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You know Dr. Lynn Bahr from our “Ask the Cat Doc” column. She is the founder of Dezi & Roo, a company that designs, manufactures, and sells solution-based products that enhance the lives of cats and their owners. And now Dr. Bahr shares her expertise with a wider audience in her upcoming book Indoor Cat: How to Enrich Their Lives and Expand Their World, due out in April and available for pre-order now.

Together with co-author Laura Moss, the founder of Adventure Cats, Dr. Bahr provides a comprehensive guide to enriching the lives of indoor cats by viewing life from the cat’s perspective and providing solutions that enhance cats’ lives and prevent or combat behavioral problems.

The authors address everything from creating a stimulating environment to nutrition to litter box issues to respecting individual cats’ need for purrsonal space. They provide suggestions for creative and fun playtime, and discuss options for providing safe access to the outdoors.

The book is beautifully illustrated and designed, featuring vibrant four color photos throughout. Each chapter starts with a comparison of the human point of view vs. the cat’s point of view, setting the stage for better understanding why our cats do what they do. Each section offers plenty of tips and suggestions that can be implemented immediately, along with scientific studies, expert opinions and firsthand accounts.

The authors also raise the question whether cats should live exclusively indoors, and provide lots of food for thought on this issue. The topic of indoor vs. outdoor cats always has been and will continue to be controversial. The authors argue that we don’t really know whether indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats because there aren’t any studies about the average life span of cared for indoor/outdoor cats as opposed to feral or stray cats.

They also question whether indoor cats lead truly happy lives. They suggest that many of us felt what never being able to leave the house was like during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, when we were essentially locked down. This time affected our mental health for many of us, with a marked increase in depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. They argue that this quarantine experience may be similar to an indoor cat’s life.

I will admit that for me, this topic has always been, and remains, pretty black and white. All of my cats have always been, and will always be, indoor cats. While I respect the authors’ opinions on this topic, and while I support safe outdoor access such as catios or leash walking, I believe that as long as you provide plenty of environmental enrichment, frequent playtime, and lots of love and attention, cats will not miss the great outdoors.

Despite my unease with the authors’ position on this issue, or maybe because of it, I think this book is one of the most important cat care guides published in quite some time. If your cat is an indoor cat, this book is an absolute must read. It is the most comprehensive guide I’ve come across on how environmental enrichment doesn’t just enhance cats’ mental health, but  how that improved mental health has a direct impact on their physical health. As catified as our house already is, this book made me think about even more ways I can make Allegra happy.

Indoor Cat is due out April 5 and is available for pre-order.

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6 Comments on Review: Indoor Cat: How to Enrich Their Lives and Expand Their World

  1. Thanks for this…I will need to read it,
    I have two 14 year old cats, brothers, who have been outdoor cats all their lives….have a cat door which is open all day, and they come in at night, and then I close the door.
    It’s a relatively quiet street and they are very street wise, rarely go across the street, but visit the neighbors on either side, When they hear a car, they scoot back in the garden.
    They are healthy and contented …..

    But I am having to move, and it will mean being indoors after all this time….and it breaks my heart to think about how they will adjust….it would be a one bedroom apt.
    Now they have a huge garden to roam about . It will feel like a prison.
    Even though they are brothers, they are not buddies…..totally different personalities.
    So I am stressed out not just about my move, but about them.

  2. I love Lynn Bahr and the Dezi & Roo products, which, quite frankly, are among the top favorite toys with my feline clowder of 8. I’m also so honored to be featured in this book – I haven’t got my copy yet, but can’t wait, because I know it will be an invaluable resource for cat guardians worldwide.

    As far as letting cats outside, I completely agree and it’s something I’m not comfortable with. I went through a very traumatic situation in my teens when my step-father, against my wishes, let my cat outside without me knowing, and she was hit by a car and killed.

    My cats have always been indoor cats, but, that said, I now live somewhere that affords my cats the luxury of going outside in a safe environment. It is a fenced enclosure, fully supervised by me, and I let them out for about 20 minutes in the evening. It is the absolute highlight of their day and I can visibly see how happy they are, enjoying the time with nature.

    It’s actually been a godsend for our Zee who will be 17 in a couple of months. His health is declining and he’s quite sedentary. But when it’s time to go out, he perks up and gets a bit of energy back in him. He walks around for a while and then will come to sit on either my lap or Dan’s, to enjoy the fresh air. To say we are grateful for these precious moments with him would be an understatement.

    Purrs from Deb and the Zee/Zoey gang.

  3. Can’t wait to get mine! I never thought my 3 would be interested in exploring outside but it opened up a new dimension to our bonding to go exploring together – and it has the added benefit of helping me/my mental health in keeping me active and going outdoors. Even though we have had our share of weird encounters while out and they know when they are ready to go back to the safety of inside, it is a choice I don’t regret. And I am able to integrate what I learn from them outside into our interactions indoors too, so when the weather is too extreme (which it is a lot these days) we can still have fun.

    • I lost several cats on the road where I used to live so, when I moved house 2 years ago, I chose somewhere with a decent size back garden and installed the “Katzecure” system around the top of the fence. I had to reinforce the fences and make them up to 6 foot high but it was worth doing. I could never let a cat of mine be free-roaming again- I’d be a nervous wreck!!! I’ve made platforms and climbing areas for Moses and I see no signs that he’s unhappy. He has a little dog kennel up the garden to, for him to run into if it starts raining!!

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