A New Owners Guide To Indoor Cats
Indoor Cats 101
So, you have decided to get yourself an indoor cat.
Keeping your cat inside is better for your cat’s health and well-being, and it’s also better for the environment. But, there are some things you need to know about keeping an indoor cat.
Lucky for you, we have put together this handy guide.
What to Consider Before You Get a Cat
There are a few questions that you should be asking yourself before committing to bringing a new cat home:
Am I the right person to have a cat?
Are my living conditions right for a cat?
Could I be allergic to cats?
Do I have a dog that would fight with the cat?
Choosing Between Cat vs Kitten
The choice between a cat and a kitten should be based on what you want out of the relationship, rather than the age of the cat.
The general rule is cats are more independent and easier to train than kittens.
Kittens are affectionate, playful, and energetic and need an owner who will dedicate time and energy to training and playing.
Preparing Your Home
Just like a human baby, your cat will need a safe place to live while they grow up.
You will need to make sure your home is safe for a kitten. Part of this is making sure your cat always has easy access to water and food, somewhere to sleep, and a litter box.
Kitten Proof Your Home
The first step to kitten proofing your home is to clean it. This means you should remove anything that could harm the kitten. This includes: The kitten should also have a place to stay.
To keep your kitten safe, make sure that your home is kitten-proof.
Before bringing your kitten home, make sure you’ve blocked all areas that are off-limits to them.
Also, don’t leave any dangerous items on the counter or on the coffee table. You should also cover your cords and wires with plastic casings to keep your kitten from chewing them.
What Supplies Do Cat Owners Need?
Just like owning any other pet, you need to make sure that you have the right supplies for your cat.
Here are a few essential items that you will need to buy:
- Indoor cat food
- Food and water bowls
- A decent litter box
- Cat litter
- A comfortable cat bed
- Toys to play with
- Scratching post
- Grooming tools
Your cat’s health is important. You need to have a vet lined up so you will be covered in the event of illness or injury.
Common Cat Illnesses & Diseases
Here are a few illnesses and diseases that are common in cats
• Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or FIV
• Feline Hyperthyroidism
• Feline Asthma
• Feline Infectious Rhinotracheitis
• Feline Calicivirus
• Feline Leukemia Virus
Spaying and neutering your cat is important so they don’t have unwanted kittens.
Keep them inside
Keeping your pet cat indoors is important so they don’t get killed or injured from the many dangers found outdoors.
This is especially important so they don’t get in fights with other cats as they could become diseased.
Make sure they have their shots
Indoor cats need their shots too!
Shots and other treatments help ensure that your cat doesn’t end up sick and needing a vet.
As well as making sure that your cat or kitten has his shots you will also need to make sure that they are de-wormed at regular intervals.
Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly will not only keep them clean but may help prevent them from developing feline dental disease. This disease can be very painful for your cat, and if they are in pain, they are more likely to develop other health problems.
By brushing your cat’s teeth, you are also able to remove any leftover food that may be stuck in their teeth.
Indoor cats require more exercise compared to their outdoor counterparts. Although indoor cats love to play with toys, this is not enough exercise. It is important to take your cat outside for a walk.
Not only will they be able to stretch their legs, but they will also be able to get some much-needed fresh air and sunlight.
If your cat is particularly energetic and likes to run around and play, you should consider a cat leash.
One thing that cats know how to do well, is sleep.
On average an outdoor cat tends to sleep around 15 hours per day, and an indoor cat even more!
That is why you should make sure that you buy them a comfortable cat bed.
There are lots of different cat beds available, even ones that you can attach to a window, so you should choose one that is right for your cat.
There are many different types of behavior that cats exhibit.
Some of these behaviors are related to affection, some are related to dominance, and some are related to fear.
Affection: Cats are very affectionate creatures. They crave touch and attention. They enjoy sleeping next to their owners, or on top of their owners while purring away to themselves.
Dominance: Cats have a natural desire to be the top cat in their households. They want to be the bosses. This can be a source of conflict between cats and their owners. They want to rule the roost is so strong, that cats will go to great lengths to be dominant.
Fear: Cats can become aggressive out of fear. This is especially common in cats that have been abused in the past, such as being hit by a human or having been confined in a cage.
Health Problems: Some cats may be aggressive because they are in pain. This is especially true if the cat is experiencing pain because of an injury. Another health problem to consider is hyperthyroidism, which can lead to aggressive behaviors.
Another health-related behavior, that may indicate a problem, is the cat urinating outside of the litter box or excessively grooming.
Feeding Your Cat
Here are a few helpful tips for when it comes to feeding your indoor cat:
- You should feed your cat at least twice a day (or as indicated on the food label)
- You should only change their food if their feeding habits change. This includes changing food brands.
- You should never add human foods to their food.
- You should allow your cat access to water at all times, especially if you are feeding them ‘dry cat food’ instead of ‘wet cat food’
- You may need to look for a food that is made for the specific cat breed. If you are unsure, ask your vet.
Types of Cat Food and the Differences Between Them
There are many different types of cat food on the market today. Some of it is good, some of it is bad and some of it is just plain awful.
You see, not all cats are alike.
Some like a little bit of everything, others have very specific taste buds and still, others have such sensitive taste buds that they can only eat certain types or brands.
It’s important for you to understand this because it will help you decide what kind of cat food is best for your particular feline friend. Let’s take a look at the most common types of cat food and discuss the differences between them:
Dry Cat Food
The most prominent form of cat food is dry kibble. This is the food that most people think of when they imagine a cat eating.
Wet Cat Food
Wet cat food is often preferred by cats as it provides a similar texture as their natural diet (meat and water).
Kitten food is a more nourishing cat food, containing a good amount of fat and protein. This is to help your kitten grow and develop to its full potential.
Adult Cat Food
Adult cat food is more suited to the nutritional needs of an adult cat. For example, your cat would not need to grow up as quickly as a kitten, so the nutrients in the food would be different.
Indoor Cat Food
If you have an indoor cat, the indoor cat food is suitable for them. It is low in calories. This is because indoor cats are not likely to perform as much strenuous exercise as outdoor cats, so they are less likely to need as many calories.
Grooming Your Cat
Cats like to be brushed and combed.
Not only does this keep their coat looking beautiful, but it also keeps them feeling beautiful.
By the way, did you know that cats spend about 2-1/2 hours a day grooming themselves?
You should groom your cat at least once a week using a cat brush or a cat comb. Make sure you don’t overdo it though.
If your cat has a short coat, you may only need to brush them every four weeks. But, if your cat has a long, thick coat, you should brush them more often.
Brushing too frequently will remove the natural oils from your cat’s coat. This can lead to dry, itchy skin.
Bathing Your Cat
Cats do not need to be bathed as often as dogs. However, if your cat gets dirty or has an odor, you should bathe them.
If you are going to bathe your cat, use mild shampoo.
You don’t want to use the type of shampoo that makes your cat feel uncomfortable.
Invest in a Good Cat Carrier
One of the most important things you need to get is a cat carrier.
Your cat will need to be transported from one location to the next (such as a trip to the vets) and a cat carrier will help you to do this.
Litter Box and Accessories
Of course, your cat will need somewhere to do its ‘business, so a quality litter box is needed.
Especially since your indoor cat won’t have the luxury of going to the toilet outside.
There are various types of litter boxes on the market such as covered, hooded, self-cleaning, and so on.
The type you buy is really down to you but I find that the sifting litter boxes are the best.
Litter boxes need to be filled with cat litter. This is the stuff that your cat will walk around in when it comes to doing its business!
The main types of cat litter are:
Clumping litter – This is the most common type of litter and is made from a mixture of silica and sodium bentonite. As the name suggests, this litter clumps together when it comes into contact with moisture and is usually scooped up and thrown away after it has been used.
Non-clumping litter – The most popular and comfortable type, this type doesn’t require frequent scooping and is the best choice for households with more than one cat. This type usually comes in larger-sized pellets and scatters more than the clumping kind.
Silica-based gel crystals – These are usually more expensive than the other two options, but they are very good at absorbing odors, which is why they are used in our best litter box for odor control.
There are a few more different types on the market, as well as homemade cat litter, but we will get into that another time.
What is the best cat litter?
The answer is, it depends.
Some litter trays only work with certain types of litter.
If your cat has asthma, they will need a litter that does not throw dust up into the air.
If you share your home with someone else, you may need to choose between unscented litter or something that smells less than your partner’s preferred litter.