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There was a time when I thought that not letting your cat outside was cruel. I figured how can a cat be happy if it’s constantly kept indoors? I know I would hate it if I never got to leave the house. But over the years, and with a very unfortunate incident between my cat Riley and a car, I quickly changed my tune. (Don’t worry! Riley survived and lived a long and happy life. He was 15 when he finally went the giant litter box in the sky.)

You see, indoor cats are much healthier and typically live much longer than outdoor dwelling felines. They are much less likely to fall prey to diseases, predators, other cats, or cars (like my Riley).

People might think that cats are so low maintenance that if they are left inside they’ll be able to entertain themselves. I mean, heck, all they do anyway is sleep! But, without the proper stimulation, an indoor cat can quickly become overweight, bored, or develop stress-related diseases, such a urinary track infections. They can also develop bad habits, like scratching your furniture or urinating outside the litter box.

Keeping your kitty active and happy, while staying safely inside, really isn’t that difficult. Here are a few things you can do to enrich your indoor cat’s environment:

– Install a perch near a sunny window or clear off a designated windowsill
– Schedule a daily play session using a feather stick cat toy
– Install a cat climbing system or special cat shelves
– Plant cat-safe kitty grass
– Rub catnip on toys and scratching posts
– Put a bird feeder outside a window
– Play DVDs made for cats (I have one that shows birds and squirrels, along with lots of wildlife sounds — the cats love it)
– Build a catio
– Provide a paper bag (minus the handle) or a box
– Adopt a second cat

Please remember, that even if your kitty is strictly an inside guy, proper ID, such as a collar with tags or a microchip are a must. Cats can easily slip outside when no one is looking.

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