Cats aren’t inherent villains, of course. They are cute little pets and for so many years have been used as hunting animals to help in controlling mice and rats, which are farm and urban pests. When household cats start preying on snakes and other wildlife, they are only following their natural habit.
Ecologically, the effect of such predation behavior is anything except natural and has led to the wildlife extinctions.
As a species owned by humans around the world and supported by many non-profit organizations, the massive predation by these creatures is caused by the environment they find themselves. It’s entirely our responsibility as owners to prevent this.
One thing we can do as cat owners to help solve this problem is to always keep our cats indoors. Not only is this good for wildlife, but it is also good for our pet cats.
Outdoor kitties face a lot of threats from predators, diseases and cars, and as a result, live for a shorter period when compared to indoor cats. Ensuring that your kitty is always indoors is a win-win for both cats and other wild animals.
Below are simple tips for keeping your indoor kitty healthy and happy:
1. Provide your cat with a pet companion
Most of us spend most of our day at work or school, leaving our pet cats all alone and bored at home. If this is you, then try getting a second pet cat to play the role of a friend and companion.
Having a friend to play and run with can go a very long way in keeping indoor cats stimulated and happy.
There is always a homeless cat out there at your local shelter that needs a home to call his own. Having a feline friend can help in keeping your indoor cat very happy.
2. Add a bird viewing station inside your home
One reason why household cats kill a lot of small mammals and birds is that these animals were also natural prey to their ancestors, a little wild cat breed found in certain parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia known as the wildcat (Felis silvestris).
Even when a pet cat has been well-fed, it still retains the wildcat’s attraction to smaller animals. You can give your cat such an attraction by adding a little bird viewing station inside your home. Just get a cat window perch installed and put up a bird bath or feeder outside the window.
Your kitty will derive so much pleasure from the view while the wildlife will still be safe. Another benefit you will get by placing baths and feeders near the windows is the fact that it will help in reducing bird-window strikes.
3. Allow your kitty to go haunting
Cats are naturally curious animals. If an indoor cat does not have enough action indoors it will become bored and try all it can to go outside. In addition to cat toys, you can assist your cat to exercise its inherent hunting skills by hiding its best treats around your home.
Get treats frozen in ice cubes or use special cat treat toys or puzzles that make your pet cat work hard to get its reward, thereby leaving him with hours of brainstorming.
These enrichment tactics are also used in keeping tigers, lions and other cats in good physical and mental conditions in zoos.
4. Provide your cat with toys to keep it busy
Cats are great athletes and it is very easy for an indoor kitty to go crazy if it cannot work out that energy. The great news is no shortage of good cat toys will help to keep your kitty moving.
Different toys come in forms of rats and birds, battery-powered toys with sound and flashing light, toys that move, laser pointers, toys with strings – all that you need to ensure that your cat pounce and stalks safely even while indoors.
Keep your indoor kitty active and busy with toys.
5. Use Catnip
Catnip is a plant that belongs to the mint family and has natural oil known as nepetalactone which has an interesting effect on most cats. Once inhaled, the oil is interpreted by the cat’s olfactory system as a pheromone.
When cats chew or rub on this plant, it produces a gentle natural high that is both temporary and harmless but is very pleasurable to cats.
Not every cat is affected by the plant, and it does not have any effect on kittens less than six months old, but if your kitty does respond to this plant, it can be a great way to help keep her happy and stimulated while indoors.
Catnip can be given to cats in sachet or dried form to fill special cat toys; it also comes in spray form.You can grow a catnip plant for your kitty. This plant can be grown in a pot placed outside a sunny window.
6. Install a fence
Provide a little porch for your pet cat so she can see the outside of her home. Consider purchasing or building a "catio" or something similar to enable your kitty to go outside without being exposed to risks.
Installing a regular fence may not stop other wildlife from coming into your yard, so always make sure that you are with your kitty whenever you take her outside.
Ensure that your yard is well cat-proofed by checking if the fence has any escape routes and removing all garden chemicals, toxic plants, and other harmful objects.
7. Teach your cat how to walk on a leash
If you reside in a calm neighborhood where you can walk with your cat without encountering loose dogs along the way, then you should get a harness and train your cat on how to walk on a leash.
This training will require a lot of patience and time from you and your cat, and it is much easier when the cat is still young.
Most cats can even be put on a leash and tied to an unmovable object to get an outdoor experience while you are watering your garden nearby (but make sure you don’t leave your pet cat all alone while they’re tethered).
8. Buy a kitty condo for your cat
Buy a kitty condo (ready-made cat tree), or make one yourself. A cat tree can stretch from the floor to the ceiling or maybe shorter.
This tree will provide your cat with a lot of climbing opportunities and, in case you have many cats, it creates more rest and plays areas. If you can, place that kitty condo close to a window to enable your cat to see what's happening outside.
With that in mind, it is a well-known fact that keeping your kitty indoors is easier said than done. As we may already know, turning an outdoor kitty into an indoor pet can be very challenging, even for experienced pet owners and naturalists.
Most people have complained that their indoor kitties end up turning mattresses to their little box and won’t leave until they were allowed to go back outside. Do not panic if you find yourself in this type of situation, always remember that turning your cat into a villain is never the solution!