If you’re keeping your cat indoors due to the coronavirus lockdown, here’s how to keep them happy and entertained.
With coronavirus (COVID-19) at the forefront of many people’s minds, cat owners may be concerned about what it all means for their pets.
To find Cats Protection’s most up-to-date guidance on cats and coronavirus, visit our dedicated webpage featuring useful FAQs to put your mind at rest.
Currently it’s advised that if you’re self-isolating due to COVID-19, you should minimise the amount of time your cat spends outdoors unsupervised if possible. If your cat usually spends a lot of time roaming outside, you might be concerned about how to try and keep them happy if you decide to keep them indoors, so here are some things you can try.
Top tips for keeping your outdoor cat happy indoors
Get them a scratch post
You may have one already, but if not then a scratch post is a great investment if you want to protect your furniture from your cat’s claws. Get a post that’s tall enough for your cat to stretch out on, but sturdy enough not to topple over under their weight. There are lots of great cat products available to order online and get delivered straight to your door. For more tips on how to make sure your cat uses the post instead of your sofa, visit https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/cat-behaviour/scratching
Set up a litter tray
If your cat is usually used to toileting outdoors, they’ll now need access to an indoor toilet to use whenever nature calls. Set them up with a nice big litter tray in a quiet area of the home and add in 3cm of soft cat litter for them to dig. If you have more than one cat, they’ll ideally need one tray each plus one spare so they don’t have to share. For more advice on setting up your cat’s perfect loo, visit https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/cat-behaviour/toileting
Use a fishing rod toy
Cats have a natural instinct to stalk, pounce and catch moving objects so if they can no longer do this outdoors, they’ll need something to hunt indoors instead. Fishing rod toys, particularly ones with feathers, are fantastic for this and they also allow you to play with your cat from a safe distance. To find out more about how to play with your cat visit https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/cat-behaviour/cats-and-play
Get creative at feeding time
If your cat is spending more time indoors, you’ll need to make sure they’re getting enough mental and physical stimulation to keep their mind and body active. A great way to do this is to make them work a bit for their food using puzzle/enrichment feeders. There are many different products you can order from pet retailers, or you can have a go at making your own at home.
Create some hiding places
A change to your cat’s normal routine can be stressful for them, so they’ll appreciate some quiet places they can hide away and feel safe. Cardboard boxes make excellent cosy hiding places, especially with a nice blanket tucked inside. Try also giving your cat somewhere they can get up high to hide, such as a high shelf or on top of a wardrobe. To find out more about why cats hide, visit www.cats.org.uk/cats-hiding
Plug in a pheromone diffuser
Another great way to calm a stressed-out moggy is to use a synthetic pheromone diffuser such as FELIWAY® CLASSIC, which you can order online. This will release calming cat pheromones into your home that only your cat will be able to detect, providing them with a familiar scent that will put them at ease.
Be patient with your cat
Whether it’s restricted outside access or having a busier household, any change in routine and environment can be stressful for your cat, especially as they don’t understand why it is happening. It’s important to remain calm and patient with them as they learn to adjust, as it may take them several days or weeks to get used to their new way of living. If you follow all of the steps above, you can help to make the change as stress-free as possible.
For lots more information about keeping indoor cats happy, visit https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/home-and-environment/indoor-cats
Of course, your own wellbeing is also important during these challenging times, so if you’re looking for the purrfect way to de-stress, follow Cats Protection on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for lots of adorable cat content to make you smile. We’d also love to hear about how you and your moggy are doing at home!