Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Indoor Cats Happy? 6 Ways to Entertain & Enrich Them

Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

cat resting and stretching at the window

Cats are often aloof when it comes to the relationships that we have with them. In fact, some people would even describe them as being notoriously fickle. But you also need to look at it from their point of view. Not always relying on their owners’ reassurance whenever they are in unfamiliar situations, is actually the reason why they have great survival instincts.

However, what about indoor-only cats? Are they happy? If cats are well looked after and have plenty of mental and physical stimulation, they can certainly be happy.

Read on below for some tips on how to keep your indoor cat happy.

Top 6 Ways to Keep Your Indoor Cat Happy:

1. Throw Some Love Their Way

person petting a cat
Photo Credit: Nitiphonphat, Shutterstock

Indoor cats are not any different from any other cat. Our indoor babies crave attention too. They won’t show it, or throw tantrums the way dogs do, but who wouldn’t be happy knowing for sure that their favorite human loves them?

Reminding your cat that you love them is simple. You could buy them some interactive play toys, pet them often, or just snuggle regularly. It’s quite frankly the little things that matter.


2. Get Them Neutered and Spayed

orange cat with veterinary cone
Image Credit: Sophie McAulay, Shutterstock

The benefits drawn from spaying or neutering any pet far outweigh the cons. Some of us are quick to forget that animals are driven by hormones the same way humans are. If you don’t spay or neuter your indoor cat, those hormones will compel them into some erratic behavior.

Spaying and neutering will keep your cat far safer, calmer, and even healthier, as this simple procedure can reduce and even eliminate several potential health issues.


3. Construct a Catio

long haired cat stretching in an outdoor catio
Photo Credit: SariMe, Shutterstock

A “catio” is just an enclosed patio or deck that’s been designed to cater to the needs of a cat. We know they’ll appreciate this feature because it will allow them to get some much-needed fresh air, without having to wear a leash. Our wild birds will be happy as well, seeing as they won’t have to worry about getting caught up in your cat’s crosshairs.

Building a catio isn’t difficult, as you can get plans online. But if you don’t trust your DIY skill, you could hire an experienced contractor or even buy a catio online.


4. Go for Walks Together

Lady walking cat with harness
Image Credit: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock

Cas love walks as much as dogs do. They are just not as common because people assume that cats can’t be trained to walk with leashes. We’re not even going to dispute the fact that it can be difficult to train our feline friends. But remember, the word “difficulty” has never been synonymous with “impossibility”.

You need to start training your cat at an early age. It’s still possible to train an adult cat, but you’ll have to be prepared to put in lots of work. Do not put a leash on them right off the bat. Start with a harness, and put it on for a short period only. When you sense that they are getting used to it, attach the leash.

Positive reinforcement is the perfect method of training here, as cats respond well to rewards. Don’t pull the leash on the first try, as this could spook them. Let them drag the leash around until they get used to it.

Once they’ve gotten used to it, hold the leash, and try to walk them around the house. Do this every day, until they understand the whole purpose of those accessories. Then go out and enjoy your walks.

If you’re searching for the perfect harness for your cat, we recommend our Cat Harness & Leash Set. The lightweight velvet and mesh harness features multiple adjustment points, quick-release buckles, and reflective stripes to keep your cat safe. Plus, it comes in five sizes to fit any cat and even includes a premium rope leash! 

Hepper Cat Harness and Leash Escape Proof Set -...
21 Reviews
Hepper Cat Harness and Leash Escape Proof Set -...
  • Escape Proof - Cat leashes and harnesses for walking aren't all equally secure. Our double aluminium...
  • Superior Comfort - Our cat harnesses are lightweight, made with premium velvet fabric, breathable...


5. Cat Trees

a blue-eyed devon rex cat on a cat tree
Image Credit: Veera, Shutterstock

Cats are apex predators. That means you’ll find them at the top of any food chain that they are a part of. Apex predators are never afraid of pursuing prey, even if it means scaling large heights. Cats need to climb.

If you don’t want them scratching the surfaces in your home while climbing, get them some cat trees. Those products vary in size and shape, so we’re pretty sure you’ll easily find something that complements your space or décor. You can take it to the next level by attaching several floating shelves around the house, to turn the space into a playground.

Or, if you're thinking of getting your cat something a little different, that entices play and looks like a modern piece of furniture in your home, you might think about giving our Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher a try! Its curved design targets a full range of motion, and with three height configurations and a durable design, you can be sure your cat is getting the exercise, height, and adventure they naturally desire. Click here to learn more about our innovative, functional, and funky, Hi-Lo cat scratcher. 

Hepper Hi-Lo Cardboard Cat Scratcher with Real...
22 Reviews
Hepper Hi-Lo Cardboard Cat Scratcher with Real...
  • Premium Materials - Hepper's cardboard scratcher is made with dense, B-flute cardboard, and a metal...
  • High, Low and Lower - A single cat scratch pad won't keep your cat engaged. 3 unique positions keeps...


6. Stop Door Dashing

cat sitting by the door
Image Credit: Lauren Hudgins, Pixabay

Now, this is certainly not going to be easy, as most cats are stubborn and intelligent. To deal with this issue, you first have to understand why cats love door dashing. From our experience, cats hate being left out of anything. When they hear sounds being made by their peers playing or hunting outside, they immediately want to be part of that.

Unfortunately, they are normally oblivious to the dangers that exist outside. Take coyotes, for example. While they are known to hunt small mammals such as rabbits, they wouldn’t hesitate to make a meal out of your baby.

If you’ve noticed your cat is developing this habit, you have to nip it in the bud as soon as possible. Make sure to provide adequate stimulation indoors and keep a close eye when exiting or entering your home.


7. Take Advantage of Catnip

cat sniffing catnip
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

Scientifically known as Nepeta Cataria, catnip is one of the most common herbs that are part of the mint family. Its flowers and leaves are usually used to make tea, cough medicine, or as the prime ingredient in the production of natural bug sprays.

How catnip affects cats is fascinating, to say the least. All cats are born with a vomeronasal gland, which is essentially an additional scent organ. Its purpose is to collect data (in the form of scents) and send the information to the brain for interpretation.

Catnip produces leaves that have Nepetalactone oil. When our feline babies are exposed to this oil or the scent, their behaviors instantaneously change. Your cat will start showing signs of over-affection, happiness, and relaxation. However, if they ingest too much of it, they are likely going to experience stomach upsets.

If your cat needs a great toy to get the playing started, we recommend our Hepper Catnip Stick Toy. These sturdy, dual-layer sticks are hand-made in the USA and filled with 100% organic catnip. Choose from a fun range of pastel colors and give your cat hours of playtime!

Hepper Stick Catnip Cat Kicker Toy
  • No Filler - Like all the best cat toys our is stuffed with 100% organic catnip. Cheap cat toys with...
  • Flexible Play - Simple plush shape is great for biting, scratching and pawing. It can start life as...


8. Get Them a Companion

two cats and several litter boxes
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Don’t leave your cat alone the whole day without a friend to play with. If you’re the type of person who’s always at work, get a second cat. Visit a rescue or shelter and adopt a second cat. Besides making your cat happy, you’ll also be saving a life.


9. Foster Their Hunting Habits

Burmese cat face before pounce hunting to toy mouse
Image Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock

Cats have to be one of the most curious beings on planet Earth. So, if you don’t ensure they have enough stimulation indoors, they’ll want to wander outside. Don’t only get them toys because they’ll likely eventually be bored of them.

Hide their favorite treats around the house and let them “hunt”. Alternatively, you could freeze the treats in a large ice cube and watch them go to work. Also, interactive wand toys are great for fostering your cat’s hunting instincts.


10. Build Some Bird Viewing Stations

cat sitting on windowsill while vocalizing with mouth wide open
Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

Birds are natural prey for cats and no matter how hard you try, you cannot completely get rid of that prey drive. But you can take advantage of it if you’re serious about ensuring your cat is always happy. Build a bird viewing station (or modified catio) that offers hours of viewing pleasure for your feline.

If you can’t build a station, move your bird feeders close to the window—just don’t forget to close the window!

Conclusion

Keeping an indoor cat happy is not a difficult task. Treat them the same way you’d treat any other cat, and you’ll always meet their every need. You need to try and replicate outdoor conditions inside to keep them healthy and happy. This includes cat trees, catios, and plenty of interactive play.


Featured Image Credit: Ondrej Hajek, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database