How to keep your indoor cat healthy and active?

Brown tabby kitten standing against glass window
Your indoor cat's physical and mental health, as well as their general enjoyment, depends on you keeping them active and healthy. Read on to learn how to save your pet from a number of health problems, promote healthy habits, deepen your relationship with them, and improve their quality of life.

Balanced Diet

Cat with Food

For indoor cats to be healthy and happy, their diet must be well-balanced. Since indoor cats are generally less active than outdoor cats, their diets should be designed to provide them with all the nutrients they need without making them obese.

Cats are obligate carnivores and they must eat a diet heavy in animal protein. Seek for cat food that has high-quality protein sources like fish, poultry, or turkey as the first ingredient. In addition to aiding in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, fats are an essential source of energy. Make sure the diet contains good fats that support the health of the skin and coat, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Cats also use carbs as a source of energy, even though they don't require many, hence add to cat diet food made from high-quality materials such as sweet potatoes or rice that has a low to moderate carbohydrate level. Cat food should contain nutrients that are necessary for them, such as taurine (an important amino acid) and vitamins A, D, E, and B complex, in addition to calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

While dry food is practical and aids in dental hygiene, make sure it is of a good calibre and has a well-balanced nutritional composition. Fibre is sometimes included in indoor cat recipes to aid with weight control and hairballs. Cats' urinary tract health depends on them staying hydrated, which is something that wet food's higher moisture content helps with. Wet food has a higher protein content and may be more pleasant. Homemade and raw diets can be helpful, but they must be properly prepared and balanced to provide all of a cat's nutritional requirements. For advice on feeding raw or homemade meals, speak with a veterinarian or a pet nutrition specialist.

Cats love routine. Feed your cat twice or three small meals a day, at the same times every day. Using the measurements on the container as a guide, modify the amount of food your cat eats based on its age, weight, and activity level. Steer clear of free-feeding to avoid obesity and overeating. Make sure your cat always has access to clean water. A cat water fountain could be a good way to encourage drinking.

The nutritional requirements of adult cats, geriatric cats, and kittens vary. Select a food that is appropriate for the stage of life that your cat is at. See your veterinarian about a customized diet if your cat suffers from any particular health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or allergies. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your cat's daily caloric intake. Choose sweets that are low in calories and nutritious instead of ones that contain artificial ingredients.

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Exercise and Playtime

Tabby Kittens on Floral Comforter

To keep your indoor cat in good physical and mental health, they need to get adequate activity.

Keeping your cat active can be achieved through interactive plays. To replicate the movements of birds or small prey, use feather wands or teaser toys. To encourage your cat to hunt, move the toy unpredictably.

Laser pointers - cats who use them to pursue the illusive red dot can get a great workout. To prevent frustration, make sure your cat has a tangible toy at the end of the play session. Ribbon and cat dancer toys are also excellent exercise tools that simulate the movements of insects. Your cat can jump on them if you drag them around the floor or hang them in the air.

Cats can also play alone; great for solo play, lightweight balls that your cat can pursue and whack about are a great idea. To keep your cat interested, think about getting balls that make noise or have bells on them. Treat dispensers and puzzle feeders - as your cat tries to extract the treats, these toys not only stimulate their minds but also promote exercise. Electronic toys - your cat can stay active and entertained even when you're not home with automated toys that move or create noises.

Place your cat's favourite toys or goodies in hiding places throughout the house. This motivates kids to explore their surroundings and use their senses. Throughout the home, leave open boxes or paper bags. These can result in playful ambushes and pouncing because cats love to investigate and hide in them. Add toys made of silvervine or catnip to stimulate the senses. While some cats do not react well to catnip, many do benefit from silvervine benefits. To keep your cat interested and involved, give them toys and other items with different textures and smells.

Set aside specified periods of time for interactive play every day. Playdates guarantee that cats receive regular exercise, which is ideal for their routine-loving nature. To simulate the natural hunting-feeding cycle, engage in playtime with your cat before feeding time. This can help them control their weight and make mealtimes more fulfilling. By routinely switching up your cat's toys, you can keep things exciting. To keep them from getting bored, add new toys or rearrange the ones that are already there.

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Environmental Enrichment

Cute cat resting on tower near wall

Maintaining healthy, content, and mentally engaged indoor cats requires environmental enrichment. It entails offering a range of items and activities that promote instinctive actions like scrabbling, climbing, hunting, and exploring.

Multi-level cat trees and condos promote perching, jumping, and climbing. They also offer comfortable places to relax and scratching posts. Give your cat some vertical area to explore by installing window perches or cat shelves. Cats adore tall places, and climbing is a great way to gain muscle. To promote flexibility and exercise, provide a variety of scratching posts and pads throughout your house and arrange them in various places to promote scratching. Give your cat access to both vertical and horizontal scratching surfaces based on their preferences. They can be entertained by a variety of textures (carpet, cardboard, sisal).

Place different blankets and beds in different parts of your house. Cats like warm, safe spaces that are comfortable for them. You can place a bed or perch even next to a window so your cat may observe wildlife such as squirrels and birds. Cats do adore hiding and exploring in tunnels and boxes. Tunnels and various-sized cardboard boxes can offer limitless amusement and cosiness.

To provide your cat with a safe outside experience, consider creating a catio or other enclosed outdoor environment. This can incorporate plantings, climbing frames, and secure rest spots. Teach your feline to walk with a leash and harness. This lets them safely explore the outdoors while you keep an eye on them.

Bring indoor plants that are safe for cats, such as spider plants or cat grass. Make sure no plants and flowers in the house are poisonous to cats.

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Regular Veterinary Care

Cat at the Veterinarian

For indoor cats to maintain good health, identify possible problems early, and effectively treat any existing disorders, regular veterinary care is vital.

Veterinarians can monitor your cat's general health and identify any issues before they become serious with routine check-ups. This covers standard dental and physical examinations as well as blood tests. Indoor cats still require basic immunizations to protect them against common and potentially fatal infections including feline distemper, calicivirus, and rabies, even if they are not as exposed to infectious diseases.

Even indoor cats can become infected with parasites such as intestinal worms, fleas, and ticks, particularly if they socialize with other animals or if their clothing or shoes harbour parasites. Frequent trips to the vet guarantee that they receive the right preventive care. Cats frequently get dental disease, which, if left untreated, can cause major health problems, hence frequent cleanings and examinations of the teeth can stop gingivitis, plaque accumulation, and other dental issues.

Knowing that your cat is healthy and that any potential health issues are being swiftly treated gives you peace of mind when it comes to regular vet appointments. By doing this, future crises and unforeseen medical expenses may be avoided. Regularly seeing the vet helps cats enjoy longer, healthier lives. Longevity can be enhanced by early disease detection, effective chronic condition management, and preventive care.

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Behavioural Observation

Content woman with cat at home

To understand the health and well-being of your indoor cat, behavioural monitoring is essential. You can identify early indicators of health problems, stress, or environmental unhappiness by keeping an eye on their behaviour.

An abrupt rise or fall in appetite may be a sign of systemic diseases, gastrointestinal ailments, or dental problems. Drinking more or less water can indicate the presence of diseases including kidney disease, diabetes, or UTIs.

Keep an eye on your cat's frequency of litter box usage and the quality of their faeces. Changes in urine patterns, constipation, or diarrhoea may indicate health problems. If your cat begins to avoid the litter box, there may be a medical condition that has to be addressed or there may be an issue with the position or cleanliness of the box.

Excessive grooming may indicate skin issues, allergies, or stress. Check for discomfort or areas of baldness. Your cat may quit grooming because of pain, arthritis, disease, or fat.

Signs of health or behavioural problems can include a usually active cat becoming lethargic or a normally quiet cat becoming hyperactive. Anxiety, pain, or a need for further environmental enrichment can all be indicated by increased restlessness or pacing.

Your cat may be indicating stress, health issues, or environmental changes if they are becoming less loving with you or other pets. It may indicate illness, stress, or terror if your cat begins to hide more than normal. Record your cat's behaviour in a journal, highlighting any trends or changes. This can assist you and your veterinarian in seeing possible issues early on. Frequent examinations by veterinarians are necessary and talk to your veterinarian about any changes in behaviour; they can offer advice and suggest suitable measures.

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Hygiene and Cleanliness

White Cat Lying on the Ground

Your indoor cat's health and well-being depend on you keeping them clean and well-hygienic.

Maintaining a litter box is crucial. To get rid of waste, scoop the litter box at least once or twice a day. This keeps odours from building up and motivates your cat to use the litter box on a regular basis. Once a week, thoroughly replace the litter and wash the box with a little soap and water. Strong-smelling cleansers should be avoided as they may discourage your cat from using the litter box. Provide at least one litter box per cat, plus one extra. Place them in quiet, accessible locations. Use a litter that your cat prefers, some cats have preferences for certain types of litter, such as clumping, non-clumping, or silica gel.

Keep your cat's hangout locations clean on a regular basis. To get rid of dust, fur, and dander, vacuum carpets, wash bedding, and clean surfaces.

To avoid bacterial growth, wash food and water bowls on a regular basis. Instead of using plastic bowls, choose ones made of stainless steel or ceramic, which are easier to clean and less prone to house bacteria. Regularly clean your cat's toys and enrichment materials. While rubber or plastic toys can be cleaned with a little soap and water, soft toys are frequently best cleaned in a washing machine.

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