Last Updated on: March 11, 2022 by Ingrid King
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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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Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.