Conscious Cat

December 28, 2009 14 Comments

Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy

Posted by Ingrid

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Guest post by Daniela Caride

Cats should live inside and not be allowed outdoors at any time. No pet should go outside unattended. Cats may be exposed to a variety of risks that may harm them, and even you.

That’s why indoor cats live far longer than cats who go outdoors. The average life expectancy for an indoor cat is 12 to 15 years vs. 4 to 5 years for an outdoor cat, according to PetPlace.

If you are still not convinced, here are six reasons why you should keep your cats indoors:

1. Accidents – Your cat may be struck by a vehicle or get caught sleeping under a car hood when the engine gets turned on, killing or harming him seriously.

2. Life-threatening situations – Your cat is a potential target for dogs, wild animals and even animal abusers.

3. Disease – Your cat may catch serious diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) if involved in a cat fight. He can also bring home parasites, such as fleas and ticks, and even become infected with ringworm, a fungus also transmissible to humans.

4. Poisoning – Your cat may be exposed to potential hazards from poisons, such as antifreeze, lawn fertilizers, weed killers and poisonous toxic plants. Cocoa mulch, widely used in gardens, for instance, can be fatal to cats.

5. Stealing and animal control – Your cat can be stolen or picked up by animal control authorities. He might end up in a shelter, where he may be adopted out to another family or euthanized.

6. Environmental impact – Your cat may harm the environment by hunting native birds. In many communities, birds are endangered because of the outdoors feline population.

The pros of keeping your cats indoors far outnumber the cons. But many people still ask if cats can be happy if only living inside. The answer is yes.

You can avoid boredom and discomfort by providing your cat a healthy environment combined with activities that stimulate him physically and mentally.

Here are four tips:

  • Provide a litter box per cat plus one (if you have three cats, have four litter boxes), so your cat has plenty of opportunities to evacuate in the places you want, not in the ones he chooses.

If you provide your cat with the right stimuli, you will make him happy, prolong his life and keep his and your health costs down. Who wouldn’t like to do this for such a great companion?

daniela and crosby-1

Daniela Caride is the publisher of The Daily Tail (www.TheDailyTail.com), a participatory blog about pets with stories, tips, and reviews. She lives with three cats, Crosby, Gaijin and Phoenix, three dogs, Frieda, Geppetto and Lola, and her husband, Martin, in Cambridge, MA.

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14 comments to “Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy”

  1. Great article! We’ve got 2 indoor cats…one of them would LOVE to be outside, but we know what’s best for him!

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Hi Elizabeth,

    Same thing here. Crosby is always at the door looking for the opportunity to dart outside. When I let my dogs out, he walks behind them as if he were a fourth dog to see if, by mistake, I let him go out to the backyard, too.

    He’s a funny cat! But I live in a very busy street and the world is dangerous outside. I don’t want to see him sick or hurt. So I got him some videos called Mewvies, and he loves them!! He will knock down our TV one of these days!

  3. Ingrid says:

    I think Amber had enough of the great outdoors the first two years of her life when she was a stray. Thank goodness she’s never shown any interest in going outside.

    Elizabeth, I hope some of Daniela’s tips help keep your outdoor wannabe happy.

    Daniela, I had one of those videos for cats for Feebee, my first cat, and he would go nuts. He’d try to get inside the tv.

  4. This is a great article! I was raised with indoor cats and have always kept mine inside too. My three oldest never had any interest in outside – the two younger always rush to the door so it is a challenge to keep them in but it is so worth it to do so.

  5. Ingrid says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Amy. Thanks for visiting The Conscious Cat. I absolutely agree that it’s worth the challenge of keeping our cats inside. Hopefully, your two younger ones will adjust eventually.

  6. Debbi Docherty says:

    I have a hard enough time worrying about my outside ferals when I haven’t seen them in a few days or during these horrible storms. If I had the means, they would come inside too. Thankfully Moe and Abbey have no interest in going outside and I’m making the front door a scary thing for my fosters as well. Good post!!!

  7. Ingrid says:

    Glad you enjoyed the post, Debbi. I’m sure the future parents of your foster kitties will appreciate the training!

  8. Tammy says:

    I’m definitely too worried about my cats to let them be outdoors! We live at the edge of a state park also, so critters/wild life would be an issue for our kitties!

    Our guys do pretty well indoors – they have even adjusted to our nighttime sleeping habits :) We live in a tiny apartment, so the litter box thing is an issue for us. We only have room for one, so we clean it diligently for our three boys! They seem OK with this solution!

  9. That’s great, Tammy. I have three cats at home, and five litter boxes. But two of my cats don’t get along, so thta’important for us to have many options. Cats hate to be cornered in the litter box.

    Your solution sound great.Getting along well and with a clean litter box, what else would a cat want, right?

    :-)

  10. Intellectually, I agree with the pros and cons of indoor cats but all my cats have enjoyed the outdoors and have lived happy long lives. They have all been more spirited and happy to smell the seasons under their feet. That said, I’ve always taken great pains for their safety outdoors. Now, with two elderly Siamese with fading eyesight, I go for walks with them on our property and do not allow them out of my sight for a minute. Merlin goes stir crazy if he can’t get outside even in the winter and yowls bloody murder until he does.

  11. Ingrid says:

    Tammy, that’s great that your three do so well with only one litterbox. They clearly have the cleaning crew well trained!

    Layla, it sounds like supervised time outdoors is the best of both worlds for Merlin and Coco.

  12. Layla, sounds like a happy household. I’m happy for you guys. Here in the city, my cats would become roadkill in a day and would probably contract feline leukemia or FIV. You are so lucky to have this perfect environment around you.

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