Most cat owners may need to keep their cats inside. It could be due to the cat’s health or lifestyle constraints. However, indoor cats can have a happy and healthy life just like outdoor cats. If you are caring for an indoor cat, there are important things that you need to know to keep your indoor cat happy and active.
How to Keep an Indoor Cat Happy
1. Provide the right equipment
Cats whether indoor or outdoor need physical exercise. Especially, if your cat does not have access to the outdoors, you will need to provide the equipment they can play with while indoors. This equipment stimulates the cats physically and keeps them engaged and busy.
Exercise is vital for a cat’s health. Providing a scratching post for your indoor cat will keep them from scratching your furniture. Cat trees will encourage your cat to move around and exercise.
Other necessary equipment for indoor cats are but not limited to, clean water bowls places at different places around the house, food bowls, and litter boxes for the cat to pee and poop. Also, ensure that your cat has access to most parts of the house to avoid boredom. If you confine your cat and limit their access to different rooms, they may get bored.
2. Encourage them to exercise
Indoor cats may be at a higher risk of becoming overweight than outdoor cats. This is because outdoor cats tend to move a lot while the indoor cats may spend a lot of their time sleeping inside. Therefore, it is your responsibility as the cat parent to encourage them to move around and exercise.
You can achieve this by providing indoor cat toys that will encourage them to move around. Also, you can encourage them to follow you around the house. Lack of adequate exercise will put your indoor cat at risk of becoming overweight. An overweight cat has high health risks including renal problems, heart problems, and diabetes. Therefore, encourage your cat to get involved in games that involve them pouncing, jumping, climbing, and running around.
3. Let them outside safely
Your cat may enjoy the outdoors while still indoors. To achieve this, ensure that they have access to a windowsill where they can enjoy a beautiful view of the outdoors through the window.
Also, you can open a window and place a mesh or window guard over. This way, your cat will spell the outside and enjoy the sounds outdoor while at the comfort of your home.
4. Get them foods for indoor cats
Feed your indoor cat with food specifically prepared for indoor cats. Also, ensure that their food portions match their activity levels. Since their energy requirements are lower than those of outdoor cats.
Does Indoor Cat Need Shots?
Some cat owners argue that since their cats do not go outside, they do not need a rabies vaccination. Others argue that it is important to vaccinate their cats since they may be exposed to rabies even though they are strictly indoor cats.
But what do experts say? Most mammals can contract rabies. An animal with rabies disease will have the virus in their nerves and saliva. Therefore, the most common method of transmission is through bites. Cats may be bitten by their prey for instance the cat may pounce on an infected bat flopping on the ground and get bitten and infected.
However, the incubation of the rabies virus from the time of exposure to onset of symptoms may range from a week to a year depending on the host animal. After the symptoms appear, rabies becomes 100% fatal.
Common symptoms of rabies include;
- Uncoordinated movement
- Fear of water
Indoor cats may have exposure to other rabid animals. Therefore, they are not 100% safe from contracting rabies. Sometimes, your indoor cat may dash outside through an open door or window. Adventures outside may have potential risks to your indoor furry baby. Also, a rabid animal may access your house and expose the virus to your cat.
If you had not vaccinated your cat against rabies, the public health authorities may recommend to euthanize your cat or quarantine him for 6 months or more if he has been exposed to rabies. This may hurt your cat’s physical and mental health and may also be very expensive.
Therefore, vaccinating your cat will reduce the impact of this killer virus. In countries where vaccinating cats and dogs is a legal requirement, the disease has reduced significantly among the pets.
According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all dogs, cats, and ferrets should be vaccinated and revaccinated for rabies per the product label directions. There are no exceptions for indoor cats. Therefore, your indoor cat will need to be vaccinated. For more information on the vaccination schedule for your cat, talk to your vet.
Can Indoor Cat Get Fleas?
Indoor cats cat get fleas and other parasites such as ticks. Despite your efforts, fleas can still enter your home and get to your cats. How would they get in? You may wonder. Fleas can attach to your shoes or clothes when outdoors. Hence, when you return to your home, you can unknowingly bring them to your house.
Also, if you have dogs, they may bring the ticks and fleas to your house. Therefore, even if your cat is strictly an indoor cat, he/she may get fleas. Besides, your cat may get fleas from the vet’s or the groomers. Or, if you have rats and a mouse problem in your house, they may transfer the fleas to your cat.
If your cat starts to scratch and bites on their fur often, see your vet as it could be signs that your cat has fleas. Mostly, fleas in cats attack behind the head, the tummy area and along the back. Your vet may prescribe a topical or oral flea medicine to get rid of the fleas.
Fleas may be a nuisance to your indoor furry baby. They cause great discomfort and itching to your cat. Moreover, they can transmit parasites such as tapeworms to humans.
Also, some cats may have allergic reactions to fleas. Therefore, it is important to check out for fleas and seek treatment immediately for the health and wellbeing of your kitty and family.
Severe infestation of fleas can cause anemia. This is due to blood loss. It can be fatal in kittens. Common signs of anemia in cats include pale gums and that would need immediate vet attention.
How do you tell if your indoor cat has fleas?
There are tiny black dots present on the flea comb used on your cat. These black specks are called “flea dirt” .
After getting your cat on flea treatment, do the following to ensure you get rid of all the fleas in your home.
- Thoroughly wash all the bedding. The fleas could have spread to your bedding. After washing, vacuum the mattresses and pay attention to the fold where the eggs might hide.
- Vacuum your carpet daily and dispose of all the used vacuum bags. It is advisable to steam clean your carpet to kill all the flea eggs present
- Avoid placing flea collars in the vacuum bag. This is because the heat generated by the machine may cause toxic fumes.
- You can also hire a professional to fumigate your house.
Can Indoor Cat Get Worms?
Cats whether indoor or outdoor are prone to getting worms. Usually, kittens are born with intestinal worms. They get them when they are passed from the mother through the placenta before they are born. Also, they can pass through the mother’s milk.
Additionally, cats can get worms from eating rodents that have worms. Fleas also contribute to worm infestation. They can transmit tapeworms from one cat to another when ingested.
The most common worms in cats are roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Roundworms and hookworms usually live in the intestines while tapeworms live in the intestines and other parts including the liver.
Worms pose a major risk to cats since they suck your cat’s blood and nutrients. Other worms that cats get are heartworms. These are very fatal. They live in the heart and are transmitted by mosquitoes.
Common signs that your cat has worms
- Presence of blood or mucus in their feces
- Presence of worms in the feces. You may find a visible trace of the worms in their poop. Also, you may see the worms in their anus on in their bedding.
- You cat getting diarrhea
- Vomiting may also be a sign that your cat has worms
- A dull and rough coat could also be a sign that your cat has worms. Your cat’s fur condition may change. It may become rough, coarse and dull.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss since your cat may not be getting enough nutrients in their body due to worms in their GI tract
- Swollen belly. Your cat’s stomach may appear distended and look bloated.
- Anemia. In severe cases, your cat may suffer anemia. This is due to severe blood loss to the worms
If your cat has one or multiple symptoms that you suspect they have worms, see your vet immediately. The vet will do a fecal test to find what type of worms your cat has. They will prescribe the appropriate deworming product
Can Indoor Cat Get Ear Mites?
It is important to identify ear mites and know how to treat them for the wellbeing of your cat. The presence of ear mites causes your cat to scratch themselves in an attempt to get rid of them. As a result, the repeated scratching may cause deep wounds.
Ear mites are tiny parasites that live inside the ear canal of an infected cat. The mites feed on ear wax and dirt inside the cat’s eat. They may bite your cat and cause itching, if you notice that your kitty has ear mites, contact your vet immediately.
Indoor cats do not get ear mites unless they have been exposed to another mammal with the ear mites. However, your cat scratching their ears does not necessarily mean that they have ear mites. The allergy may cause itchiness. Visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis.
Grooming Your Indoor Cat and Why It Is Important
Grooming plays an important role in your cat’s health. Cats whether short-haired or long-haired will need grooming. However, the amount of grooming your cat needs depends on their coat type. You can take your cat to a pet groomer or do it yourself.
Here are 5 reasons why grooming your cat is important
1. Prevent ticks and fleas
Grooming your cat regularly will prevent flea infestation. It will help you spot the fleas and ticks and remove them or get your cat to your vet for flea treatment.
2. Eliminate discomfort to your cat
The act of brushing your cat’s coat with a soft brush will massage their skin and give them a good feeling. Also, you will help them get rid of the dead hair and stimulate the growth of new hair. Additionally, it helps prevent matting on cats with longer coats.
3. Protects your cat’s paws
Nail trimming is a part of cat care. Long nails are not only unhealthy but also uncomfortable for your kitty. Moreover, overgrown nails can grow into your cat’s feet and cause pain and discomfort. Therefore, get your kitty’s nails trimmed regularly.
4. Protects your cat’s ears
Getting your cat’s ears clean regularly will keep the ears clean and prevent wax and dirt build-up in the ears. Therefore, it will keep ear infections for your cat at bay.