Wild World Kool Kat
For cats, the great outdoors are anything but great. Whether they live in the city, in the suburbs, or in the country, outdoor cats face.
Outdoor cats cause problems, too. They dig and defecate in neighbors’ yards, and as predators, they injure and kill a significant number of wild animals. Cats cannot be trained to ignore their natural hunting instincts. The only sure way to safeguard wildlife is to keep cats inside.
WHAT IS YOUR CAT MISSING FROM OUTDOORS.
Getting hit by a car, feline leukemia, attacks by dogs, poisoned food, pesticides, cat fights, fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses, getting lost, getting stolen, steel-jaw traps, human cruelty, gunshot wounds, puncture wounds, wild animal attacks, cold, rainy weather.
BENEFITS OF LIFE LIVING INDOORS
Free-roaming outdoor cats are at risk for a shortened life, while a cat that stays indoors or uses an enclosed catio may live up to 15 years or more. Indoor cats are usually healthier, too, which saves on veterinary bills for treatment of contagious diseases, parasites, and abscesses from fights with other animals. While it is true that cats enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, they do not need to go outside to be satisfied. Some creative planning on the part of their human guardians can help indoor cats live fully.
Obviously, it is best to keep a cat in from the beginning, especially if you are starting with a kitten or young adult. Most cats who grow up inside show no inclination to leave the safety of home.
ENRICHING A CATS INDOOR ENVIRONMENT
The great indoors, you can transform your living quarters into a veritable cat paradise. The more you give your cat to do, the happier she will be inside.
Double the space, double the cat’s pleasure. If your floor space is limited, you can expand upward with kitty condos or climbing trees. The taller models, especially those with multiple perches, make the most of vertical space and appeal to cats’ natural interest in heights.
Cats love to sun themselves and enjoy looking outdoors. Install perches or shelves to provide your cat with more windows of opportunity. Bird feeders placed near windows attract a variety of wildlife and engage the interest of indoor cats. Beware, however, of outdoor cats in your neighborhood who might endanger wildlife. If there are marauding felines in your yard, do not feed birds on or near the ground. Use only hanging feeders placed to give wildlife a clear view of their surroundings.
When the weather allows, leave windows open so your cat can get fresh air. Make sure that each window is securely screened so that the cat cannot fall or jump. Many cats enjoy chewing on grass and other plants. Garden centers and pet supply stores sell wheat or oat grass seed to be planted in small pots for indoor cats. Make sure the seed has not been treated with chemicals, and remove all potentially toxic plants from your cat’s environment.
TOYS ARE CATS LANGUAGE
The best way to get your cat moving is through interactive play. By encouraging her to pounce, leap, and run laps around the house, you can help your feline couch potato become an indoor athlete.
Often the best toys are the simplest. Cats love to chase catnip toys, ribbons or strips of fabric, and feathers dangled in front of them on wands or short poles.
Don’t discount the most available toys around the house. Most cats love to explore paper bags, boxes and baskets. They often find their own sources of amusement, so don’t be surprised if your cat ignores an expensive toy in favor of plastic milk jug rings, crumpled paper, or an old sock. The key is variety. Rotate favorites in and out of your cat’s toy box, and try hiding toys around the house for your cat to find over time.
Most cats can be totally happy living indoors – but owners need to put in the effort to provide for their environmental and behavioural needs.