A fact that you might have heard in passing is that black cats are still the most common breed to not be adopted at rescue centres. It’s sad, isn’t it? People seem to carry on having this fear that black cats are unlucky to own. Whereas I did love that Jewel was a black cat, she was more than that. She was an indoor cat that loved to growl at visiting cats to our garden. She hated men and loved to snack on bits of melon.
Yep, you read that right.
I’ve had a couple of friends asking if I didn’t feel a bit guilty for keeping her inside. I told them that it wasn’t my choice to keep Jewel inside. You basically can’t tell a cat to do anything they don’t want to do. She was like me in the fact that she wasn’t all that interested. She’d go into her garden, patrol that and sleep in the sun but never any further.
Next week will mark a whole year since she joined my parents in Heaven and it’s been a tough one. Since I did have her for over 20 years, I wanted to share some of my kitty wisdom with any others who are looking to get an indoor cat and keep it happy!
01: Listen to your cat
I don’t just mean it yowling at you during the night to feed it or meowing to open the bathroom door. Those you can choose to ignore if you want! I mean listen to its other needs. Once you’ve had your cat for a while, you’ll find yourself falling into something of a routine. That doesn’t mean your cat will pay any attention to yours but they learn to live with it.
If you have a garden that is protected by a fence, don’t be afraid to let them out. It’s always a bit freaky at first because you’re terrified that they’ll run off as soon as your back is turned. Most of the time they just want a bit of air. It can get a little stuffy when you’re indoors for a long time so it’s a nice change of pace for them!
See them eating grass? Don’t stop them!
They’re eating that to help with their digestion and grass is pretty good for them. Though you might not think it when you’re cleaning up after them later.
o2: be mindful of house plants
It’s such an obvious thing but some may not realise how dangerous certain plants can be for any cat. That and how curious they can be to eat them! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make your home smell and look pretty, but you do have to consider where you put them.
Watch out for these plants in particular: lillies and chrysanthemum. They’re poisonous!
You could try spider plants or even baby rubber plants! They may not look bright but it’s sometimes better to be mindful of your cat rather be deadly.
03: Pick a decent scratching object
Jewel was one of those cats that were particularly stubborn with what she wanted to scratch on. I tried scratching posts, scratching boards and lots of other things but she was always set on destroying my doorframe.
If you’re getting a young cat, try discovering what kind of material that they like to scratch. Since an indoor cat can’t keep their claws sharp and take their claw sheaves off naturally from outside, they need something decent to do it for them in the house. You could have big rope, tight rope, strong fabric…you name it, a cat might scratch it.
You just have to listen like I mentioned earlier. They might scratch because they’re bored, they might enjoy it (torture is their favourite fun!) or they might even be nervous. Blue Cross has some great tips on understanding cats!
04: Keep them active
Cats can be like children! They love to run around as quickly as they can, sometimes chase their tail and often tripping or falling. They can be a little dim sometimes but you’ve got to love them! One of the problems indoor cats face, other than getting bored, is that they can put on weight easier.
Yeah, literal fat cats!
This gives you permission to buy all the fun toys! You could have one of those fishing rod things with feathers on the end, you could have a specific laser point for cats, you could try a motor mouse for it to chase! There are so many amazing things for them to play with. That or you could just dangle your fingers, watch their bum wiggle and hope you’re fast enough to move your head away in time!
You might need to watch their portion sizes too!
05: Give them a safe place
This one could be used for indoor or outdoor cats when they’re at home.
Now cats are moving onto their teenage stage when they want to ‘go to their room’ and have a place of their own that feels safe and uninvaded. That could be anywhere for a cat since they love to sneak into the smallest of spaces. I once found Jewel in one of my drawers!
You might have to spy on your cat a little bit to see where they love going to but you’ll soon see which places they run to hide in.
A safe space is even more vital when you just moved. Your cat might get overwhelmed by all the new space and the new smells. Find a room that you won’t mind having them in for a while, pop something down that smells of you and give them a little bit to get used to that room. When they feel more comfortable, they’ll come out to explore!
06: Find a friend (or adopt 2 together)
A cat that doesn’t want to be alone? It’s not a myth. It’s true! Cats actually do get lonely if they’re left on their own for long periods of time. Boredom can be such a pain for them. If you adopt a pair together, see how things go. They might be get on really well and be fine but then they could eventually get sick of each other. This could be the case if they’ve grown up together. You never know what it’s in a cat’s head!
Friends will keep each other company and provide entertainment for the other. Though they could end up being mischeivous so good luck! Haha!
If you’ve got an indoor cat, what advice do you have? If you don’t, would you consider getting one?