What is the Best Cat Food for Your Indoor Cat?

Dr. Martha G. Cline, DVM, DACVIM
By Dr. Martha G. Cline, DVM, DACVIM
Updated: 5/13/20242-4 minutes
grey cat eating from bowl

The lifestyle of most indoor cats is different from those who spend time outside. Although your cat certainly experiences a comfortable and enjoyable life within the walls of your home, chances are that they are less active than outdoor cats, and therefore, more prone to health issues such as obesity. 

In addition to keeping your indoor cat stimulated and active, diet is an essential element to help your feline family member live a happy, healthy life. With this in mind, what is the best food for indoor cats? 

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats: Do They Need Different Food?  

What do indoor cats need? To support optimal health, a food specially formulated for indoor cats is a smart choice. These special diets are specially formulated to support your indoor cat, with benefits including:  

  1. High in protein and lower in calories to help indoor cats avoid becoming overweight 

  2. Essential minerals balanced to help reduce the risk of urinary problems and other health issues   

  3. Nutrients that nourish a healthy skin and coat 

  4. Natural fiber that helps hair eaten during grooming to pass through the digestive system, to help prevent hairballs 

  5. Highly digestible ingredients that make litterbox cleanup easier

What to Feed Indoor Cats 

If you decide to feed a formula for indoor cats, you’ll find a number of options to choose from. Purina indoor cat food formulas provide a wide variety of quality products, including trusted Pro Plan brand and Cat Chow brand formulas. With so many alternatives, you’re sure to find one that’s right for your cat.  

To accompany a nutritious indoor cat food, make sure you provide your indoor cat with access to fresh, clean water.

How to Feed Indoor Cats 

Although as natural grazers, cats will nibble on dry food throughout the day if it’s available; overfeeding can be a concern. Especially if you don’t monitor food intake closely or have multiple cats free feeding from the same bowl.  

To avoid overfeeding, a better approach is to feed scheduled meals, and serve measured portions that align with the feeding guide on the food package. You can also ask your veterinarian for specific feeding recommendations. Be vigilant for signs of weight gain, or weight loss if you have multiple cats feeding, to make sure your cat maintains a healthy weight.     

If you’re concerned that your indoor cat is gaining weight, talk to your veterinarian about a healthy weight cat food.

Indoor Cat Exercise 

A properly nutritious diet is one component of a healthy lifestyle for an indoor cat. Stimulation and exercise are also essential elements in the equation for how to keep an indoor cat happy.  

Here are some ways you can incorporate a fun bit of workout into your indoor cat’s day: 

  1. Dedicate time to play every day. This can be as simple as rolling a ball or dangling a “fishing” toy—things to keep your cat moving and give you an active part in your cat’s fitness. 

  2. Incorporate climbing and scratching towers into your home to allow your cat to satisfy their instinctual urge to occupy elevated spaces and explore new ones.  

  3. Put some of your cat’s food portions into interactive feeder toys, to make mealtime more engaging. 

  4. Give your cat a special challenge, such as placing food at the top of the stairs or a climbing tower. It’s an irresistible motivator to entice your cat to get some extra exercise. 

  5. Look beyond your house walls to discover ways to let your cat explore outdoors. A playpen, a fenced-in yard space or a short walk in a safe harness at the end of a leash can all help your cat to get more daily exercise.  

For more engagement ideas to add enrichment for your cat, check out the myPurina app.

With a Bit of Extra Care, Your Indoor Cat Can Be a Healthy Cat 

Choosing the right diet for your cat’s indoor lifestyle and making a commitment to some creative exercise options are two ways to make a big difference in your cat’s well-being. By focusing some extra attention on these two aspects of your indoor cat’s life, you can help your feline housemate to be just as happy, healthy and stimulated as a cat whose territory extends to the outdoors. 

For more expert tips on feeding your cat, explore our other cat feeding articles.

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