There has been an increase in cat owners across the UK since lockdown began with an estimated 7.5 million cats part of household families across the UK.
Many people get a pet to keep them company. For those living in apartments, an indoor cat may seem like a great choice of furry friend – and those warm cuddles will be very welcome as we head into winter.
However, having a cat live in an apartment is different from a cat that has ample space in a house. There are measures you can take to prepare your flat for your incoming cat. We have spoken to Ele Hacheme, Cat Nutrition expert at the Republic of Cats to give us the top tips on how to prepare your apartment for your new feline friend:
Find a good vet
When you are looking to adopt a cat or kitten – no matter their age, you need to find your new cat a good reliable vet.
Your cat will need a yearly check up and your vet will be able to look out for signs that owners may not notice within their cat that may need attending to – especially for first time cat owners.
The best thing to do is be prepared and know that if you need a vet you have one ready to take your furry friend to.
We know – there’s a lot of news about vaccines right now – but your cat’s vaccines are important for their health and wellbeing.
Though your indoor cat is less likely to pick up viruses found outdoors, you should still make sure your cat has the relevant up to date vaccinations and booster jabs.
For indoor only cats, cat nutrition expert, Ele Hacheme, says to “make sure your cat has the cat flu and feline enteritis vaccinations. If you plan to let your cat go outdoors they will need others, such as the vaccine against feline leukaemia (FeLV).”
Your vet will be able to tell you any relevant vaccines necessary and can suggest any treatment your new cat may need e.g. deworming, de-flea treatment etc. From here, you will be able to make a fully informed decision about what is best for your cat’s wellbeing.
When adopting a cat, it is important for both your furniture and your feline friend that you have at least one scratching post (ideally 2-3) around the flat. These give cats a place to play on, and most importantly to keep their claws in the best condition.
Scratching can help remove material under their claws and also stop their claws getting too long and uncomfortable. Scratching posts are even more important for indoor cats, who have less opportunity to scratch rougher materials than cats who spend time outdoors, climbing trees and so forth.
Water on the move
We have all seen the videos of cats licking and flicking water as it cascades down from a tap. This is because some cats prefer running water to that in a bowl.
Though outdoor cats still need an in-home water supply, outdoor cats tend to find water sources to drink from when out and about. This is because many cats like to drink from running water sources.
Running water bowls are therefore a good option if you are worried your indoor cat isn’t drinking enough. We also find that each cat is different so some may prefer deeper bowls whilst others prefer shallow bowls to drink from – you may want to try a few different variations of bowls to see which your cat specifically likes best.
Another tip is to try to move your cat’s water bowl away from the rest of its food – this is because cats are natural hunters and they sometimes prefer to drink water away from where they eat their food.
Do not worry too much if your cat is not lapping up an entire bowl of water in front of you. Cat’s wet food should provide a lot of the moisture needed in their diet – Republic of Cats’ wet food is designed specifically to help with your cats hydration.
Cat-proof your balcony
If you are welcoming a new cat into your home and plan to keep them indoors but you have a balcony or raised outdoor space, you will want to make sure this space is as cat-proof as possible for your furry friend’s safety.
If you rent, you can talk to your landlord about getting this installed, or you can find options online to put a temporary screening. You will want to make sure there are no gaps that your cat can climb or fall through.
Toys are not just for our doggy pals, cats also need toys to occupy their active minds – and this goes especially for indoor cats. Outdoor cats have a lot more to explore and intrigue them, but an indoor cat will need toys and challenges even more so to keep their minds active.
A cat can feel down or depressed if not kept entertained so challenge toys such as interactive treat mazes and treat circuits are great options to invest in when bringing home your new cat.
If your apartment is not particularly big, you may want to consider investing in a cat wheel, or some form of cat exercise equipment for your new furry friend. Cats have more energy than people may realise and they need space to run around and release that energy if they are to be kept indoors.
It is also important to remember that, though cats may want their alone time (don’t we all), most cats do want cuddles and strokes from their humans. They also really enjoy playtime with their humans too, whether this be playing with string or sitting with them as they get used to a new toy.
Private litter area
Whether you choose to get a covered litter tray or not, it’s a good idea, if possible, to put your cat’s litter tray in a more private area of your home – as long as this area is easily accessible for your cat at all times.
Covered litter trays are good for both cat and owner as the odor from the tray is usually kept within the box until emptied. The covered trays also give your cat more privacy – let’s be honest, none of us want to be doing our business with a full audience.
It can be hard in an apartment to mask a strong smell, but you can find animal-friendly diffusers or oils that you can either plug in or place around the area where your cat’s litter tray is (though we suggest not around their food as the smell can put them off). Just make sure they are cat-friendly before you buy as several essential oils can be harmful to our furry friends e.g. eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon, citrus and pine.
Republic of Cats’ food plans help your beloved pet have a healthier digestive system, which will in turn help with that litter tray whiff.
Comfy sleeping spots
Cats love a good sleeping spot – and though they may choose one spot they like to begin with, cats love to have several comfy spots around the home to snuggle up for a nap. When bringing a new cat into the home, make sure you have plenty of comfy spots – blankets and beds, for them to sleep on. Warm spots near radiators are usually a good bet.
Cats love to look out of windows so, if possible in your flat, try to place a comfy bed for them up on a shelf or somewhere where they can watch the world – and birds, go by.