indoor cats

7 Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors

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Keeping cats indoors can be a controversial topic. Some cat lovers believe that it’s not natural to keep cats indoors, and that they should have the freedom to go outdoors. However, the fact is that indoor cats live longer and healthier lives, and contrary to what outdoor cat proponents believe, indoor cats can be perfectly happy as long as cat guardians provide a stimulating environment for them.

The following seven reasons are strong arguments for keeping cats indoors:Continue Reading

How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Happy

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There’s no question that indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. It is imperative that cat guardians provide a stimulating environment for indoor cats. Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy has coined the term “catification,” which means creating a cat-friendly environment that provides outlets for a cat’s natural instincts to hunt, catch, kill and eat his prey, followed by grooming and sleeping.Continue Reading

How Lawn Chemicals Affect Your Cats – Even Indoor Cats

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When I go for my daily walks in my suburban neighborhood this time of year, not a day goes by that someone hasn’t just fertilized their lawn. I can see the granules on the sidewalk, and sometimes, I can even smell the chemicals. I am strongly opposed to the use of chemical fertilizers, and I don’t understand the obsession with flawless green lawns. But mostly, I worry about the effect lawn chemicals have on the cats who come in contact with them – and that can happen even if your cats never leave the house.

There is no question that lawn fertilizers and pesticides are hazardous to pets and humans.  Pets especially can absorb pesticides through their paws or lick them offContinue Reading

Faulty science spreads lies about cats and their impact on wildlife

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For the past week, the mainstream press has widely reported on a paper in which professional wildlife biologists associated with the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claim that domesticated cats kill as many as 3.7 billion birds and more than 15 billion small mammals each year in the United States. The authors of the paper tried to assess the behavior of “owned” and “un-owned” cats, which would include feral, free roaming and indoor/outdoor cats.

This  paper was authored by researchers with an anti-cat track record, who arrived at their conclusions by picking and choosing data that supported their point of view. To make matters worse, they cite a researcher who was convicted for trying to poison cats.Continue Reading

How to Prevent your Indoor Cat from Running Out the Door

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Last week, a friend experienced every cat guardian’s nightmare: a family member was careless about leaving the door open, and her two young kittens got out.

My friend had left to run some errands. She had asked that the kittens be closely watched while she was gone. When she returned home, she called the kittens. They didn’t respond. She went from room to room searching. No sight of the kittens. She went outside and walked all around her large property, shaking a treat bag, and calling for them. Becoming increasinly hysterical, she got into her car and started slowly driving down the road, all the while calling their names. She found them about a quarter of a mile down the highway, huddled together on the front stoop of an auto repair shop.

My friend’s story had a happy ending. The kittens returned from their adventure safe and unharmed. My friend’s nerves may take a little longer to recover. But not all stories of indoor cats running out the door end this well.

The following tips and safety precautions can help keep your indoor cat safe inside, where she belongs.Continue Reading

Carmina the Cathedral Cat: RIP

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The story of Carmina the Cathedral Cat, the resident cat at Washington’s National Cathedral, captured my readers’ hearts when I first wrote about her in November of 2010. I thought her story should be shared with a wider audience, so I pitched it to Cat Fancy magazine a while back. Last week, my editor approved the story for the June issue of the magazine.

I got in touch with the media contact at the Cathedral to get updated information on Carmina. I didn’t expect the following e-mail:

We are saddened to tell you that the Cathedral Choral Society’s beautiful kitty, Carmina Chanté Schumann, was fatally struck by a car on Woodley Road on Tuesday evening, November 1, 2011. Witnesses reported that she was frightened by a dog and ran into the street.

Carmina has entertained everyone in the Cathedral Library since June 2010, when she was adopted from an animal shelter. Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: make time for play

Make Time for Play

Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable.
Without it, life just doesn’t taste good. –  Lucia Capocchione

Cats need to play to thrive. This is especially important for indoor cats. Playing allows them to indulge their natural instinct to hunt. Feline play mimics stalking and chasing prey in the wild, and toys that will encourage this are the best kinds of toys.

Play is important for humans, too. The National Institute of Play (who knew there was such a thing!) believes that play can dramatically transform our personal health, our relationships, the education we provide our children and the capacity of our corporations to innovate.  Play is a vital ingredient for a happy life.

What better way to get play into your life than playing with your cat? Even just one 15 minute play session a day will keep your cat happy and healthy. Interactive toys are a great way for both of you to get in on the fun. Toys such as the Da Bird feather teaser or any number of fishing pole type toys can provide hours of fun for you and for kitty. Playing with your cat is not only fun, it also increases the bond between the two of you.

Odin doesn’t have to be told that he should be playing more – the only decision he has to make is which toy to pick out of the basket.

Do you make time for play – for yourself, and your cat? What is your cat’s favorite game?

You may also enjoy reading:

Keeping your single cat happy

Safe toys for your cat

How to keep your indoor cat happy

Keeping your single cat happy

Allegra was never supposed to be an only cat.  When I adopted the then 7-month-old kitten last April, the plan was for Amber, who was 12 at the time, to show her the ropes, and for the two of them to become playmates and best friends.

Less than five weeks after Allegra’s arrival, Amber passed away after a sudden, brief illness. I was devastated, and in addition to coping with my grief, which took up almost all the energy I had, I now had a sweet, but rambunctious, slightly juvenile delinquent kitten on my hands.

I knew if I wanted Allegra to be happy, and address some of her behavioral challenges at the same time (she chewed on everything from picture frames to books to the edges of my bedroom dresser, and she was slightly play aggressive), I needed to keep her entertained.  Ideally, I should have gotten her a companion of similar temperament, but I wasn’t emotionally ready for that yet (and I’m still not quite ready).  So it was up to me to keep her active, stimulated and challenged.

All my cats always have been, and always will be, indoor cats.  I thought my home was kitty paradise already.  There are lots of windows with views of trees, birds and squirrels.  There are window perches in two bedrooms for the cats’ viewing pleasure and for naps in the sun.  There are cat toys everywhere.

But it was kitty paradise for older cats, not for a young, energetic kitten.  So I worked on what behaviorists call environmental enrichment.  I created hiding spaces for Allegra.  Cardboard boxes work just fine, as do grocery bags with the handles cut off.  Cat igloos and crinkly tunnels are fun, too.  I bought extra scratching posts.  I added vertical space.  There are numerous ways to do this:  cat trees, cat condos, shelves or window perches.  I got puzzle toys for her; they’re a great way to keep a young cat entertained.  I set up treasure hunts to keep her busy, hiding treats throughout the house and letting her find them.

All of this environmental enrichment was designed to keep Allegra entertained when I couldn’t play with her, but it was never meant to be a substitute for regular playtime.  I use a lot of interactive, fishing pole type toys to play with her.  These toys are designed to imitate prey behavior and they help wake the hunting instinct in cats.  Tossing balls or other small toys for her sends her racing through the house.  I haven’t managed to teach her to retrieve, although cats can learn how to do this.  I have a laser pointer toy, but rarely use it.  Even though Allegra goes nuts chasing after the red dot, it’s a very unsatisfactory way to play for her.  Cats’ play mimics hunting behavior, and it’s no fun for them if they can never catch their prey.

With young cats like Allegra, burning off excess energy is important.  We established regular play sessions of 10-15 minute each, at least twice a day, sometimes more frequently.  Playing before meals, or just before bedtime, works best.  Once we had these regular play sessions in place, a lot of Allegra’s behavior issues disappeared because she was no longer bored.

Eventually we’ll add another cat to our family.  For now, Allegra is very happy to be the only cat in her environmentally enriched home.

Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy

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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 (http://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.