Want a happy and healthy cat? Try this trainer's two tips to keep your kitty happy indoors

Cat indoors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is your cat an indoor cat? There’s no reason why indoor cats can’t enjoy extremely happy and fulfilling lives without unsupervised access outside, but there are things that parents of indoor cats in particular might want to consider.

While the best interactive cat toys will go a long way in helping to keep your kitty content, there are other important things cats need to have in order to thrive — including lots of love and affection.

With that in mind, Saba Sayyed, or A Cat Behaviourist, as she’s known on Instagram, has outlined two key things that indoor cats need to avoid behavioral issues, so if you do have indoor cats it’s certainly worth taking notes!

1. A playing routine: “Playing with cats every day is very important,” says Sayyed, “As it’s the time they get to hunt. Playing = hunting for cats, and every cat naturally hunts every day to survive.”

Indoor cats won’t get the same opportunities to hunt as outdoor cats, even though their brains are wired the same way with that desire to hunt. Sayyed continues, “If you don’t play with them every day, they will start to show behavior issues like play aggression, attention-seeking behavior, interruptions when you are working, constant meowing for attention.”

2. Higher space: Sayyed explains that cats feel safe when they’re able to sit up high and look around for potential threats. She explains, “That’s what they do in the wild, and providing that to your indoor cats will make them confident and feel safe in your house.”

Sayyed goes on to emphasize that simply giving a cat a house doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll feel safe and happy. What they need are their most basic necessities – as well as food, water, shelter, and somewhere to use the bathroom, they need an outlet for their instinctive behaviors, too. 

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to allow your cat to meet both of the above needs. You don’t need to play with your cat for hours – with work and other commitments, it might not be feasible anyway – but even small amounts of play when you can are able to make a huge difference. Here’s how to entertain indoor cats for some inspiration, too.

Similarly, you don’t have to break the bank to give your cat high spaces. Even just letting your cat have access to things like shelves, ledges, and tables can help. Or, you could go for one of the best cat trees for something that’s exclusively for your kitty.

If your cats are currently indoor cats, but you’d like to give them some more outdoor access going forward, you might find this article useful: How to make the transition from indoor to outdoor cat.

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$49.75 from Chewy
Featuring five scratching posts, two perches, a condo and a ball toy, this ultimate all-in-one cat tree has everything your kitty needs to stay happy and healthy. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.