Many pet owners choose to keep their beloved cats indoors. Often this is due to concerns over nearby busy roads, bullying neighbourhood cats, illnesses or unwanted pregnancies. But living indoors can mean your cat is unable to exhibit his or her natural behaviour and can lead to them becoming stressed or aggressive. Fortunately, some breeds are better suited as indoor cats and living with families, and there are actions you can take to help your cat feel at ease inside your home.
What cats make the best indoor cats?
While all cats need some level of mental and physical stimulation to be happy, some are better suited than others to a life indoors. Of course, with restricted access to external stimulation, indoor cats will demand more of your time for affection, play and grooming.
- British Shorthair: Highly intelligent but are happy to stay inside provided they can play with toys and people
- Cornish / Devon Rex: these perpetual kittens are highly sociable and like to play at hunting
- Sphynx: these cats are hugely sociable and love regular play and affection. They also need a lot of grooming to care for their hairless skin.
Which breed of indoor cat is the friendliest?
A cat that stays indoors is one who should exhibit friendly behaviour. Such breeds are more likely to enjoy frequent social interaction and so be happy to share his or her living space with other people and pets. The following cats are known for their loyalty, love of affection (be it play or grooming) and are much more tolerant of people:
- Moggy: these mixed breeds can vary in their personality but are normally very loyal once they are settled and very happy to live indoors when they receive sufficient attention
- Persian: relaxed but used to being spoiled; the more you groom them, the more affectionate they will become
- Ragdoll: one of the most trusting breeds of new people and are low maintenance except for frequent affection
- Siamese: one of the gentlest breeds, they make excellent family pets because they are tolerant of children and enjoy exploring their surroundings.
Which are the hypoallergenic cat breeds?
Approximately 10% of people are allergic to cats, yet they are the UK’s second-most-popular pet after dogs. As such there are plenty of cat owners who, despite their allergy, still long to live with a pet cat. Fortunately, hypoallergenic cat breeds are those that are less likely to cause an allergic response. These include: Balinese, Bengal, Russian Blue, Siberian, and the Sphynx.
How do you keep an indoor cat happy?
Indoor confinement can reduce your cat’s ability to express their natural behaviour and restrict their opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation, all of which can cause your cat to feel stressed. Therefore, it is important to find ways to improve your cat’s indoor environment:
- Scratching posts– not only will scratching posts help save your furniture, but they allow for natural behaviour to be exhibited and help maintain claw condition.
- Think height – cats enjoy being up high, so they can avoid any perceived threats. Cat trees with perches or shelves help provide security.
- Security and space – indoor cats are space restricted, so respect their personal space to avoid stress. Provide secure sleeping areas where they can relax alone.
- Opportunities for play – cats love to chase, so fishing rod toys or small cat safe balls are perfect to encourage exercise. Small prey like toys can be used to help mimic natural behaviour and feeding balls can be used to encourage activity. Rotate the toys available to them to alleviate boredom.
- Social interaction – take time to interact with your cat via grooming or play but read your cat’s body language as each cat will vary with their need for interaction.
- Multiple resources – reduce stress in multi-cat households by offering multiples of key resources – litter trays, food and water bowls, scratching posts and sleeping areas.
Also, boredom may lead to increased attention to food and over-sleeping, resulting in weight gain. Using puzzle feeders or mazes helps slow down your cat’s consumption and provides mental stimulation. If they struggle to regulate their own food intake, choose a meal diet which contains less fat to suit the lower activity levels of housecats.