Cat happiness...we've discussed whether your cat should be indoors or outdoors and the risks associated with both but now we seek to explore how happy a cat is that is confined to the home. House cat care is helping your cat to stay healthy and happy with cat toys and love. This isn't too difficult although there will be challenges at times.
It's a complicated matter because some indoor cats have anxiety-related problems; obsessive/compulsive disorders, cats that pull out their hair, separation anxiety, compulsive eating disorders, and various neuroses. You don't necessarily think of cat happiness. Some people think that because a cat self-feeds, self-waters, and is neat with his litter box, that it can also amuse itself. This is not necessarily true.
Cats are intelligent and active critters that need interaction and mental stimulation. It's up to you, the owner, to provide that. Make your home just as interesting as the attractions outside. Cat happiness will follow. Cat Toys are important to have available.
We have done several things to make the house more interesting for the cats. First, they are not alone. There are 6 of them. Now, that's not to say that they all get along. 2 cats, sisters from the same litter (the calicoes), get along most of the time and tend to stick on the same upper floor. The other 3 strays that were brought into the house at different intervals seem to have bonded well. So, they all have friends to play with and remain on the main level. The 6th stray is still being integrated and is on the lower floor.
The behavior to stay on one floor was enforced with the help of Invisible Fence. The system works by putting a collar on the offending cat, in our case Max, who kept trying to go upstairs. There is a unit that plugs into the wall and a collar that sends an electrical zap when the forbidden area is approached. It gives the cat a warning with a small beep first, then zap. Max decided he didn't like being zapped so it is no longer a problem hence he no longer wears the collar. If he starts trespassing by going upstairs again, the collar will be put back on him to reinforce the training.
Secondly, we obtained a perch with 3 levels and a cylinder bottom for one of them to hide in while the others try to make it come out. We have put in cat doors on two different terraces...(one for the two calico cats upstairs and one for the 3 cats on the main floor), and we have windows with beds in front of them so that they can lounge and look out at the birds. Of course, Coty can't resist jumping up into the skylight window to watch a blue jay that taunts her but she's the only one with that superb athletic ability. We've tried to make cat happiness a focus.
Coty and Max on a 3 tier cat tree (the lower level with the cylinder to hide inside is not visible in this photo)but notice the small cat door in the lower right view. This allows the cats on this level to go out onto a terrace where they can enjoy the weather outside.
House cat care and cat happiness needs a little imagination. You can rotate an assortment of cat toys like balls or different toys with feather-like appendages for your cat to play with. In our case, we have a yellow basket that they can see through (similar to the small plastic baskets at the grocery store when you only want a few things and the pushcart is too big) and it's kind of humorous watching Blaze with her body half in the basket trying to pick out a toy. Blaze tends to horde toys and they end up on the upper level by her bed. Periodically they have to be collected and returned to the basket.
I have found Pet Street Mall's variety and prices to be reasonably good. Or, choose something from other reliable vendors listed on the Pet Products page.
Or, below is a selection of favorites that my cats like which are at Amazon.com:
To achieve cat happiness, one of the most important things is to spend time with your cat. Petting it, brushing it gently, and holding it in your lap while if purrs. Some cats knead so much they may snag your clothes. We have an old towel (that's now a little pathetic looking) that we put on our laps so the towel gets shredded, not our clothing. If your cat isn't a lap cat simply pet it and talk to it soothingly while you brush it a little. I'll deal with cat brushes on another page.
Also take the time to spend a few minutes playing with your cat and one of it's toys...like throwing a small ball across the floor...or teasing with a "feathers on a cord" type of toy. Everyone has a different level of connection to their cats and we are well aware that having 6 cats cuts down on our individual time for each one. We try to be fair but I admit that like with children, the youngest (Chanel#5) gets more attention right now.