What is the best way to care for indoor cats?

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Answered by: Mary, An Expert in the Caring for Cats Category
Cats have been a companion for humans for more years than we can count, and have risen the ranks of society to become one of the most popular pets for today's time, with no sign of stopping any time soon. A common question over the years has been how to care for indoor cats, instead of the great outdoors like their more adventurous counterparts. Cats have natural instincts that don't go away when they are bred indoors so it's important to foster their tendencies to hunt and play.

One of the most important things to take note of when caring for cats is their diet, which needs to mimic what they are meant to eat outside - meat, fish and plants. Thankfully, there are several products on the market that help your kitty get the most nutrients available without tasting like chemicals, and come in both dry and soft food. Kittens need to eat more than adult cats, so make sure you're feeding them 2-3 cans a day of wet food or approximately two cups of dry food; adult cats can eat what is recommended by a vet or the company providing the food, especially if there are special diet requirements. Always remember lots of fresh water throughout the day and when you leave the house for extended periods of time.

Cats are also natural hunters, bred over the years to capture their prey for food. This instinct will develop early on as kittens and will continue on into adulthood, so it's important to let your pet know that there are appropriate ways to "hunt" in your house without making them feel like less of an animal. Empty boxes and dark corners provide adequate shadows for your cat's imagination and will mimic a natural environment outdoors. Make sure you also give them plenty of one-on-one time several times a week to promote bonding with your cat; playing fetch and dangling a piece of string for them to jump at are good ways to engage their predatory instincts and show that you care about their well-being.

It's also important to pay attention to what your cat is telling you through body language and sounds; much like babies before they learn to speak, you will soon learn to interpret your cat's noises and posture to keep them happy. Perhaps your cat prefers dry food in the morning and wet at night, or likes a certain way you pet her - she will definitely make actions to show you what she likes and dislikes. Cats generally love to be pet around the face and ears, while the stomach is generally an off-limits zone. Paying close attention to your cat's signals is what makes them happy in the long run.

These are just a few of the many ways to care for indoor cats, and a lot of what you will learn about care will come from your cat herself. Trust your instincts and make sure all aspects of your cat's life are taken care of at all times to ensure a happy relationship for years to come.

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