Keeping Your Cat Entertained and Stimulated
Did you know that the average lifespan of an indoor-only cat is 10 years longer than an outdoor cat?
An outdoor cat encounters daily dangers. They risk getting hit by a car, fighting with other cats, being poisoned or harmed, being attacked by roaming dogs, getting lost, contracting diseases such as FIV, or being dumped by disgruntled neighbours. They also pose a significant risk to our precious Australian wildlife due to their natural hunting behaviour.
However, cats can live a happy, safe, and stimulating life indoors. Campbelltown City Council are committed to promoting responsible cat ownership through programs such Keeping Cats Safe At Home.
Keeping Cats Safe At Home
Keeping Cats Safe At Home is an exciting four-year behaviour change project in conjunction with the RSPCA NSW. The project aims to improve care for pet cats through responsible cat ownership and to protect wildlife from cat predation.
Campbelltown City Council has been selected as one of 11 local Councils across NSW and are currently consulting with local stakeholders including veterinarians, wildlife organisations, animals' welfare organisations and the general community.
We hope to keep cats safe from harm, especially from car accidents, disease, and attacks from other animals as well as to prevent predation of native wildlife, by encouraging pet owners to keep cats within the boundaries of their property.
More updates regarding this project to be announced.
Check out our simple tips below for how to keep your indoor cat content and stimulated.
There are a wide variety of cat toys on the market that will keep your cat happy for hours:
- Jingle balls
- Ping pong balls
- Catnip stuffed toys
- Teasers and pull along toys
- Play tunnels
- Scratching poles
- Home made toys such as toilet paper rolls and scrunched up paper
Spend time with your cat
Nothing beats spending quality time with your cat. Every cat has a different personality. Not all cats like to be picked up, and some become over-stimulated easily.
Most cats love to bond through playtime, as well as through grooming and even conversation. Learn to 'read' what your cat is telling you, and become familiar with their non- verbal communication skills.
Cats need to scratch in order to keep their claws healthy. Provide your cat with a scratch post, or a few, to save your furniture! There is a huge selection available, some are multi-level with elevated hiding places or cat activity centres attached.
Place scratch posts in the main areas of the house where your cat frequently passes. A scratch post tucked away in a corner will seldom be used.
For many cats the best way to keep them entertained indoors is by getting a second cat, or by adopting more than one cat in the first place. This will ensure your cat is never lonely and always has a playmate. Do keep in mind though that some cats prefer to be on their own.
Try a treat ball - your cat will spend time working out how to get the treats. You can avoid overfeeding by putting some of your cat's regular biscuit allowance in the treat ball. You can make your own food puzzles.
Provide your cat with some potted cat grass, catnip or cat mint. These can be grown inexpensively from seed, or start with young already established plants from your local nursery. Cats will naturally chew on the foliage as a way to aid their digestion. Keep one pot outdoors and one indoors, then rotate them as your cat munches up the indoor one.
Install a window seat or place a scratch post or piece of furniture under a window so the cat can look out. Cats like to sun themselves in the window, but do be careful if you have a light coloured cat as they can get sunburnt even through glass. This behaviour keeps them entertained and highly stimulated.
An outside run
Veranda or balcony cat-nets are a simple and highly effective choice when installed from floor to rooftop. A range of netting products is available, and you can build or purchase a specially-designed cat enclosure for your yard. You can have free standing enclosures, or ones that attach to the house. These enclosures allow your cat to experience the outdoors without the danger. There are many suppliers around such as:
Walk your cat
Cat harnesses are available for cats of all sizes. These fit around your cat's body and attach to a lead that lets you walk your cat safely outside. Keep in mind you should never attach a lead to a collar as you would with a dog, as a cat's throat is very sensitive and will be harmed by tugging on the collar.
Please note that only particularly relaxed and outgoing cats may be trained to successfully walk with a harness and a lead, and only in an appropriate outdoor environment. Many cat personalities are simply NOT suited to this training.
Remember that your cat depends on you for security and protection.
Clean the litter tray
Cats are very clean animals with a very good sense of smell, so ensure that solid waste is removed from your cat's litter tray daily. Always keep the litter tray in a low traffic area.
Cats, just like humans, would prefer to go to the toilet in private. Ensure the tray is the right size for your cat. Your cat should be able to turn around comfortably inside the tray and there should be enough space around the tray for your cat to have head room outside without bumping surrounding furniture. Litter trays should be equal to the number of cats in the home plus one extra tray.
You might prefer litter trays with hoods to help minimise odours.
Signs of stress can include over-grooming and inappropriate toileting, aggression or withdrawal. However, these can also be indicators of serious illness so it is very important to contact your vet if you ever see signs of changed behaviour in your cat.
Maintenance of routines is important for cats so try to keep a regular schedule. Also, be mindful that your cat sees your home as their territory. Vacuum cat bedding regularly and hang it in sunlight but don't wash it too often - its familiar scent comforts your cat.