Cats are lovely, right? They are independent, affectionate, very clean, a bit sassy, and there is that mysterious aura that always surrounds them, shrouding their intentions or what they are thinking. Most of the time,
Cats are not inherently villains or doesn’t have any nefarious intentions of course (towards you, no, towards that mouse hiding in the corner, yes). They are pets that are beloved for thousands of years and have been used as working animals to help control rodents and sometimes, small birds that are urban and farm pests. when domesticated, cats prey on nearby wildlife (hey, pretty much anything that is alive and small enough to fit on their paws is fair game).
You can’t change that entirely, no one ever did, even after thousands of years of domestication, they still have that hunting instincts in their blood. On some isolated cases, some domestic cats become feral due to negligence, and even resulted in the extinction of several mammal and bird species. As a species introduced by humans around the globe where they are not endemic and, their numbers increased, dwarfing that of natural predators. This massive predation by cats on wildlife is our fault, and it adds to the bad things that we do to our environment. It’s only us humans who can prevent it.
As a result. people take cats as pets become aware of this and mostly they keep their cats indoors (some owners, even not knowing its impact to the environment, unconsciously keep their cats at home all the time), some owners would even have their cat indoors for its whole lifetime. There are a lot of reason why other owners do it, and pretty sure all of them are thinking that this is what’s good for their pet cat. If you have a pet cat and you are doing this too (keeping them indoors all the time), there are a few things that you need to consider so that your cat will always stay healthy and happy.
Primarily, Cat owners do that so that they can keep their pets safe. Not only is this better for wildlife, it’s also better for our cats. Outdoor cats face threats from predators, cars and disease and as a result, have a much shorter lifespan compared to indoor cats. Keeping your cat indoors is a win-win for both wildlife and cats.
That said, I know that keeping your cat indoors is not easy, turning an outdoor cat into an indoor one can be a backbreaking task, even for naturalists and most experienced pet owners.
Keep Them Fit and Healthy
I once have a cat (originally an outdoor cat) and I tried to keep it inside the house, hoping that it will get comfortable inside than outside, only to find out that after a week I saw a lot of vicious scratch marks on my leather sofa (although I made him an improvised scratching post 5 days prior) and turned our laundry basket into a litter box (should have listened to my son when he suggested me to buy a scratching post and a 3 in 1 Self Sifting Tray Cat Litter Box Simple Stylish Antimicrobial Pet Cat Toilet Training Tray that he saw on Amazon at that time, and luckily I got one scratching post from one of the online shops like activefelinesolutions, but ooh well). In the end, I just set him free and now he just go back inside the house if it is raining or it’s time to eat. Please, don’t repeat my mistake, that’s just crazy (I spent a handsome amount of money to repair the sofa, and my tuxedo smelled like hell for a week). If ever you are going to adopt a cat, make sure that you do everything you can to keep your cat indoors, or if it is a kitten, make him get used to stay indoors all the time.
Cats are naturally athletic. it’s just a matter of time for an indoor cat to go insane (not literally) if it can’t release that excess energy through body activity. Good thing is that there’s a ton of awesome cat toys of all sorts available commercially that will keep your cat on the move. There are toys that look like mice, toys with feathers, battery-powered toys with flashing light and sound, like the Asien Pet Laser Pointer Cat Catch the LED Light Interactive Exercise Toy. Toys that move, toys on strings–everything that you need to help keep your cat pouncing and stalking safely indoors.
A lot of birds and small mammals (and unfortunately, some of those species became instinct), were killed by domestic cats because these animals are primarily the natural prey of their ancestor, Felis silvestris, which is a small wild cat species found in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. Even the most pampered and well-fed pet cants can’t resist the attraction to small animals and the urge to hunt them. You can solve your cat’s craving for that by just simply creating a bird viewing station for your pet. Simply look for a window (with a glass pane of course), place a platform on the inside where your cat can sit or sleep, and another platform (opposite side, on the outside) where you can put a bird feeder or a bird bath (place feeders and baths a few inches away from the window if you don’t want birds crashing through them).
What make cats fun pets is their curiosity. If your indoor cat doesn’t have anything to do to kill time (aside from sleeping), they will easily get bored and try to go outside. Don’t just give your cat toys, interact with them and play with them, starting by hiding their favorite toy around the house. The will frantically search for it, thus making it a form of exercise on itself. Also, freeze treats in ice cubes or use special cat treat puzzles and toys that make your cat work his wits out to get its reward, with that, it’ll offer hours of mental stimulation for your pet (and what’s more? its entertaining to see them struggle to solve them and succeed in the end). These are the same exercises used to keep big cats (such as Tigers and Lions) and other predators in good mental and physical condition in zoos.
Not all of us are always at home to give our cat all the attention they need. It is a great idea to get a second cat to keep them company. Having a companion of the same species to run and play around can go a long way in keeping your indoor cats happy and contented. (they’ll pretty much ignore the outside world, for they have each other, like a love story plot). It is also a great idea to adopt homeless cats from your local shelter. You have the capability to change their lives forever, and I am sure, one of them is just waiting for you to take him home.
Let’s talk about catnip for a while. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a short-lived perennial plant (for those who doesn’t know what perennial plant means, its a plant with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs that live for more than two years, compared to the shorter-lived annuals and biennials) of the mint family, native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, central Asia, and parts of China. It contains a natural oil called nepetalactone known to have a unique behavioral effects on the cat family, not only on domestic cats but also other species of cats.
Nepeta cataria is used as a recreational substance for pet cats’ enjoyment, and catnip and catnip-laced products designed for use with domesticated cats are available to consumers. Common behaviors cats display when they sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip are rubbing on the plant, rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming much of the plant is followed by drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Some growl, meow, scratch or bite at the hand holding it.
Catnip comes in dried form to fill sachets or special cat toys, as well as in spray form to mist toys or cat beds. You can grow catnip plants in pots in a sunny window for your kitty too.
But in some cases, not all cats are affected by catnip, and it has no effect on kittens under six months of age, but if your cat does respond to it, it can be one more tool to help keep your indoor cat stimulated and happy. But excessive use of pretty much everything is bad, use it in moderation (you don’t want your kitty to always get stoned right?)
Cat will always do cat things, like climbing on anything they can climb at. Originally, Wild cats are natural climbers, Easily pursuing prey that climb to trees and seeking high places when frightened or in danger. Your pet cat still have those same climbing instincts as their ancestors do.
Cat Trees are a tried and tested way of allowing your cat to exercise its urge to climb, and they come in all shapes and sizes (Cat Scratching Tree Scratcher Post Pole Furniture Gym House Toy Small 134cm GR or VuHom Cat Tree Kitten Scratcher Play House Condo Furniture 53“ (Beige)) to fit your space and needs. We can find a good one in pet stores or online shops like activefelinesolutions. If you’re handy, you can build your own. Adding cat shelves throughout your home with to take advantage of vertical space for your feline family members (that’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it). It could be as simple as a few floating shelves mounted to the wall or more involved catwalks or cat bridges that wrap around entire rooms. Either way, cat shelves will allow your kitty to get up high and go places only cats can go (and of course, hide when visitors and playful kids are around).
Have you seen those Youtube videos where other pet owners walk their cats with a leash? Looks hilarious right? It might sound crazy and only your local cat lady would do that, but believe it or not, it is possible (good luck in keeping a straight face while doing that). If you really want to walk your cat outside, this is the most responsible (yet embarrassing for some people) way to do it.
Proper Training Is What Best For Them
It’s easiest to start training your cat when it’s just a kitten, but even older cats can learn. Start by getting your cat used to wearing a harness for short periods of time indoors. After they get used to it (may take weeks or months), attach the leash and reward the cat with treats when it walks with you, just remember, NEVER pull on the leash.
Once the cat is comfortable with both the harness and leash on, it’s time to try it outside (and show the world that you achieve no mortal man have ever done before, bending the almighty cat’s action to your every whim! be proud of yourself!), no, seriously, it is perfectly fine to do that. Start slowly, with just short trips outside and gradually increase the length of the walks as your cat gets more comfortable. If it is too much of a challenge for you, you can professional help from an animal trainer.
Man once thought that he can’t control the will of these mystical creatures and walk them in this mortal plane with a restraint. Now, it’s time to show them that you are above all men and you can control these domesticated felines to your every command!
Neutering and Spaying your pet cat can greatly help you keep your pet indoors. Intact, healthy cats can be driven by hormones and will try to escape outside to look for a mate. Spaying or neutering your cat reduces or eliminates sexual behaviors that people generally consider a nuisance. In most male cats, regardless of their age when neutered, neutering reduces roaming, urine spraying, and fights with neighborhood cats. The plaintive howling of female cats in heat is eliminated. Overall, cats who are sexually intact are at greater risk of being relinquished to a shelter.
It also prevents unwanted births, which helps reduce overpopulation in shelters. Millions of unwanted animals end up in shelters or on the streets each year. Only a lucky few were adopted; the rest are either euthanized or die from trauma, exposure, starvation or disease (your conscience can’t handle these burden right? right?). By spaying or neutering your cat, you do your part to prevent this tragedy.
Love Them With All Your Heart
And lastly, You love your cat, and that love can be the single most powerful tool in your kitty care arsenal to make it happy. Unlike their wild ancestors and big cat cousins, domesticated cat craves and longs for your attention and affection, and sometimes, keeping attention to your cat is more than enough to keep them happy. Snuggle your cat, pet your cat, talk to your cat (sometimes I do that, and my family is considering the fact that I’m beyond help they are planning to put me on rehab), and play with your cat every day. It is really clear that all your efforts and affection will get noticed and deeply appreciated by your cat, and that ensures a strong bond between you and your furry feline companion.