In the endless debate on the merits of keeping cats indoors, or outdoors, or indoors AND outdoors, one of the most common arguments against keeping cats permanently inside is that they’ll get bored. Here are a few tricks and treats used by Jill Behpour of Concord, Ca., to keep that from happening. She has two brother cats that have lived happily inside ever since they were kittens.
- Play with the cats a couple of times a day; laser pointer, rattle toy on wand, rolling balls.
- Play videos of birds for them. Play other videos that capture their interest. One cat likes to watch horses, the other will watch dogs. One likes the Muppets on Sesame Street, seeing them as prey (maybe he’s learning something, too).
- Buy grass for them to eat at the grocery store (cheaper than at the pet store and similar).
- One cat loves boxes. Put a new box out for him to curl up in. Vary the sizes. He got stumped by a Kleenex box!
- Place cat in a sturdy bag and carry him around, talking to him. It’s like an amusement park ride for him!
- If there’s a bug inside they can see but not reach, knock it down for them. They satisfy their hunting cravings this way, and we have 68% fewer bugs around!
- One cat loves to "help me make the bed" by sitting in the middle of the bed while I place the sheet and covers over him. Then we play, "where’s kitty?" as he is under the covers in a big lump, hiding.
- Always have a place for them to sit or lie in front of a window or windows, so they can see and hear outside. Make sure the windows are locked and screens securely fastened!
- Always provide them with lots of love and sweet words and tons of petting. If you pay them enough attention, they may lose their appetite for the not-so-great outdoors, and put their focus back in the household.