Sometimes, cats that have previously enjoyed the freedom of the great outdoors suddenly have to adjust to the indoor lifestyle. In an ideal world, all indoor cats know no other existence, but this isn’t always possible. Things change. Cats may need to become indoor cats; here are just a handful of reasons why owners decide to start keeping their cats indoors:
- Infection or disease – For example: FIV cats need to be kept indoors to protect other cats and reduce the risk of infections in cats with the virus.
- Increased traffic risks in the area – the addition of new roads or extra housing being built
- Threats – As seen with the Croydon cat killer and copycat killers or an increase of cats being poisoned in the area
- Fighting with other cats in the neighbourhood
- To protect wildlife – Some cats kill a lot of wildlife and it’s not uncommon for cat owners to decide to keep their pets indoors if their cat hunts frequently
- Road deaths – Some owners who lose a cat to the road decide to keep other cats indoors to prevent further losses.
- Wandering cats – Reduce the risk of cats going missing or finding new homes.
Making the Adjustment
If you decide to keep your cat indoors you’ll need to take the following actions.
1.Secure the home and inform all family members and regular visitors of the new system. Cats will try to escape so windows and doors will need to remain closed.
2.Check that the indoor plants are not toxic to cats. Replace any toxic plants with cat friendly alternatives.
3.Consider growing cat grass in a pot in the home for your cat to chew.
4.Litter trays are essential to prevent accidental messes. Place the tray in a quiet area that’s away from where your cat eats. Try different types of litter if your cat isn’t using the tray, they may prefer a soft litter if they’re used to using the garden.
5.Add scratching posts to protect your furniture and to allow your cat to exercise their claws.
6.Activity trees are excellent as they help to prevent boredom and encourage exercise.
7.Bring additional toys into the home, swapping them regularly to prevent boredom and to encourage your cat to move. Look for toys that involve grabbing, biting, pouncing and running.
8.Consider adding a cat containment system to the outside of your home to allow your cat extra space without increasing risks. There are plenty of customisable enclosures available including cat balconies and catios.
9.Safe zones are required so your cat can find a comforting area when feeling stressed or scared. Place covered boxes (cardboard boxes are ideal but you could also use a cat kennel or covered cat beds).
10.Spend time playing with your cat and encouraging activity and movement.
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