if you do decide, for whatever reason, that being an indoor kitty is best for your furry friend.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or RSPCA for short, say that cats who are able to go outdoors get more opportunities to exhibit natural behaviours such as climbing, exploring, roaming their territory and interacting with other cats in your neighbourhood. This does not mean, however, that it is cruel to keep your cat indoors or that they will be bored. It just means that you need to put some thought into how you might be able to replicate in your home some of the things that your cat would be able to do if he or she was able to go outdoors. Of course there will be some things that you cannot replicate at home so you need to be a little bit creative and focus on ensuring that your cat is kept entertained and gets enough exercise.
There are a few natural behaviours that we think it is easy to replicate at home to give your cat an experience as similar as possible to being outdoors.
If your cat was spending time outside, they would display a number of natural behaviours such as hunting and climbing trees. All of this provides exercise to your cat to keep them fit and healthy. There are a few things that you can do to replicate this at home. Both Noggins and Binkles enjoy playing with toys and the humans play with them regularly to keep them entertained and to help keep off the belly fat!
Our interactive cat teaser toys, which are made from strong sustainably sourced pine that is certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, or PEFC for short, are a great way for you to spend quality time with your furry friend. Noggins and Binkles absolutely love chasing after the hard-wearing luxury cotton canvas upholstery fabric fish getting much needed exercise and stimulation in the process.
Our interactive Cat Teaser Wand Toy With Blue Fish & Solid Wood Stick
Another option is our vegan felt cat toy which is made from recycled plastic bottles and includes a generous dose of organic catnip. Noggins in particular goes wild for these toys, which are available as a prawn, cloud and lightning bolt.
Our fun and funky Organic Catnip Recycled Vegan Felt Lightning Bolt Cat Toy
For a cat, there is nothing quite like running around the house chasing a ball. Our range of natural cork balls are the perfect option for eco-conscious kitty parents looking for an alternative to the commonly available plastic cat ball for their furry friends. Boasting anti-bacterial properties and being completely bio-degradable, our range of eco friendly cork cat balls come in a set of three natural, leopard print or stripes and spots designs and provide endless hours of interactive fun play for kitties.
Our interactive Cork Cat Ball Toys in Leopard Print Design
Of course you can always get creative and reuse and recycle items you may have in the house, such as the cardboard tube from the inside of a toilet roll and empty boxes. Binkles spent a whole year when he was a kitten unravelling toilet roll in the bathroom, and although he has luckily stopped doing that now, he still loves to play with the cardboard tubes! As for boxes, we have a Friday night box pawty every week, if you like to see cats in boxes head over to our Facebook or Instagram to see the photos each week! We find that even if we use the same box as the week before, just positioning it in a new place suddenly makes it even more interesting to Noggins and Binkles and they both have to jump straight in! We have written about why cats like boxes so much here.
Noggins enjoying his Friday night box pawty in his Yellow Vegan Cork Leather Breakaway Safety Cat Collar
2) Climbing Trees
Cats love climbing and, for an outdoor cat, a tree provides the perfect opportunity to do this. Instinctively, cats like to climb because it gives them a sense of safety from predators that they may have encountered in the wild. Even if your kitty is not able to go outside, it is very likely that they will look for things around the home to climb to satisfy these instincts. In our experience, it is better to try and provide something specifically for your cat to climb to avoid them clambering around shelves that may be adorned with all of your favourite trinkets and family photographs. A cat tree provides the perfect environment for your cat to climb in safety and cat trees can be found in many shapes, sizes and designs to suit most homes and budgets. Noggins and Binkles love to stare out of the window from the top of the full height cat tree that their humans made and installed in one corner of the room. In addition to providing a sense of safety and security, it also provides a different dimension for play because they need to climb and jump to get to the top of it. A cat tree also provides a secure place for a little nap.
Binkles enjoying the view from his cat tree with sisal posts
If possible, we recommend a cat tree that has sisal poles so that your cat learns to sharpen his or her claws on the cat tree rather than on your prized furniture. See more about scratching in the next section of this post.
Most cat owners will be familiar with scratched carpets and furniture. It’s just part of being a kitty parent and something we have to accept. The Humane Society of the United States says that cats scratch for various reasons including to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, to mark their territory and to stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws.
Given that scratching is natural behaviour, you should not seek to stop your cat from scratching or to punish them for doing so. However, there are things that you can do to at least try to protect your home from sharp claws! The most obvious thing to do is to provide things that are particularly attractive to your cat's natural instinct to scratch. In addition to having a cat tree that incorporates sisal scratching posts, a wide range of cardboard scratchers of varying sizes are available. In our experience it is best to have a few different scratchers in place around your home and to encourage your cats to use these rather than the furniture where possible. Noggins and Binkles have got a large cardboard tunnel scratcher which allows them to combine their desire to scratch with their love for getting into small dark spaces! They also have some floor scratchers which can be loaded with catnip or a ball with a bell in it to provide additional stimulation when scratching.
Binkles having a little upside down scratch in his cardboard cat scratcher tunnel
4) Cat Safe Plants & Cat Grass
Because Noggins & Binkles have previously had access to a garden on their harnesses, it was important for the humans to create an urban jungle for them living in a London apartment with no garden access. Even if your cat has never been outdoors, providing cat safe plants and cat grass can really entertain your kitty and cat grass can have other benefits too. We have previously written about our favourite selection of indoor cat safe plants and the benefits of cat grass here.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to keeping an indoor cat entertained and happy and each cat will have a different temperament and a different desire to be active. Let's not forget that cats spend an awfully large part of the day asleep and this is completely normal. Your vet will be able to advise you on the optimal weight and exercise regime for your cat and you can then make sure that you have the right accessories available for your indoor cat to keep them fit, healthy and happy, even if they can't get into the great outdoors.