Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In or Out? How to make up your mind

When people think of the ultimate living situation for a cat, several ideal scenarios may come to mind. Some may think that keeping their cat(s) indoors is safer, while others do not want to take away the quality of life that an outside animal has, justifying their cats need to go outside as more natural or instinctual. Does an indoor cat miss anything by never going out? Does an outside cat have a better life because it can choose it's own territory and lay in the grass?


A major risk for outdoor cats, and one we hear about all too often, is being hit by a car. Cats can also get stuck in many compromising situations, under houses or crawl spaces where they can become dehydrated or starve. Encounters with other cats can expose your cat to diseases, some of which cannot be vaccinated against, like FIV & FELV. Finally, there are people who simply do not want cats in their yard. These disgruntled neighbors may trap your outdoor cat and take him or her to the animal control center or far far worse punishments. Yikes, I shudder to think about it sometimes.

Fortunately, there are many ways to help your feline friend to have a happy, fulfilled life indoors or to allow your cat a safe outdoor experience.

Making The Outdoors Safe

If your backyard has a fence around it, consider installing a Cat Fence .This netting system prevents your cat from leaving the yard, so you know where he or she is at all times. It can also be used to keep other cats out of your yard.

Build an enclosure outside. This allows the cat to have an outdoor experience while remaining safe. Check cat magazines for ideas and plans.

If you have a younger cat, train him or her to accept a leash and harness. This way, you can take the cat on monitored outdoor excursions. While a few brave cats may enjoy walks around the neighborhood, the majority will prefer sticking close to home—the front or back yard.


Transitioning A Cat To Indoors Only

This isn't going to happen overnight folks. Hang in there and make some adjustments to your home and maybe even to your lifestyle. You will have to make Small compromises to make your cat happy


Put screens on your windows and get a kitty window seat.

Play with your cat more. Get him running around, chasing a string or other toy several times a day. A little catnip makes it even more fun!

Add vertical space to the cat’s territory. Cat trees, cat condos, shelves, and other climbing apparatus give your cat more places to climb, play, and call her own.

Provide scratching posts. Try posts made of different materials—corrugated cardboard, wood, carpet, or sisal rope. You can get freestanding scratching posts, floor level, or door hanging varieties.
Play videos. Many cats enjoy watching videos of cats, birds, fish, insects and nature scenes. Check your local pet supply and video stores.

Grow kitty grass. Available at many pet supply stores, it is safe and tasty for your cat to nibble.

If your cat is an “only child”, consider adopting another to keep him company. That would make The SF/SPCA, You and your cat very happy!


Remember: even indoor cats should always wear an elastic or breakaway collar and an identification tag. In an earthquake, fire, burglary, or other mishap, a cat can easily become lost outside, and identification is her best bet for getting home.

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