Enrich your cats life.
I don't recommend that you allow your cat to roam. The risks of injury and death are just too great for that option. There are other excellent options for keeping your cats stimulated and interested in life.
Catios are wonderful ways to expand your cats territory. They can provide interesting safe activities like playing chase in the grass, rolling in the gravel, watching wildlife, eliminating outdoors. These cat spaces can be elaborate areas for you and your cat to lounge or modest window units that still provide external experiences. More on Catio design in future blog posts.
Harness and Leash walking.
You may not think your cat will enjoy being walked on a leash but many extroverted cats love getting out in the yard and smelling the various scents outdoors. Once you train your cat to wear a harness you can keep them safe on the deck or patio as you enjoy the warm weather together. More on how to leash train your cat in future blog posts.
Pet Backpacks and Strollers
Some people laugh when I suggest these options but it can be a create activity to for you and your cat. Most cat don't cover a lot of ground when they walk on a harness and leash but by adding a pet backpack or stroller you can enjoy your walk, maybe include the cat when you take the dog out, and you provide an interesting new adventure for your cat. These outings can get your cat comfortable with leaving the house and make traveling or even vet visits less stressful.
Cats are smart and most will quickly learn to perform behaviors on command if you give them the right incentives. Teaching your cat with the use of a clicker sound and the principles of reward based training can help make your cat a model family member. Clicker training can give you and your cat a common language so you can help them understand the things you want them to do and help fade those unwanted behaviors. The sound of a clicker marks the behavior that will get a cat a valued reward. Once the cat learns the basics they can be taught to stay off the counter or to give you a high five. More on how to clicker train your cat in future blog posts.
Most cats are natural athletes but don't get to enjoy the physical challenges they would find if they lived outdoors. One way to help them exercise those skill, keep them healthier and bond with them in a profound way, is with cat agility training. If you are not familiar with the concept it is common in the dog world where many working breeds get a chance to compete against the clock running a challenge course. The same types of challenges can be applied to your cat. You can start training your very own Ninja warrior cat. You may hope to compete or to just to have fun at home, but cats love this activity.
You can add a healthy option for your cat by growing cat grass or cat nip for them to rub and chew on, especially if the do not get time outside on a leash or in a catio. There are some options for growing greens indoors for your cat, wheat grass, rye grass, barley, oat, catnip. You might try planting a variety and finding out what your cat likes.
Not all cats like all greens, and you might want to limit their access to the plant material at first if they tend to over indulge and then vomit. Most cats will learn to regulate their consumption once the novelty wears off.
Cats are hunters and they enjoy working for their meals. You can help satisfy their natural desire to hunt by getting rid of the bowl of food and giving them a more challenging, interactive feeding options. There are commercial feeders that allow you to promote active food retrieval. You can also make fun containers by re-purposing household items like yogurt containers and paper towel rolls. More about Interactive Feeders in future blog posts.