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How to care for house cats

Cats are popular household pets. Some can be highly independent outdoor animals, and others are kept as house cats. House pets have the same needs as cats who can go outdoors, but there are some specific things to consider if your cat is to be kept inside.

House cats

The term 'house cat' usually refers to an animal that is kept exclusively indoors around the home, rather than being allowed to roam outside. There are a number of reasons why a cat may be kept indoors. Their home may be close to a main road, or may be a city centre flat with no outside access. Some people choose to keep their animal indoors if they are a rescue cat, and other cats may need to stay inside due to injury or illness.

Diet

A house cat will typically get far less exercise than a cat who can explore outside. You will need to keep a close eye on what you feed your pet to ensure that they do not get overweight. There are low-calorie foods available which should be considered if your pet is prone to getting fat. An indoor cat does not get the opportunity to eat vegetation, such as grass, which is normally consumed by cats outdoors. There are foods available that are specifically designed for indoor cats with this in mind. You could also provide your cat with access to a tray of 'kitty grass' on a windowsill in the home.

Exercise and entertainment

An indoor cat should be encouraged to get as much exercise as possible. Often if there is only one cat in a household, or limited space in the house, a cat may get in a routine of spending much of their day 'cat napping' around the home. Provide your cat with a range of toys and activities to stimulate their natural behaviour, and try to put aside time to play with your pet. Something as simple as a piece of string can provide your cat with hours of entertainment if you involve yourself in the game. Cardboard boxes, ping-pong balls and toilet rolls can all be used as makeshift cat toys, and can improve your cat's life. There are a huge range of toys available from most pet suppliers. Access to different levels, and scratching surfaces are also important.

Litter

One part of having an indoor cat is the need to provide a litter tray. There should be a minimum of one litter tray per cat. It is important to clean these out regularly, to reduce odour, and to ensure that your cat does not decide to use another part of your house as a bathroom.

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