It is said that just over one in four UK households (26%) owns a cat which though quite an eyebrow raising statistic, it should not come as any big surprise that so many of us love cats and share our homes with them. Though it is suggested that a dog is a mans best friend, we must remember that in ancient times cats were worshipped as gods!
Domestic cats, just like dogs, make for great pets and companions, these feline and canine have their wild side seeing the likes of lynx, cheetah, lion, fox, coyote and wolf in the family!
Many of us cat owners, I am one yes, prefer to keep them in our home or as they are referred to, indoor cats. It is suggested that indoor cats have a longer life span over those which are allowed out, though questions on this stat are raised to amount of accidental deaths such as on the road which effect averages.
Keeping your cat indoors does not always mean that never go out do not forget – Many cat owners use harnesses to walk them outside in garden spaces and yes, I have seen cats being walked in the streets and certainly by the beach where we live, infrequent as they are, a few I continue to see each year.
So, what about top tips for keeping indoor cats, what should you be considering to make sure you have a well entertained, healthy, safe and content furry (unless you’ve a hairless cat breed) friend?
Every situation is different so we need to consider many factors when deciding if a cat is suitable for an indoor life. For many cats, especially those disabled, with health problems or senior in years, a life at home is a great option. Opposite to that and a lively, active and most likely younger cat could find it stressful and suffer from mental issues / obesity etc. A balance between owners time they can dedicate, space, toys, resting places and more will ensure a better life for the cat.
- Safety: Before your take in a cat / rescue cat you should take a tour of your home to fix / put away and safety hazards such as poisonous plants, flowers, cords such as those on blinds which are a choke threat can occur. You might have to change your living habits too such as things you by habit leave laying around from medicine / tablets, chewing gum in ashtrays, to half eaten chocolate bars etc. Are they are gaps / holes that your cat can crawl in to and get themselves stuck?
- Doors and Windows: One of the biggest changes you will need to make is towards doors / windows as these allow your cat to escape to the outside world without prior invitation! You need to get yourself quickly in to a secure habit of not opening windows in rooms your cats are in or having safety latches that only allows part opening and not big enough fo r a cat to squeeze through! Summer time is always the harder time of the year to master this. Doors are also an added issue especially when deliveries / guests arrive and during the day it can be opened and closed multiple times and cats are quick to escape!
- Litter Trays: If you can, try to have two litter trays for your cat and especially for larger properties. If you have two cats then have three litter trays, 3 cats then four etc. Clean / clear litter trays as often as possible and at least daily
- Food: Obviously you need to make sure food is always available and if you can, especially with larger property, have a couple of bowls (especially for dry food). Your food also needs to be considered when owning cats with the likes of chocolate, coffee, alcohol, nuts, avocado being a health hazard.
- Space: Is your property big enough for an indoor cat? You need to be honest with yourself here and it might be that your very first home, that studio apartment, might not be the best place, in the interest of the cat, to start your journey of being a cat owner. If you have a smaller property then think about giving access to all safe areas for your cat, try to limit closing rooms off. Cats can be very active and love to sprint around in short burst of energy!
- Resting Places: Cats not only rely on your bed or sofa to rest and sleep on, they like some variety! Think about adding some cushions in cosy spots around the house and especially in tucked away and private locations so your cat can rest peacefully. Radiator hammocks, cat trees, sleeping caves and more are great additions to your home if you own cats.
- Time: No one really likes to be left alone and neglected and this goes for cats too. Think about scheduling regular playtime and especially if you are spending continued time away from your home such as if you have a 9-5 job.
- Respect: You may have a quiet and peaceful lifestyle at home, great if so, though if you are a party animal and like to live it up to include the likes of loud music, smoking and crowding rooms full of guests then you must consider both the safety and security of your cat. Loud, noisy, smoky and worse environments can be distressing for cats and especially if you live in a smaller property with little space for your cat to hide itself away.
- Outside: Let the outside in and by this we mean sunlight and views. Cats love the warm rays of the sun and will regularly take naps in the sunlight. If you have views then allow the cat to enjoy them, they do take an interest in the outside! Plus the outside itself needs to be enjoyed by your cat, if you can take them out to the balcony / garden then try and do this regularly, use a safe harness and do to rely on them being obedient as they are likely to try and climb fences, pounce of birds / flies.
- Toys: A cat loves to play so in order to do so they need toys! Cats have many inbuilt instincts such as hunting and will many times bring you gifts such as those little toy mice or maybe plastic springs you have gifted them. Cats also like to climb, hide and venture so if you can provide cat trees, boxes, secret corners in open cupboards, behind sofas, under beds etc.