Cat owners acknowledge that their whiskered friends have a wild side. After all, cats love to hunt, climb, and attack their helpless stuffed mice. Cats’ elusive yet inquisitive nature is what endears them to people. Keeping your feline companion indoors provides them with the safest living environment, which makes you responsible for ensuring that your whiskered pal’s indoor environment meets their physical and behavioral needs. Our Tennessee Avenue Animal Hospital team provides tips on how to help your cat express their instincts within the confines of your home.

Create vertical space for your cat

Cats love to climb and perch in high places to survey their surroundings. This age-old feline behavior helps wild cats feel secure and gives them vantage points from which to see their prey. Your indoor cat is much the same and wants to climb perhaps where they shouldn’t such as on a kitchen counter or the curtains. To remedy this, provide your furry pal with several cat trees, pet-safe shelves, and window perches to satisfy their urge to climb and observe their surroundings from above. Climbing provides physical exercise and mental stimulation as your cat surveys their territory, despite their domain being an ocean away from the African savanna.

Encourage interactive play with your feline

Interactive play involves you and your cat. These games encourage physical exercise, agility, and mental enrichment while strengthening the bond you share with your special feline. Activities that allow your cat to indulge their hunting instincts while providing much-needed exercise include:

  • Laser pointers
  • Feather wands
  • Cat Dancers
  • Automated toys
  • Food puzzles
  • Stuffed mice and other toys
  • Catnip 
  • Agility course for cats
  • Hide-and-seek with treats

Regularly rotate your cat’s old toys with new ones. Doing so keeps playtime exciting and prevents boredom.

Provide your cat with hiding spots

You may often find your cat curled up in boxes, closets, on top of laundry baskets, and in other unusual places. While affectionate, cats also like their alone time, and respecting their space and privacy means giving them places to hide. Cats are naturally ambush predators and enjoy hiding spots where they can retreat and observe without being seen. Offer your kitty plenty of cat tunnels, cardboard boxes, or even strategically placed blankets where your cat can retreat when they need privacy, feel anxious, or need a break from stimulation.

Offer your cat sensory enrichment

Stimulate your cat’s senses by introducing new scents, sounds, and textures into the home. Offer cat-safe plants for them to explore, play calming music or nature sounds, and provide toys with various textures for tactile stimulation. These sensory experiences mimic outdoor situations and help keep your cat mentally engaged. 

Window watching will be your cat’s favorite pastime

Imagine if you spent all your time indoors, would you want a window view? Of course, and this is equally true for your cat. Position a bird feeder or install a birdhouse right outside a window to provide hours of entertainment for your indoor cat. Watching birds and other wildlife stimulates their natural hunting instincts and induces that endearing tongue-clicking sound contented cats often make. Ensure the window is secure so your cat can safely enjoy the view without risking an escape or a fall from a height.

Provide your cat with safe, supervised outdoor time

Outdoor time can be just what your cat needs, especially when the weather is nice. Teach your cat to walk on a harness and leash by slowly acclimating them to the sensation. Take short walks with your furry pal in the yard or other safe areas—never in a park or public area because that would be too dangerous. You can also give your whiskered pal a catio, an enclosure for cats that can be moved to various spots in the yard or attached to a window. Whatever you choose, always supervise your cat to protect them from wildlife and aggressive free-roaming pets, poisonous plants, or other outdoor dangers. 

Incorporating these enrichment strategies into your indoor cat’s daily life can help them express their natural behaviors and lead to a fulfilling and purr-fectly happy existence. Remember to observe your cat’s preferences and adjust their environment to ensure they remain mentally and physically stimulated. A well-enriched indoor environment can provide your cat with a fulfilling life while keeping them safe and content.

Keeping your cat happy and healthy means allowing them to express their instinctive behaviors. Follow the tips we have provided here to help your cat express their instinctive behaviors. Schedule your whiskered pal’s next wellness exam with our Tennessee Avenue Animal Hospital team and get additional suggestions on how to allow your cat to express their wild side.