Four tips for a happy indoor cat

With more local governments imposing strict cat curfews and owners valuing the health and safety benefits of keeping cats indoors,  just how do you keep those contained kitties stimulated and happy?

1. Sensory buzz

Dust a large paper bag with catnip to create a mini paper paradise.  No catnip?  You will likely have basil, thyme, dill and cinnamon in your pantry which many cats love too.

2. Put them on a toy diet

Cats get bored too and even a favourite toy can become ho-hum if it’s always around.  Try putting that special toy away for a few days and notice the renewed interest when it emerges again.  In the meantime, a small bell rolled into a couple of old socks may make a happy substitute.

3. Food fun

Turn eating into an adventure. Cats love to explore a cardboard feeding ball filled with tasty treats.  An old cardboard egg container will make a ready-made puzzle for a curious cat.  You can create a scavenger hunt by placing strong-smelling treats in hard-to-get-to spots around the house.  Just don’t forget where you put them!

4. Sleeping high

Create new places for your cat to snooze.  Find safe and unused spots on shelves or high furniture and add some old toweling, jumpers or bedding to form a cosy, enclosed platform.

Our thanks to the folk at SafeCat where we picked up these hacks where they have many more ideas for keeping indoor kitties stimulated and happy.

The ‘wet’ brings a threat for northern cats

Keep cats dry in the ‘Wet’

The water and muddy conditions during the Northern Australian ‘wet’ brings an increased threat of a dangerous disease for cats.

Melioidosis (pronounced mel-ee-oi-doh-sis) is caused by bacteria that live in the soil and ground water. Cats are infected through cuts or scratches or by breathing in contaminated water droplets.

It can cause symptoms in like fever, loss of appetite or swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes infected animals will show few symptoms at all before becoming fatally ill.

Melioidosis is difficult to treat, requiring careful diagnosis and long course of antibiotics. It is often fatal.

Humans, livestock and other domestic animals in tropical regions commonly catch Melioidosis, too.

What can you do to protect your cat?

Fortunately, Melioidosis is rare in healthy cats.

Prevention is the best strategy:

  • Provide your cat with a place to live and sleep that is dry and away from soil.
  • Provide an ample supply of clean drinking water, water that is approved for human consumption.
  • Keep cats away from faeces and dead animals in the environment.
  • Keep cats in or close to home. Cats that live in a domestic environment are less likely to become infected than cats that roam widely.

As well as protecting your cat, take care to protect yourself. Melioidosis infects people too so protect your feet and hands when working in wet or muddy conditions. Take care when handling sick or deceased cats. Experts recommend commercial cremation where that is available.

As with other conditions, watch out for any changes in your cat’s habits or behaviour and, if you are concerned, contact your vet.


If you want to find out more, check out

Overview of Melioidosis  Jodie Low Choy, BVSc, BVMS, IVAS Cert, Menzies School of Health Research; University Avenue Veterinary Hospital, Northern Territory, Australia