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Tips From A Bellaire, TX Veterinarian: Keeping An Indoor Cat Happy 
February 15, 2024

Did you know that one of the best things you can do for your feline buddy is to ground her? Our feline pals can be quite adventurous. Many of them love going outdoors, and taking part in fun kitty activities, such as leaving paw art on your windshield, rolling around in the driveway, and, of course, dropping dead animals on your porch. However, cats are much safer staying indoors. A local Bellaire, TX vet offers some advice on keeping an inside furball happy, healthy, and purring in this article. 

Is It OK To Keep A Cat Indoors All The Time?

Not only is it okay to keep Fluffy inside all the time, it’s actually recommended! Your feline pal is much safer indoors. As soon as your cute pet steps outside, she’s at risk from many different threats. 

These include: 

  • Cars
  • Weather
  • Wild Animals
  • Parasites
  • Chemical Exposure
  • Unsafe Plants
  • Stray Dogs
  • Viruses and Diseases

Kitties that go out are also far more likely to get hurt, lost, stolen, or even killed. 

How Do I Keep My Cat Healthy Indoors?

Whether Fluffy is an indoor cat, an outdoor cat, or allowed to come and go as she pleases, her most basic care needs will be the same. Your feline friend’s care regimen should start with a good, age-appropriate food, fresh water, and comfy shelter. If you’re considering taking your indoor cat on trips outside the safety of home, be sure to read our article on ‘Pet Travel Safety‘ to ensure your feline friend remains secure and comfortable during travels. 

Proper veterinary care is also crucial. We recommend that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept current on vaccines and parasite control. Fluffy will also need to come into your Bellaire, TX animal clinic regularly for exams and screenings. To maintain your cat’s health and prevent common diseases, consider our ‘Veterinary Wellness & Pet Vaccinations’ service, ensuring your pet stays up-to-date with all necessary medical care.

How Do I Keep My Cat Safe At Home?

Petproofing is first and foremost here. Cats are curious, playful, and a bit reckless. This makes for a very cute combination, but that mix can also be deadly. You’ll want to address or secure anything that could be dangerous for your furry pal. That includes many small or sharp objects, such as fishing lures, pens, safety pins, craft kit pieces, and pins. Ropes and strings are also dangerous. Other potential hazards include toxic plants, medicines, chemicals, and plastic bags and ties.

We’d also recommend keeping large appliances closed when not in use, and making sure your windows and screens close securely. Ask your Bellaire, TX veterinarian for more information 

How Do I Get My Cat To Stay In? 

As you may have noticed, our feline pals can be quite determined. You’ll find it much easier to get Fluffy to stay in if she prefers it. Otherwise, you may find yourself constantly trying to corral your feline buddy. 

One of the best things you can do here is start young. If your feline friend is just a kitten, raise her to be an indoor kitty from the start. 

You may need to work a bit of trickery here, and make Fluffy a bit wary of going outdoors. Whenever you catch her sniffing around the door, do something that will startle her. You don’t want to hurt her or scare her: that will only make her more determined to escape. You can try squirting her with water. Making a loud noise may also help. Sound a bike horn, set off an alarm on your phone, rattle a jar of change, or even just clap your hands. 

Don’t Let Your Cat Get Bored

We know, Fluffy loves doing as little as possible. However, even the laziest kitty can’t spend all of her time snoozing. It’s important for cats to have ways to entertain themselves and practice their lioning skills. 

Raise Your Cat As An Indoor Kitty

Kittens who are kept indoors are usually happy to stay there as they grow up. Set down these ground rules from the day you bring your feline friend home. 

Provide The Best Of Both Worlds

It is true that our feline pals benefit from the exercise and stimulation they get from going outside. There is a way to give your kitty the benefits of both: by providing a safe, secure area that offers some of the perks of going outdoors. A catio, of course, is the purrfect option. This can be a screened or enclosed porch or patio, a spare room, or even a sunny corner. You’ll want to add some pet-safe plants for your kitty to explore and nibble at. Catnip is of course the obvious choice, but there are many more to choose from: 

Here are a few good ones: 

  • Wheat Grass Wheat grass is a popular supplement. As it turns out, it’s good for Fluffy, too. Wheat grass contains beneficial vitamins and nutrients such as riboflavin, Vitamin E, and folic acid. Your kitty can safely nibble on some greens, and you’ll have fresh ingredients for smoothies.
  • Herbs Many popular herbs are safe for our feline pals. You’ll get to use them for cooking, and your kitty can munch on them. Rosemary, basil, lemongrass, sage, thyme, mint, dill, and cilantro are all fine. 
  • Flowers Zinnias and marigolds are both safe for cats. African violets are also non-toxic to kitties, and are very easy to grow! Other safe options include asters, Freesia, Gerbera daisies, orchids, roses, snapdragons, and sunflowers. A word of caution: we wouldn’t advise getting lilies. Any lily in the True Lily family is highly toxic to your feline friend. 
  • House Plants Spider plants are very popular houseplants, and with good reason. They’re attractive, and simple to grow. They are also safe for cats, although that doesn’t mean the plant is going to be safe from your cat: many kitties just can’t resist them! Other suitable options include Boston ferns, Prayer plants, ferns, bromeliad plants, cast iron plants, peperomias, and friendship plants.
  • Potted Trees If you want a larger plant, consider getting a rubber tree plant. These are great for bad gardeners: they’re almost impossible to kill. Ponytail palms and money trees are also safe for Fluffy. Areca palms are also fine. 

You can find more information about safe and unsafe plants on the ASPCA site here. Keep in mind that you don’t have to have a catio to display them: these can add a cozy, classy touch to any home. 

Should I Walk My Indoor Cat? 

We can’t give a universal thumbs-up for this. While some bold and adventurous kitties enjoy going for strolls, a more timid kitty may be too frightened of the outdoors to enjoy it. If your furball seems content as an indoor pet, well, just let sleeping kitties lie. Otherwise, you can give it a shot. Ask your veterinarians for training tips. 

How Do I Keep My Kitty Happy Indoors? 

The main thing is to make sure that your furry pal is happy, comfortable, and safe. Provide lots of fun toys, and give Fluffy a good scratching post or board. Cat furniture, such as a cat tower, can also keep that motor going. We’d also suggest offering your kitty a good window seat. 

Aside from that, just spend time with Fluffy. Talk to her, pet her, play with her, and let her snuggle up with you. Making sure your pet feels loved will go a long way towards keeping that motor going. 

Small comforts can also go a long way. If you won’t be home before dark, turn a light and TV on for your kitty before leaving. Ask your vet for more information. 

As your local Bellaire, TX veterinary clinic, we are dedicated to providing great care. Please feel free to contact us anytime!