It’s safe to say that almost all of our indoor feline friends lead carefree lives of luxury.  In our eyes, Fluffy’s typical day consists of hours of “cat napping,” eating anything she can get her paws on, and bathing in the rays of sunshine coming through the nearest window.  In the comfort of your home, your cats don’t have the responsibility of catching their own food and are blissfully unaware of the dangers of the outside world. Little do these spoiled kitties know, the protection and care you provide lets them live much longer lives than free-roaming cats.  Indoor cats can live well into their teens, while feral strays are lucky to reach 10 years old.  Your cat’s life is seemingly perfect and effortless, but the fact of the matter is that all cats have the same instinctive urges.  They want to hunt, explore, and scratch… (and scratch!)

Photo Credit: midnightrook via Compfight cc

Most people don’t let their cats outside under any circumstances, and probably with the best of intentions in mind.  There is much debate about whether or not you should give your cat freedom to roam, and each individual has their own ways of kitty-parenting.  Keeping your cat indoors is the only way to ensure their safety and to prevent any problems with your neighbors.  However, it’s vital to your confined cat’s mental and physical well being to keep them stimulated.  When you bring a cat into your home, it’s your responsibility to offer the resources they need to be happy and healthy.  Aside from the necessities like food and water, the best thing you can give your beloved feline is the excitement they instinctively long for. By observing your cat’s unique needs and personality, you can easily create a very natural setting for him to thrive!

Each cat has their own personality, but every feline needs to engage in activities like running, jumping, hunting, and territorial exploration. Kittens are naturally super energetic and playful, but cats tend to slow down with age. Physical movement boosts the release of serotonin, so exercise is a large part of keeping your cat happy. You can find affordable cat furniture and scratching posts for your kitty to use, and a lot people even build their own. If you don’t have the room for a cat tree, a great idea is to install a system of padded shelves high along your walls to give your cat a change of perspective and a sense of territorial ownership. When it comes to your cat’s need to hunt and kill, the image that comes to mind is not a very pretty one. Luckily, you can easily replicate this activity by regularly using a laser pointer, rolling toys, and even food puzzles.

Photo Credit: electro_n1k via Compfight cc

By catering to your cat’s instinctual needs, you will find that everyone in the household will become much happier!  The most important thing to remember is that your cat doesn’t know that you “own” him, but in fact sees you as a provider, a roommate, and a friend.

Featured Photo Credit:  Tambako the Jaguar via Compfight cc