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Indoor cats live safer, longer lives than their outdoor counterparts, but an unstimulated cat can lead to destructive behavior, excessive sleeping, or unhealthy weight gain. These tips from Animal Wellness Magazine will ensure your kitty stays fit and happy, both physically and mentally.

1. Feed her a high quality, meat-based, grain-free diet, and don’t free feed.

Raw diets are the most biologically appropriate, followed by wet food diets. Having food available 24/7 encourages indoor cats to eat out of boredom, which can quickly lead to obesity. Feed your cat at set times during the day, and if the food isn’t eaten within half an hour, remove it. An interactive feeder will challenge your cat to work for her food, and make mealtimes more mentally and physically engaging.

2. Make sure she has fresh, clean water available all the time.

The air inside your home can get dry, especially during winter. If your cat doesn’t drink much water, consider buying a pet water fountain. Not only will it encourage her to consume more water (cats like moving water), but it will also give her something to watch and play with.

3. Play with your cat.

Interactive play is one of the best ways to keep your cat physically active. Just 15 minutes a day can make a big difference, and it can also help satisfy her natural hunting instincts. Encourage your cat to chase toys or laser lights to keep her active. Cats also love jumping into empty cardboard boxes, so a few of those will also peak her interest!

4. Make sure she has at least one durable scratching post.

Preferably one that is big enough for her to stretch full length along, scratching is an excellent exercise for cats, and will also prevent her from shredding your upholstery. Cat trees or cat condos are another great option to keep your kitty occupied, as many cats enjoy having a birds-eye view of their surroundings.

5. Try a feline window seat for your cat.

Indoor cats love to look outdoors, and a soft, comfy platform near a spacious, sunny window will soon become one of her favorite spots. Make the view even more captivating by situating a bird feeder on or next to the window ledge outside. Barkery kitty Willow loves the Kitty Window Bubble, available at your local Brookside Barkery!

6. Try giving your cat her own pot of cat grass.

You can also get these grass kits to grow on your own at the Barkery. Cats love fresh greens, and cat grasses such as oats, wheat, barley, and rye provide extra nutrition for your cat in the form of chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Your cat will love nibbling on the fresh blades!

7. Cat videos provide hours of entertainment.

Cats love to watch videos of birds, fish, insects, rodents, and other small critters. If you have an iPad, download one of the many apps for cats; they’re games that generate everything from virtual fish in ponds to mice in boxes, with or without sound effects. Load the game and put the iPad on the floor to provide loads of interactive fun for your kitty.

8. Give your cat some quality time every day.

Some people believe cats aren’t as affectionate as dogs, but most kitties love one-on-one attention from their favorite people. Take some time to stroke your cat, talk to her, or brush her. Make eye contact and slowly blink at her – in feline body language, slow blinking signals trust. You’ll find that spending quality time with your cat will relax you and strengthen your bond.