How to Keep an Indoor Cat Happy

By Cathy M. Rosenthal | October 5th, 2022

An owner looks for ideas for his sole cat in his studio apartment

man petting cat Saletomic Dreamstime. For article on keeping an indoor cat happy

A cat owner is concerned that his indoor cat may be alone and bored while he’s at work. See what pet expert Cathy M. Rosenthal recommends on how to keep his kitty happy and content in this installment of My Pet World.

Dear Cathy,

I have an indoor cat under a year old. Can you tell me how I can and where to socialize her? I’m a 62-year-old man. It’s just her and me in a studio apartment. I work nights. I’m not supposed to bring her to my job. I do not have any other pets. I don’t want her to be alone without any recreation. I let her sit in the hall. She won’t let me put the harness or leash on her. Otherwise, I would walk her. I took her out in a Sherpa several times and walked her around town. I have toys for her and play with her a bit. What else can I do?

Wayne, Queens, New York

Dear Wayne,

Cats don’t need to be socialized like dogs. They are generally fine being the only cat in a family, especially if their humans give them lots of attention and playtime. You don’t have to take her anywhere, but walking her around town in a Sherpa carrier with its see-thru mesh sides is great if she enjoys it.

I don’t recommend leaving her in the hallway of your apartment building though. You never know how passers-by might scare or mistreat her. Instead, keep her in your apartment and expand her environmental stimulation there. Get her a window hammock, which she can nap in or enjoy the view. Get a tall scratching post for her to climb and scratch on. Leave the television on a nature channel when you’re at work. Buy toys – like a laser pointer, cat dancer, or a reel-type fishing toy – that encourage her to run and pounce. Consider buying automatic feeding dishes that you can program to turn on or open automatically, which might give her something to look forward to when you are at work.

In addition, play with her three times a day for 10 minutes each time. If you do all this, she should be a very happy and content feline.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist, and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. She addresses reader questions as diverse as outdoor cat safety to bizarre dog behavior. Send your pet questions, stories, and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.

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