This post was brought to you by the makers of Fancy Feast. I received compensation to write this #WaysToWow post through the Fancy Feast Broths with Chicken program, but all opinions expressed here are my own.
The moment I moved out of the college dorms, I started searching rescue groups to adopt a cat. Less than a week later, Pandora – eventually shortened to Panda and sometimes Pandar the Thunder Cat – came home to my crazy, eight person house. I knew eventually I would be moving to a busy city, so I decided from the beginning to not let her go outdoors, and that decision was only reinforced by the fact she’s not exactly the brightest crayon in the box.
Still, in our bustling house there was never a shortage of activity or a warm lap to sit on. She was always an extremely social cat, which is why now that I’ve moved to a quieter house that’s mostly empty during the day, she’s developed some crazy, neurotic tendencies. I know this isn’t often said of a cat, but I’ve come to suspect that she truly has separation anxiety when left alone. And that’s why over the last year, I’ve become dedicated to making sure Panda has a happy and healthy life. Here are my tips for not just taking care of but really wow-ing your cat:
1. Make sure they have lots of spaces that are all “theirs”
Panda has her favorite spots – her two cat trees, her special side of the sofa and of the bed, and Reg’s comfortable desk chair (sometimes she’s determined to sit there even when he’s in it!). When Panda was stressed about Ru joining our home, the #1 thing the vet said I could do for her was make sure she had lots of places to feel safe and secure.
2. Set up perches by windows so they can watch nature
When she’s not sleeping, you can usually find Panda sitting by her three favorite windows or even out on the enclosed back deck so she can look out on the street below. We jokingly call this her “kitty television,” but looking out at the birds, passing people, and other outdoor activity provides some much needed entertainment for indoor kitties.
3. Find a toy that really wows your cat by trying a variety to determine their preferences
I always said that my cat Panda just wasn’t interested in playing, but after stubborn determination, I was really surprised to find out that she likes wobbly floor toys that she can ambush and attack on her own time far more than a string or a wind-up mouse. Material matters too – try toys that make crinkle sounds, that are made from leather, that have springs, and that are filled with catnip.
4. Chip, ID, and vaccinate them, even if they stay inside
It’s not unusual for an indoor cat to decide she’s a bit too curious about exploring outside. These kitties are that are unused to the outside world are far more likely to get seriously injured or even lost while outdoors. That’s why it’s important to make sure you can be easily contacted should your furball decide to make a bolt for it.
5. Pay close attention to signs of anxiety and be proactive about combating them
You may think that your indoor kitty doesn’t have much to worry about, but you’d be wrong. Whether concerns about moving furniture, irregular meal times, or just plain old separation anxiety like Panda, that have lots of problems that upset them! Look for signs of distress like obsessive licking and urinating outside the litter box, then be proactive with tools like Feliway diffusers or Thundershirts to combat them (after a trip to the vet for a check-up of course).
6. Clean their litter box regularly and scatter multiple ones around the house
As we learned from the above anxiety issues, Panda is more than a little neurotic. Although staying indoors keeps her safe on our busy city street, it doesn’t help with her obsessiveness. Keeping the litter box super clean is essential, since cats can be very distraught by dirtiness, and make sure there’s a few around so she doesn’t need to march across the house to use it.
7. Feed them quality ingredients that they really love
For indoor cats who get little physical activity, real, recognizable food ingredients are essential, just like the ones in Fancy Feast Broths. And since Panda’s weight is a real issue like many indoor cats, the perfectly proportioned, ready-to-pour pouches helps guarantee she’s not getting extra helpings. Plus, since meal time is without question Panda’s favorite time, I like the fact that I can give her a food she’s really excited about – the broth disappears in just about 2 seconds!
How do you keep your kitties happy, despite keeping them indoors?