How To Keep Your Cat Happy Indoors

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Let’s be honest; with all of their charms, kitties can be very naughty too! Keeping them entirely indoors can create a few behavioral challenges with all that extra energy not being spent chasing prey or climbing trees.

If you are wondering how to keep your cat happy indoors without both of you losing your minds, this post is for you!

Cat boredom inside our homes is very real and tends to end badly for us pawrents! These tips will help keep your cat happy indoors and save your sanity! #cats #catsoftwitter #catcare #catlovers #pets

meow: it would be a sin not to pin image
how to keep your cat happy indoors

Ever been sitting in the kitchen or living room and heard….. *crash, *bang,* *rip,* or *shatter* in the other room? After that – the vision of a running feline zooming by you? Ever get the “Who?? Me?!?!” look? Mm-hmm. I feel your pain, my friend, I do!

Cats can get bored easily indoors. This equals bad news for us cat parents. Y’all, I am shaking my head right now just thinking of all the shenanigans I have found ours doing! 😲

I bet you could share a story or two with me of your own!

In all seriousness though, keeping our cats indoors not only lowers our Veterinarian bills by preventing communal diseases. It also protects surrounding wildlife from the hunting powers of our favorite felines.

According to some research conducted in 2013, our cats kill between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds each year. Yikes!

If keeping your cat happy indoors is something you’re interested in, but aren’t sure how best to go about it – keep reading.

How To Keep Your Cat Happy Indoors Intro

When you have a pet, your world can change dramatically. Whether you realize it or not, you have the capacity to love something so deeply and be rewarded as a result.

Pets really do add incredible value to our lives and cherishing them can be such a blessing. But at the same time, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you’re always working to make them happy; especially when they are stuck indoors.

Restoring the peace and balance in your home with your cat doesn’t have to be overly difficult.

Related Reading

Are you a cat parent living in an apartment? 21 experts, including yours truly, weigh in with some great tips to keep your kitty happy, healthy, and thriving. Read more here.

Here are our favorite ways for how to keep your cat happy indoors and help them feel more at home in your home together.

how to keep your cat happy indoors - keep their brains stimulated
Image by Hucklebarry from Pixabay

Exercise Your Cat’s Brain and Body

Cats are brilliant. I’m personally convinced they are much smarter than we will ever realize.

In the wild or outdoor environment – cats can hunt, play, figure things out, and use their imagination while stalking a leaf blowing across the lawn. 😀

When our kitties are kept indoors, this need to play and hunt doesn’t disappear. In fact, for optimal health and for the sake of our homes, it becomes even more important!

Here are some ideas for how to keep your cat’s brain active and entertained:

# 1 – make them ‘work’ for food

Cats love to hunt. They are masters at it. Puzzle feeders will challenge your kitty’s brain and reward their effort with a tasty treat.

Most people think these interactive toys are just for dogs, but cats love them too! These feeders are especially excellent for exercising overweight kitties that are prone to overeating!

# 2 – give them a variety of toys

Cat toys are great bonding time with your cat and exercise time for your cat.

“Constructive playtime for a cat is much-needed exercise,” explains Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM of Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic in Ohio. “One hour of play increases a cat’s healthy lifespan by four hours. It often improves cats’ mental health, too, lessening anxiety and destructive behavior.”

How long should you play with your cats each day?

Each of our cats has a favorite way to play. Pips, our tux, loves to play fetch with his little fuzzy balls. I’m not going to lie, watching him carry these furry rattle balls around melts my heart every time!

how to keep your cat happy indoors -  pips playing with his fuzzy ball
He was high on catnip 😀 © Cat Care Solutions

When Dizzy was younger, she preferred to pretend kill the feather teasers. So fierce!

(These links above are to toys we personally have. They’re always a hit!)

Another constant favorite in our home are the Yeowww! catnip bananas and catnip-filled balls.

Every cat is different so finding ways for how to keep your cat happy indoors with their favorite toys may take a little trial and error. The key is to have different kinds of toys – active toys, puzzle toys, catnip toys, etc.

You’ll soon know their favorite way to play with you and on their own!

# 3 – scratch this, not that!

Cats must scratch. It’s important for their health in several ways. Your couch, curtains, and other beloved furniture should be off-limits though.

I know this is a very common issue for many cat parents and that’s why I wrote, “How To Stop A Cat From Scratching Furniture.” In that post, you’ll discover why cats scratch and some options you have for stopping them from shredding your furniture.

Tassel Cat Scratching Sphere

Consider a “catio”

Catios are absolutely amazing. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re worth looking into. Simply put, catios are screen porch-like enclosures made just for your cat(s). They are a safe way for indoor cats to experience the outdoor air, sights, and sounds without ever being in danger.

You can make them as simple as you want or as fancy as you want. There is no limit to the creativity you can use here!

A quick search on Pinterest or Google for “catio plans” will give you tons of inspiration and ideas for projects you handy types can DIY!

Here are a few links you might find interesting:

Have boundaries

Cats and dogs learn well; we just need to have the patience and consistency to teach them well. Be lovingly clear about what behavior is and isn’t allowed in the home.

When training your cat, it’s important to know what reward they respond best to. Are they food or attention motivated? Maybe a combination of both?

Having boundaries in place also helps us keep them safe from harm. For example, are you prepared in case of an emergency? This checklist from, “How To Prepare for the Unexpected As A Pet Parent,” might help answer any lingering questions.

Having your pet micro-chipped is another worthy consideration to keep them safe now and in the future.

cat with a heart
Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

A healthy pet is a happy pet

When we feel bad, it shows in our behavior, right? Our pets are no different. No list for how to keep your cat happy indoors would be complete without focusing on their life itself!

Take a look at what their needs are and be prepared to find veterinary services whenever you need them. Not only that, but think about getting check-ups regularly to be sure that their health is monitored and maintained.

This will keep them in good spirits. You never know – those routine check-ups could save your furbaby’s life!

Don’t forget about their nail health too. If clipping your cat’s nails scares you, consider trying a cat nail grinder instead. We reviewed the CatSizor here and think it’s pretty great!

Great views and comfy “catification”

As we talked about earlier in “scratch this, not that!,” cats must have spaces and places they’re allowed to jump, climb, scratch, and hang out up high.

When they don’t, they’re far more likely to go where you don’t want them to!

Cat trees, cat shelves and perches for the walls are all great options to help your cat travel up high without ever needing to come down to go between them. It’s often called the “kitty highway.”

Luxury Cat Tree with Leaves

Get creative. Find out where your cat likes to hang out and create a safe, comfy space, just for them.

For inspiration, take a look at Jackson Galaxy’s, “Tips to catify your home.”

My baby boy Pips snoozing away © Cat Care Solutions

– Front row window seat

Most cats LOVE to watch birds, squirrels and the outdoor happenings from their favorite window.

Make that space inviting for them by adding comfortable bedding or install a window perch. If you love DIY crafts, don’t miss this beautiful DIY Cat Perch Basket.

Our kiddos adore our bay window so we’ve added extra soft cat blankets for them to nap on after a long day’s work of neighborhood watch 😀

It doesn’t have to be fancy either. Our cats still choose cardboard boxes or a hammock some days! Yours will too. Like us, their needs and moods will change.

See what I mean? This is my baby boy, Pips, in his hammock. How’s THAT for relaxation?!?

(Sorry for the poor quality photo – it was dark when I took this)

my cat pips in his hammock
© Cat Care Solutions

Back to basics: food, water and litter

It goes without saying; having food, water, and litter available for your cat is the very foundation for how to keep your cat happy indoors.

Litter box rules:

  • Scoop at least once per day, per cat.

  • Preferably, have 2 cat litter boxes per cat.
  • Dump out and replace clumping cat litter every 2-4 weeks (as needed)
  • Dump out and replace clay cat litter once a week or less depending on usage
  • Wash litter box with mild dish soap detergent and hot water with each fresh change out

(We have been using Frisco clumping cat litter for a couple years now and LOVE it!)

Food and water:

In our home, we typically have dry food available at all times in our automatic cat feeder. (read review here)

We also feed canned food once or twice a day. Our kiddos love Fancy Feast but personal tastes will vary a lot here!

Check with your Vet to make sure there aren’t any special dietary restrictions you need to be aware of with your cat. If not, buying the highest quality food you can afford and their taste buds will determine the rest. 🙂

I do highly recommend getting a cat water fountain if you do not already have one.

I’ve personally witnessed the amazing health benefits of our cats drinking more water because they love their fountain. Their fur is shiny and their overall well-being has improved too.

Conclusion: Treat them like family because they are!

The best thing that you can do for your pet is to love them and care for them well. Just like you would any other beloved member of your family.

After all, that’s why Cat Care Solutions exists- to celebrate the charming kitties we love so much and to love them well. Hearing your stories always makes me smile!

When you make them a priority in your life, they will reward you with unconditional love and a whole lot of laughter!

  • Did you learn any new tips for how to keep your cat happy indoors that you found interesting?
  • What are some tips YOU can share with me and others?
  • Does your cat have a favorite toy?
  • Do you have any other questions for me?

I am looking forward to hearing your comments below! As always, thank you for sharing this post with your social media family.

Love & Healing Purrs,

Sharing Is Caring ♥ Thank You!


    1. Thank you Sandee! ♥️ I agree, their catio is simply amazing! Plenty of inspiration there.

      Sending love your way in hopes that your day and weekend are beautiful!

  1. Such great tips here!! And wow! I didn’t realize cats killed that many birds a year!

    The puzzle feeders are such a neat idea! And I love the catio. What a great way to keep your cat safe but still be able to get outside. The water fountain is a good idea, too. We’ve been thinking of getting one because Oatmeal likes to dig in the water bowl and make a mess. Do you think a fountain would stop that?

    Pips is so cute! And I love that blanket!

    I 100% agree that we should treat our cats like family because that’s exactly what they are.

    Great post! Shared and pinned so others can love this, too!

    1. Thanks Michelle! I’m glad you found these helpful. I love getting your feedback! ♥ And I agree – it was pretty remarkable to read the numbers on how many birds and other wildlife cats kill each year. We really can’t blame them; their ancestors *had* to hunt to survive. Some still do sadly.

      I’ll be honest with you – I chuckled when I read your question about Oatmeal digging in the water bowl, only because I am very familiar with how you feel about the mess!! Our Dizzy was the same way.

      Here’s one of the main reasons cats do this: In the wild, stagnant (non-flowing) water poses a threat to their health — it usually means breeding grounds for parasites, bacteria, and other toxic things. Moving water on the other hand meant fresher water much less likely to make them sick.

      Our house cats have that same awareness that still water in traditional water bowls could equal sickness. So what do they do? They make a mess all over the place by making the water move! 😀 Or they wait for you to run the kitchen or bath faucet and come running!

      Some other common reasons cats might do this is to judge the depth of the water so they don’t stick their head in too far, issues with anxiety, and sometimes it can indicate a kitty that doesn’t feel well.

      Does Oatmeal actually drink the water after she paws it out? If so, in my personal experience, it’s most likely that she likes to see the water move and drink it from there. 🙂

      With all that said (hopefully my reply wasn’t too long!), there’s about a 90+% chance that a water fountain would solve this issue. Dizzy stopped making any mess at all. Pips still paws at the water to check depth but doesn’t make a huge mess.

      I will make one recommendation. If your kitties are prone to making messes; consider a closed basin one instead of an open type. It doesn’t allow for so much splashing of water. We’ve had both and I think it’s easier to clean closed basins for messy cats. I got this fountain for my mother-in-law’s cat, Edward, and it works well: — The water indicator light on the front is nice and the stainless steel top stays cleaner.

      Keep in mind too that some cats take to the fountain immediately; while others are a bit skeptical and need to ‘observe’ it in action a little while before they decide it’s not a cat killer.

      Did that help? I hope so! Let me know if you’re curious about anything else!

      Thank you for saying Pips is cute. He is a mess!! He’s brilliant and he knows it. The blanket is unbelievably soft. It’s a cat blanket but I’m jealous! ha ha.

      You’re amazing Michelle. Thank you for all of your support! I appreciate you so much, my friend. ♥ Loads of love & hugs headed your way. Please let me know if I can do anything to help!

      1. Yes, that helped a lot! Thank you so much!! I think maybe she just likes to see the water move. She does drink it afterwards and sometimes drinks it off her paws. I’ll check out the fountain on Amazon, too. Thanks for the link! Oatmeal is 14 years old and pure white so I keep worrying that her eyesight might be going bad. But she seems like she can see other things just fine. And with Amber around Oatmeal acts like a kitten herself most days! LOL!

      2. Aww! I had a perfect picture of Oatmeal licking the water off her paws, so cute! It really does sound like she’s a water fountain kind of gal. Some cats won’t fuss about still water but others refuse it.

        Cats tend to have poor close-up vision anyway so when you throw in something clear like water – it’s hard for them to figure out how deep it is. I saw a cute cat meme one time that said, “This clear liquid vexes me!,” and had a puzzled-looking cat staring at a water bowl. I suspect Oatmeal is probably seeing everything else just fine because you’d notice a lot of signs if she weren’t, especially sudden clumsiness.

        I can only imagine the shenanigans and laughter in your home with Amber and Oatmeal. I bet they are comical!

        Grateful I could help! If you do decide to get a water fountain, I’d really like to hear if that fixes the issue for you too! 🙂

  2. More fantastic tips, and how amazing is that person’s Catio! Wow. I’m gobsmacked. I think Virgil would like that. I really want to play with him more but he just doesn’t do playtime. He looks at me with a sigh and says (I assume) “no Caz, I’m not going to play with you today or any day, I’m too sophisticated for such tomfoolery”. I’ve bought various toys and he does nada. The only one he’ll look at on occasion is the long stick with stuff on the end of it, and that’s only because he eventually gets annoyed at me waving it around like woman high on catnip.


    1. Isn’t that catio amazing?!? I love following them on Instagram because I’m always amazed by their creativity. They’ve created a space for their kiddos that many of us humans are jealous of, ha ha! I bet Virgil would love it. He strikes me as the type that loves to lazily absorb his surroundings? He’s just so laid back — awesome cat!

      I LOVE your stories of playtime with him! Your stories in general are hilarious. I can tell you that Dizzy only likes to play if you get violent with her. No, seriously! 😀 You have to practically smack her with the thing to get her interest. Then she plays.

      Have you tried catnip with Virgil? What about a laser pointer? Some cats just genuinely are that laid back and playtime with our stoopid toys aren’t all that appealing, ha ha!

      Thanks for making me smile, Caz. I love hearing from you! ♥

    1. Aww! I’d love to hear more about your two cats. 😊 And you’re right, they are definitely highly intelligent. The more you work with them, the more intelligent they become. It’s a lot of fun!

      An assortment of toys is never a bad thing. I’m sure your 2 year old would agree! She sounds adorable!

      Thank you for stopping in & sharing your thoughts with me. I hope you’ll come back again. ♥

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