By Dr Punith G*
Indoor cats have specific needs that differ from their outdoor counterparts
Cats are fascinating creatures that have captivated the hearts and minds of humans for thousands of years. Whether you’re a long-time cat owner or just starting to explore the world of feline companionship, understanding your cat’s behaviour is key to building a strong relationship with them. Indoor cats have specific needs that differ from their outdoor counterparts, and one crucial aspect of their well-being is their nutrition. This article will explore indoor cat behaviour and how proper nutrition can help support good behaviour and great health.
Indoor Cats’ Behaviour
Indoor cats, as the name suggests, are felines that live exclusively indoors. They typically spend their days lounging, playing, grooming and exploring their environment. Compared to outdoor cats, indoor cats tend to have a more predictable and structured lifestyle. However, this doesn’t mean that indoor cats don’t have unique needs that require attention. Outdoor access is difficult for indoor cats, leading to a lifestyle that might restrict their behaviour towards the outdoors.
One common issue that indoor cats face is boredom. Cats have a natural behaviour of hunting and they prefer to enjoy little raised areas. Without this stimulation, indoor cats can become restless and even depressed. This can lead to behavioural problems, such as aggression, scratching and excessive meowing. It’s important for indoor cats to have access to toys, scratch pads and other forms of mental and physical stimulation probes to keep them engaged and happy.
Another issue that indoor cats face is obesity. Without the opportunity to roam and hunt for their food, indoor cats may become sedentary and they tend to overeat. This can lead to a variety of health problems, such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Providing a healthy, balanced diet and encouraging exercise can help prevent these issues.
How To Feed Your Indoor Cats?
Cats are natural grazers. They have a different feeding routine where they nibble on small amounts of food at least 12–18 times a day and these fill the bowls throughout the day and may result in overfeeding as well. To avoid overfeeding, carefully measure each meal according to the serving guide on the packages. Cats can also learn to adapt to being fed several small measured meals a day. If you prefer this, feed your cat in small quantities and often throughout the day to keep their energy level up.
There are foods that are specially developed for indoor cats to ensure that your indoor cat is getting everything that is needed. These special diets have the following benefits which make them best suited for your indoor cats.
- Higher protein and lower calories to keep them lean and fit.
- A proportionate balance of essential minerals to ensure reduced health issues like urinary problems.
- Packed with nutrients that are essential for healthy skin and coat.
- High level of indigestible fibres to help prevent hairball formation and eases the excretion of hair eaten during the self-grooming process.
- Special fermentable fibres that work with good bacteria in the gut which reduces the foul stool smell.
- It is also important to make sure that your indoor cat has plenty of access to fresh and clean drinking water.
Exercise For Indoor Cats
Exercise for indoor cats is important. Here are a few things you can do to make a workout enjoyable for your pet — and get yourself involved too!
- Dedicate time to play every day — rolling a ball or dangling a “fishing” toy will keep your cat moving and also make you a part of their fitness regime.
- Climbing and scratching towers give your cat new heights to conquer and satisfy their curiosity to explore.
- Put some of their allocated food portions into a feeding ball so that your pet spends time playing with the toy to relish the tasty treat inside.
- Place food at the top of the stairs or climbing tower — you’ll be surprised at how willing your cat will be to climb if it means a tasty morsel in return!
- Consider options for letting your cat explore the great outdoors. Either a playpen, a fenced-off garden or a short walk on a lead can all help your cat to get more exercise every day.
With a little guidance from you, your indoor cat can be just as happy, healthy and entertained as one that is used to the outdoors.
Indoor cat behaviour is a complex topic that requires attention and care. Providing your indoor cat with a healthy, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs is crucial for promoting good behaviour and overall well-being. By understanding your cat’s unique needs and providing them with a supportive environment along with appropriate nutrition, you can help ensure that they thrive and live happily.
*(MVSc, Animal Nutrition) Asst. Product and Technocommercial Manager, Drools Pet Food Pvt Ltd.