Indoor cats enjoy many health benefits, including reduced risk of contracting an infectious disease or parasites or suffering from a traumatic injury. But, they also can experience increased levels of stress and anxiety as a result of being denied some of the behaviors that come naturally to them, like hunting, seeking, and pouncing.

Regular examinations keep your pet healthy. The Harbor View Veterinary Hospital medical team recommends that all pets undergo a complete wellness exam at least once a year. However, the more frequently your pet sees us for exams, the better – routine exams help us identify and treat diseases quickly. We have put together some tips to keep your indoor cat healthy and happy.

To keep indoor cats happy and healthy, here are 5 things every home with an indoor cat should have:

Scratching posts — Cats have an innate need to scratch, and if you don’t provide appropriate scratching options for them, they’ll likely choose your couch. Be sure to have stable and secure scratching posts available wherever your cat seems to like to scratch. If she’s been scratching your favorite chair, place a scratching post next to the chair and spray it with a product like Feliscratch to encourage her to scratch it.

Perches — Cats love elevated perches. They provide a good view of the surrounding environment, which helps the cat feel safe, and they help to keep the cat out of reach of other family members, like children and dogs. Elevated perches also allow the cat to have a “look-out spot” for hunting opportunities and provide a favorite spot for catnaps.

A feeding system that mimics hunting — According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 59 percent of cats are overweight or obese. When we free-feed our cats in bowls, we’re eliminating the cat’s need to hunt and seek its prey, which means it consumes too many calories and spends more time eating and sleeping and less time being active. There are several alternative feeding options to consider, including the Indoor Hunting Feeder, the AIKIOU Thin Cat, and the Catit Design Senses Food Maze.

Litter boxes — While this one might seem like a no-brainer, many cat owners don’t realize that they should have at least one litter box per cat. The litter boxes should be scooped daily and washed weekly to prevent your cats from choosing a cleaner place to do their business, like on your carpet or sofa.

Toys — Toys help to keep cats active, and when cat owners play with their feline friends, the human-animal bond is strengthened. Try wand toys (like the “fishing pole” type), ball toys (which encourage cats to chase), food-dispensing toys (see No. 1 above), or catnip toys.

Questions about your indoor cat’s enrichment? Contact us today!