Some people think cats are only happy if they have a wide and varied outdoor territory to patrol. If you live in a city, or have no garden, this may dishearten you, but cheer up! It isn’t true! Simply playing regularly with your kitty will fulfill most of her exercise and hunting instincts! Here are my top tips based on 5 years of looking after Oakley

1) It’s best to start when your pet is just a kitten. If they grow up indoors, they may never particularly want to venture out.

2) If possible, providing even a tiny bit of outdoor space (a small terrace, a screened balcony etc) may be enough. Just make sure your cat can’t climb out and possibly fall, or otherwise come to harm. Because animals may try to come IN to the space, you should always be there when your pet is ‘outside’. This is the favorite resource for Oakley, who enjoys nothing more than 30 minutes in the sun on a hot day. Beware of toxic plants, escape routes, or other dangerous things that could harm your kitten.

3) try taking your cat out on a leash. If the area is quiet, you cat may enjoy this. Just remember that if you come across any dogs, you are likely to become a ‘human tree’ for your cat to run up! As a rule, cats don’t like leashes, but if you start early enough, they can be trained to it.

4) Treat your cat to a ‘cat tree’. Cats love to climb (Oakley does!) and it’s great exercise for them.

5) Be sure to play with your cat every day. The best ‘lures’ are always the home made variety. You cat will much prefer to chase an old bit of cloth on a string that YOU have made for her, rather than an expensive shop-bought mouse or some such. This is just a way for your cat to show affection too – they really do value your efforts to entertain and exercise them!

6) A single cat is never as happy as a cat with company. Even on a tight budget, 2 cats cost little more than 1 to keep, and they will both be happier as a result!

7) Hygiene – clean the litter tray and food bowls every day – cats are fastidious, and after all, how would YOU like to eat from a plate that hadn’t been washed up, or use a toilet that hadn’t been flushed?!

8) Don’t forget collars. If your cat should get out, a collar is the surest method of getting her back. Oakley likes to ‘shed’ her collar regularly – never give a cat a hard time about this – it’s just a little game they enjoy. If you can afford it, get your cat ‘chipped’. This makes it much easier to reunite you in extremis.

That’s about it for now! If you have enjoyed these tips, or they are useful to you, please feel free to vote for Oakly – is the link. It doesn’t cost anything, and you will be supporting animal charities including my favorite cat charity too!

About The Author

Mary Dwightman has 4 cats, aged between 2 and 5. The oldest, ‘Oakley’, is entered in the Grand Prize 2007, and you can vote for her here