The average life span for an outdoor cat is 2 to 3 years, while an indoor cat can live for 15 to 20. It seems like a no-brainer to keep cats indoors. Cats are naturally active and like to explore, however, so staying inside can get boring fast if you don't provide the stimulation your cat needs.
Cats are predators, and like any predator in the wild, they have a natural instinct to hunt. Nurture that instinct by providing your cat with toys that she can pounce on and wrestle with. Cats love toys with feathers, ribbons and other dangling items. Cats also love to explore cardboard boxes and chase tinfoil balls around, so don’t think you have to spend a lot of money on toys to keep your cat happy. Like children, cats get bored easily so the key is to create variety by rotating the toys regularly. Make playtime interactive by dedicating at least 15 minutes per day to playing with your kitty.
Cats love to scratch. Although you may think it doesn’t do much more than ruin your couches, scratching serves several purposes. It allows your cat to mark her territory, stretch her muscles and remove broken claws. Keep your cat happy -- and save your furniture -- by setting up several scratching areas for your cat. Scratching posts, cardboard scratching boxes and hanging scratching mats are all good choices. Sprinkle cat nip on scratching areas regularly to attract your cat and keep her interested.
Set Up a Perch
Cats are natural sunbathers. Putting cat perches in a few windows will not only give your cat the opportunity to lie in the sun, but it will also allow her to watch the world from the safety of your home. Set up the perches in windows that overlook trees or active areas in your yard. That way your kitty will be able to watch birds and squirrels at play. You can even put a bird bath or bird feeders outside of windows that have cat perches to increase visual stimulation.
Keep the Litter Box Clean
As you may have noticed, cats are meticulous groomers. Because of their desire to stay clean, they are often turned off by dirty litter boxes. If the litter box is dirty, your kitty may act out and seek relief elsewhere. Keep her litter box clean by scooping it every day, adding new litter when necessary and changing dirty litter regularly. If you have more than one cat, provide more than one litter box.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Lindsay Boyers has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.