Are indoor cats less happy than their outdoor friends?

Cats can happily adapt to life indoors, as long as you meet the specific needs of this type of lifestyle.

Seeing your cat peering out through a window, you can’t help but think she might be better off enjoying the great outdoors. However, allowing your cat to venture outside is not always possible. So does a life indoors mean she is any less content?

It’s true, life in a closed environment restricts her living space and stimulation. With less physical activity, she devotes more time to resting, grooming and eating. A lack of stimulation can lead to boredom or anxiety, while physical inactivity reduces her energy needs, slowing her digestion and increasing the risk of obesity by up to 40%. And as the seasons have less impact, she will moult continuously rather than in phases. This means she can ingest large amounts of fur during grooming, causing hairballs in the stomach.

Keeping her happy indoors

By creating an interactive environment, combined with care and good nutrition, it is possible to give your cat the same benefits of outdoor living, inside. Firstly, develop a living space that recreates life outside by offering access to different heights, areas to rest, and a feeding place far away from her litter tray.

Next, make sure you keep her stimulated. Play games with her and leave her activities while you’re away, such as a toy that dispenses lower calorie kibbles when manipulated. For ideas on toys and games, read our 'Which toys are best for my cat?' and 'Cat games to help with weight control' guides. Finally, keep her coat in check with regular brushing and a diet rich in fibre to help reduce hairball formation.

43% of the time, surgery is required to fix a problem of intestinal obstruction due to a hairball.
If she can’t nibble on grass, let her eat catnip. Many cats enjoy it, and it might also help her regurgitate hair swallowed during grooming.