keeping cats indoors.
Currently there is no definitive knowledge regarding whether being an indoor-only cat is any better or worse than being one who has access to the outdoors. It is important to make sure that you are meeting all of your cat's needs whether they are an indoor cat or not. However, compared to cats who have the freedom to go outside, indoor-only cats will have additional needs that must be met to keep them healthy and happy.
Cats can adapt well to an indoor life if they are kept in this environment from an early age, but cats that have been used to going outside may find it more difficult to adapt. We would not recommend keeping a cat that is used to going outside, as an ‘indoor-only cat’, unless it is for health reasons. If you rehome a kitten and intend to keep it indoors, you could consider adopting a sibling-pair so that they can keep each other company.
For an active animal like the cat, an indoor environment can become predictable and boring, and can lead to stress, inactivity and obesity. So it's important that you provide your cat with everything it needs.
When keeping an indoor-only cat you should:
Provide it with a litter tray in a quiet place and make sure that you clean it out regularly. Cats are often reluctant to use a dirty tray or one that is in a busy part of the home.
Make sure your cat has enough space. Indoor-only cats should have access to several rooms. Allow your cat access to two types of resting place, one at floor level, enclosed on three sides and another that is higher with a good view. It is important that the higher position is safe and will not lead to your cat falling from a height, as this could cause serious injury.
Provide scratching posts for your cat at several locations around the home so that it can mark its territory, strengthen its muscles and sharpen its claws.
Make sure your cat has opportunities to exercise each day to stay fit and healthy, by providing suitable indoor activities to keep it active. Provide and create new ways for your cat to stay stimulated and active, both physically and mentally, as one of the main problems with an indoor-only lifestyle is that cats can become frustrated and bored.
Remember that because your cat will not have the freedom to interact with people or other animals outside, you will become its main social companion. You will need to make plenty of time to interact with your cat. You should not leave your cat alone for long periods during the day.
It is important to remember that although an indoor-only lifestyle may appear safer for your cat (as it is protected from any dangers outdoors), the indoor environment can be equally dangerous and cats can be injured as a result of household accidents. So you must take care and make sure that your home is a safe and suitable environment for a cat.
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A cat must be able to avoid things that scare him/her. If unable to hide, your cat may suffer. A cat needs regular easy access to an appropriate place to go to the toilet. Living in a cold or wet place, without shelter, can cause a cat to suffer and become ill. Cats are active animals. They need the opportunity to run, jump and climb and often feel safest when  high up.
Cats are territorial animals and become very attached to places. They are naturally frightened of unfamiliar places and smells; they prefer to stay in their familiar home.
Cats are intelligent. If a cat is bored, and doesn't have enough to do, he/she may suffer.
Cats are inquisitive. If there are hazards within their environment they may easily injure themselves.
Things you should do.
Provide your cat with a comfortable, dry, draught-free, clean and quiet place where he/she can rest undisturbed. Give your cat regular access to a suitable place where he/she can go to the toilet, outside or in a litter tray, which is separate to where he/she eats and sleeps. Make sure your cat has constant access to safe hiding places where he/she can escape if feeling afraid.
If more than one cat shares a living space, provide sufficient extra resources (e.g. toys, beds and hiding places) and give them enough space that they can get away from one another if they choose.
If your cat doesn't go outside, make sure he/she has plenty of activities he/she can do and enough space to exercise, climb and play indoors. Read more about
Make sure your cat can reach a safe high place where he/she can climb and rest, e.g. shelves, cupboard top. Ensure the size and temperature of any place you leave your cat (including your vehicle) is appropriate. If you have to take your cat to a new place, use a secure cat carrier and introduce your cat to it gradually. Putting familiar smelling items in the carrier and the new environment can help your cat feel at ease.
If you are going away, try to find someone to care for your cat and meet all his/her
welfare needs within his/her familiar home, or if boarding your cat, try to ease the move by taking familiar items along too, e.g. your cat’s bed and toys.
If you move house, your cat may try to get back to his/her previous home; keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks after you move, and make sure that he/she seems settled before letting him/her outside.
Make sure that where your cat lives is safe, secure and free from hazards.
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