Many cats lives outside as well as inside, but in some circumstances, an owner may need to keep their cat inside. This could be due to illness, individual differences, or even lifestyle constraints – such as living on the third floor, without any outside access.

Cats can live indoors very happily, particularly if they’ve been inside since they were kittens, but they do have some particular requirements. As they don’t have access to the outdoors, owners should ensure their indoor cats are stimulated and still lead an active lifestyle.

Read on to find out what a house cat needs for their health and happiness.

Provide the right equipment

There are a few things that all cats need, whether they go outside or not, such as food and water bowls and a litter tray. If your cat lives solely indoors, however, there are a few more things you may need to provide for their health and happiness.

A scratching post will help them test your house cat’s claws (and may keep them from scratching the furniture). They could also benefit from a range of toys to help keep them stimulated. Indoor cats should also have access to most of the house, not just a small part, as being confined to one place may make them bored.

Encourage exercise

If your cat lives indoors, they are likely to get less exercise than their outdoor counterparts. This is because outdoor cats will spend much of the day climbing and hunting, whereas indoors cats have less opportunity to do so.

If your cat doesn’t get an adequate amount of exercise, they are more at risk of putting on unwanted weight. An overweight cat is more likely to have weight-related health conditions. To help your house cat stay active, make sure you play with them regularly, and encourage games that involve running, pouncing and chasing. Additionally, ensure that their food portions are suitable for their activity levels.

Create a stimulating environment

If your cat lives indoors, they are likely to get less exercise than their outdoor counterparts. This is because outdoor cats will spend much of the day climbing and hunting, whereas indoors cats have less opportunity to do so.

If your cat doesn’t get an adequate amount of exercise, they are more at risk of putting on unwanted weight. An overweight cat is more likely to have weight-related health conditions. To help your house cat stay active, make sure you play with them regularly, and encourage games that involve running, pouncing and chasing. Additionally, ensure that their food portions are suitable for their activity levels.

Let them experience the outside safely

Even if your cat can’t go outside, they may enjoy experiencing the great outdoors in a safe way. Make sure they have access to a windowsill or similar, as many indoor cats like to perch safely and look out the window.

It is also possible to open a window and put mesh over it (these window guards are available from some pet shops) so your house cat can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors.

Choose a specially-formulated indoor cat food

Cats who live indoors may benefit from a specially formulated indoor cat food, such as Purina One Indoor Formula.

Cats who live indoors are likely to have more hairballs than those who also live outside, and their energy requirements are likely to be different. Purina One Indoor Formula contains fibres to help carry hair away from the stomach and an adapted protein/fat ratio, as well as all the nutrients they need to support their health.