I’ll be blunt. I keep Pussa and Soph as indoor only cats and here are the reasons why:
- Results of Cat vs Vehicle contests. Despite their 9 lives when it comes to cat versus vehicle, it isn’t going to be the cat that comes out the winner. If you like stats, I read recently that 1 in 4 cats in the UK dies due to injuries from motor vehicles;
- I prefer healthy cats over ones with disease and illness. There are numerous communicable diseases that can be spread between cats such as Feline HIV, Peritonitis and Leukemia. While many are preventable by way of your regular vaccination regime further limit the chances of contracting disease by keeping your cats away from those in the rest of the neighbourhood. Other illness that can befall cats when they are left to roam outdoors are the ingestion of poisons placed in gardens or bushland or through eating plants (such as lilies, daffodils and aloe vera), and of course picking up ticks or fleas;
- I don’t want my cat to be the victim or the perpetrator of attacks involving other critters. Outdoor cats expose themselves to the likelihood of attack from other cats who are defending their territory, and some dogs who may have the inclination to pursue “prey” that they see as small and fast. Either way serious wounds, broken bones or trauma to your cat can be the result. Likewise, as a natural predator your cat will likely have some level of hunting instinct where it will pursue birds, small animals and reptiles. Certainly in Australia we have a significant challenge with feral cats attacking many species of our natural wildlife, and so don’t need to add to the problem with our domesticated cats.
Those who defend allowing their cats outdoors often do so on the basis that they don’t want to subdue their natural behaviours and they want to provide stimulus for their cat. Evolution of many species, including humans, shows adaption to changes in environment over time. With an estimated half a billion domestic cats on the planet they aren’t showing any signs of dying out regardless of the dulling of their natural hunting instincts through domestication. Certainly, mental stimulus in indoor cats can be an issue, but only if their natural behaviours aren’t replicated adequately inside. So,
Indoor cats can be Happy Cats…and here’s how:
- Make sure they have plenty of toys to keep them occupied, which is especially true if you are leaving them alone for long periods of time. As such, provide them with toys that they can play with by themselves, like our Fur Balls and Whole Box & Mice. They are light-weight which allows them to move quickly either on the floor or in the air, and are the right size to resemble small creatures that they would hunt in the wild;
- When you are at home…play with your cat. You wouldn’t come home and ignore your human child, so give your indoor cat some attention because they’ve been looking forward to it since you left. Even better if you can spend 5 to 10 mins playing with them with some interactive cat toys such as our Cat Teasers, or chasing a laser pointer (I never get sick of watching Pussa go after the red dot!);
- Make sure there is a cat scratcher always available so your cats can stretch and use their muscles while they maintain healthy claws. Face it, it’s either having a cat scratcher or they’ll hold the sofa to ransom;
- Give them access to windows. Windows are cat TV as they get mental stimulus from watching movement of what’s in the world be it birds, people, traffic, or bugs. Let common sense prevail by making sure there is no chance of them falling out of a partially open window, and if you have blinds that they can’t get tangled up in the cords;
- Provide numerous areas for your cats to sleep, especially if it’s a multi-cat household. Consider a variety of options from those that are more enclosed like our Cat Cot or Slumber Yard, to something more open like our Feline Futon. That way whatever mood they are in can be catered for!
- Bring some outside inside. Try to have some plants around your home which are cat-friendly like Cat Grass (wheat grass), Catnip, Basil, Mint, Coriander and Parsley all of which have distinct aroma that your cat will find stimulus from.
At Cat Habitat HQ we are lucky enough to have a large balcony space which both Pussa and Soph love to be out on to sunbake and feel the wind in their fur. However, if they are outside so is one of the Pet Parents to prevent unwanted escapes and maintain equilibrium amongst all species.