The great outdoors? You may want to reconsider this phrase when it has to do with your cat. There are lots of risks which cats face when living outdoors regardless of the location, be it in the country, suburbs, or city. Most of these cats face fatal conditions like contagious diseases.
They are also victims of accidents especially when they have a predator running after them. You definitely don’t expect the cat to check the road before crossing in such a situation. Other forms of danger to a cat include the following;
- Theft of pets
- Inhumane treatment
- Leg-hold traps
Overlooking the dangers outdoor cats face, they can also be a source of problems in the environment. Some problems which are common with the presence of outdoor cats include;
- Hunting of other wild animals
- Digging up yards
- Defecating around the neighborhood
Since it is impossible to cut off a cat from its natural hunting instincts, then training it as an indoor cat is the most effective way to solve this problem.
What is your indoor cat missing out on?
If you want to know about some of the important things your cat is missing out on by staying indoors, here is a list:
- Human cruelty
- Cold weather
- Feline leukemia
- Getting lost
- Wounds from gunshots
- Attacks from wild animals
- Steel-jaw traps
- Being run over by a car
- Food laced with poison
- Dog attacks
What are the advantages of an indoor life for a cat?
One of the most important benefits which an indoor cat enjoys is a long lifespan of over 15 years. In the case of an outdoor cat, the lifespan is a lot shorter due to various factors including:
- Exposure to parasites
- Animal fights leading to abscesses
- Contraction of diseases
You also amass a lot of savings on the cat veterinary bills since the chances of any of the above happening to an indoor cat is significantly lower.
Although exercise, fresh air, and sunshine are necessary to keep a cat happy, it doesn’t translate to letting the cat outdoors. As a cat owner, making a few additions after careful planning can help the cat get all the necessary requirements for a satisfying life.
It is understandable that when raising a cat, especially as a kitten, you should raise it indoors. By following this method, the cat will grow into an adult without lusting to explore the world outside. On the other hand, a cat that knows a little about life outdoors will cause a lot of problems when it gets older. It will take advantage of every opportunity to run out the door, it will keep yowling, and also claw at the windows around the home. The good news is that it is possible for an outdoor cat to become satisfied with living indoors. The only problem is that this will require a lot of patience and time on your part.
How to go about the transition to an indoor cat
The process of bringing a cat which is accustomed to living outdoors into a house is a transition that should be done gradually. This is a common suggestion from most cat behaviorists. You should increase the time a cat spends indoors if it normally spends most of its time outdoors regularly. A good time to start increasing the indoor visits is during the winter period. Since cats usually like to be in a place which is dry and warm, then this is a good opportunity to groom them for an indoor life.
Constructing an enclosure outside the house can be helpful in providing access to restricted outdoor areas. You can place toys, perching platforms, tree limbs, and boxes for entertainment.
Leash-training is another option for cat owners. It allows the cats to enjoy outdoor walks under supervision. To make sure the cat doesn’t escape from the leash, it is better to get a figure-H or figure-8 harness. While it is necessary to wear a safety collar with an ID tag on the cat, do not hook the leash to this collar. It will take some time for the cat to get used to the harness. The process should be a gradual one. You should start by making the cat wear the harness indoors for short periods before connecting the leash later on. As the cat gets accustomed to the leash, you can then go for short walks outdoors.
What do you need to do to make your indoor cat happy?
How you will cater to its various needs is an important consideration before deciding to train your cat indoors. In addition to providing warmth, water, and food, you should also remember that a cat needs to explore, play, and hunt. Although it requires commitment and time, it is possible to cater to the behavioral needs of a cat through a regular daily routine.
Let the cat burn its excess energy
As a naturally athletic animal, cats usually have an excess of energy which they need to burn. Since there is a limit to what they can play with indoors, then getting a number of toys will be very helpful.
They also come in various shapes and sizes including battery-powered toys, moving toys, laser pointers, toys with feathers, those that look like mice, and many more. This is a sure way to ensure the cat is always occupied while indoors.
Let Your Cat exercise its hunting instincts
Curiosity is a common trait in cats. If it doesn’t find a lot of activities to arouse its interest indoors, it will look for a way to gain access to outdoor areas. Placing toys around the home is not enough to satisfy the natural hunting instinct of the cat. Placing treats which the cat enjoys in different locations around the home is an excellent way to exercise this instinct. There are special cat treat toys and puzzles available for purchase. These provide a form of mental simulation as the cat works towards getting its treat. Ice cubes can also offer a cheaper alternative to these puzzles and toys. Simply freeze the treat within the ice cubes. The same methods are in use in preserving excellent physical and mental conditions of animals like tigers, lions, and a number of predators living in zoos.
Install Bird Viewing Stations
Sharing a number of traits with the Wildcats (Felis Silvestris), it is natural to find a domestic cat with a knack for hunting and killing birds. The Wildcats were common in various parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa and they hunted small mammals and birds as prey. This natural attraction to smaller animals remains with pet cats. Constructing a bird viewing station inside the home can gratify the cat. How do you do it? Simple, just set up a birdbath or feeder on the outside of the window and then put a cat window perch. While keeping wildlife safe from the cat, the cat remains happy as it is able to watch these animals for as long as it wants.
Get your cat a companion
Staying at home all through the day to be with a cat is impossible for almost everyone. Bringing home a second cat as a companion is the simplest and most effective way to solve this problem. This way, it remains happy while running around the home and playing with its friend.
Construct a Catio
If you want to let a cat go outdoors without having to put it on a leash, then you can build a catio. This structure has an enclosure and can be set up on your patio, deck, or yard. It is a form of playpen which protects both wildlife and the cat from one another.
If you are familiar with plants of the mint family, catnip is a popular member. There is a natural oil, nepetalactone, which is present in catnip. If a cat inhales this oil, there is a special effect which it induces. The feline olfactory system interprets the oil as a natural pheromone in cats. By chewing or rubbing on catnip, a temporary and harmless high is induced in the cat. Most cats find pleasure in this cat, while catnip does not affect others. If a kitten is below six months, the catnip will not have an effect. For indoor cats that respond to catnip, it is an excellent stimulant and also a good way to keep them happy. It is easy to grow catnip in pots around the home or simply purchase it in the spray or dried form.
Give it the opportunity to Climb
Climbing to a high place is the first instinct of a cat if it is frightened. The same applies to wildcats which also chase their prey up trees. Installing a cat tree can help your cats satisfy this instinct to climb. These trees will blend in various décor considering they are available in multiple designs, sizes, and shapes. Installing cat shelves around the home is also an excellent addition. You can create catwalks or simply mount floating shelves in different areas of the home. Regardless of the method, the cat shelves will help your cat climb up high places around the home.
Try using cat enclosures and lead walking
In certain cases, it is necessary to prevent a cat from going outdoors at all cost. Knowing what to expect when keeping a cat indoors at all times is a key requirement for this method to function. In other situations where owners still feel that the cat needs to go outdoors, there need to be certain limitations. Some of the options include the harness and lead approach. The earlier you start implementing the harness, the better it is for a kitten. As a kitten grows into an adult, there will be less resistance when you try to put on its harness.
An outdoor enclosure is another alternative in case there is excessive resistance from the cat when you try using a harness. The climbing ability of the cat should be put into the design consideration of the enclosure. It can have inward angled sides or a roof.
Depending on the use, either outdoors or indoors, there are various cat cage products available for sale commercially. Using a cat door flap, it is easy for the cat to gain access to the outdoor enclosure. This method will also eliminate any form of worry. Replicating natural scenes as much as possible will yield the best results when using the enclosure. Also provide scratching posts, cat furniture, high resting spots, toys, and tree trunks inside the enclosure. Security is important if the cat will be able to go into the outdoor enclosure without supervision or when there is no one at home. This limits the chances of the cat getting lost or roaming the entire neighborhood.
Show your cat lots of Love and affection
Shower your cat with lots of love. This is a point which is still worth mentioning. Love is the most effective way to ensure the happiness of your cat. Human attention is something that all domesticated cats yearn for. This trait is not present in their wild ancestors. Giving attention to an indoor cat will surely make it happy. Play with the cat, pet it, and snuggle the cat daily.
Spay and Neuter
If you have a pet at, it is important you spay and neuter. A lot of cats often get the urge to go outdoors in search of a mate when their hormones start acting up. In addition to reducing the likelihood of a cat going outdoors, spaying and neutering also help in controlling the population of cats around the neighborhood.
Living life indoors can be very difficult for some cats. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort an owner invests. A veterinarian may choose to place your cat on a short-term drug therapy. This is to help relax the cat if it is experiencing too much stress. This therapy can help with the transition process. Homeopathic remedies are also very effective in relieving stress. This can help in calming the cats. There are pet supply stores that offer herbal remedies for sale. You can also visit a holistic veterinarian for consultation to find out a treatment specific to the cat.