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The occasional open window (make sure your windows have secure screens) or door offers a tempting opportunity for your cat. Cats are innately curious, and prone to imitation. A cat will be fertile for her entire natural life and continue to enter estrus cycles. Top 20 Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors To Protect Wildlife and Humans. The explanation for this simple. Privacy Policy and It does mean that you must respect your cat’s need for space, though. This is especially common if you have a strong bond. As cats grow older, they are typically less robust. Cats can be master hiders and disguise themselves in the home. Do not let your cat push its luck too far, though. The life expectancy of most domesticated felines is between 15 and 20 years. The HSUS's tax identification number is 53-0225390. My husband, an engineer, once built one for our gang out of scrap wood and chicken wire. The average lifespan of a domestic indoor cat is 17 years while outdoor cats statistically live less than five years. A cat tree can be short, or may stretch from floor to ceiling. Applied Animal Behavior Science confirms this claim. In addition, the hunting of birds is considered a significant problem. Cats are born hunters. You may not know this until it is too late. While simple, this technique only works if you are home most of the time and can keep a personal eye on your plants. Be careful about this habit. Others want to see them firsthand. Cats that do not embrace their natural instincts grow distressed and bored. Your cat wants to make sure you are not visiting other felines. The latter can irritate a cat’s nasal passages. This does not mean that felines are anti-social loners. With the cold weather upon us, here are some tips for making the great indoors an interesting, feline-friendly environment that meets all of your cat's needs. Your cat may need more stimulation. Cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 known species and continue to adversely impact a wide variety of other species, including those at risk of extinction. Keeping Cats Entertained Indoors Cats need mental and physical stimulation, quite a lot of it. 3. Be sure to switch the toys from time to time so that they seem "new" and more interesting to your cat. Some cats will just get sneakier and make mischief when you are not home, but some will dev… This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Move Your Plants With indoor cats, a common spray target is either at the window where the outdoor cat was seen or on the wall opposite the window. Make sure an adult supervises your kitty’s outdoor time to ensure strays cannot come into contact with her. I'm Richard, the lead writer for Senior Cat Wellness. Kittens who are kept indoors are usually happy to stay there as they grow up. The same applies to cats. Cats loathe unsanitary conditions. These include traffic accidents, contagious sickness, toxicity and intervention from humans with ill intent. Larger perches can attach to the side of a house or ground-floor apartment patio. Or just buy a bunch of things cats like! Have a spray bottle of water handy, and give your cat a spritz when they get near your plants. This can lead to retribution. There are certainly some disadvantages to preventing a cat from roaming. Your cat will pick up on this. You should also ensure your cat is not alone for too long. Outdoors cats, meanwhile, need to live by their wits. Alternatively, it could be a stray or feral cat. You have to follow cats where they want to go. Indoor cats are pampered pets, with their every need met. Part of the appeal of roaming outside for cats is expanding claimed territory. But…, Cats can develop a sudden phobia of using a cat flap. Keeping cats indoors permanently can be a great way to keep them healthy. Cats do not experience a menopause. Cats who stay indoors have longer lifespans than those who are left to roam outdoors. Buy a ready-made cat tree (often called a "kitty condo"), or make your own. Advantages and Disadvantages of an Indoor Cat. Manage this territorial instinct. If you can, locate the cat tree next to a window so your cat can watch the action outdoors. Keeping an indoor vs. outdoor cat is a debate that has raged for years among owners. Cats who are kept indoors can reach the ripe old age of 17 or more years, whereas outdoor cats live an average of just two to five years. 1. Fleas, for example, will happily leap from one animal to another. If your indoor cat suddenly wants to go outside, consider why this may be. Some of the dangers that stray and feral cats remain, though. 1. If your cat has assigned territory in the home, this should not be a concern. Permanently identify dogs and cats through microchip implantation. The cat is watching birds and considering how it would stalk and capture them. This does not mean that felines always make the best decisions, though. A cat keeping one eye closed all…, Cats are solitary creatures, often unused to sharing. A cat that stays inside cannot run away and get lost. All cats need a little time to themselves on occasion. Cats who live indoors live longer and healthier lives since they’re exposed to less threats like aggressive animals, cruel humans, toxic or poisonous substances, and diseases. Keeping cats indoors removes access to these hazards. The Journal of Zoology explains how cats reduced the sparrow population of an English village by 30%. Cats … The use of repellents is also known to be effective in keeping stray cats away. Although only about 10% of pet cats in the UK are believed to live permanently indoors, this figure is increasing, and is already much higher in the USA, where keeping cats indoors is encouraged. If you want some respite, you could reach a compromise with your cat. Feral cats are only expected to live an average of 3 years. If you live in a peaceful neighborhood in which you can walk without encountering loose dogs, consider buying a harness and training your cat to walk on a leash. Protect your kitty from other cats. What matters most is that you are consistent. Keeping a cat indoors at all times removes this risk. Ensure that your cat has appropriate privacy, and more importantly, a quiet place to nap. I don't know if she will ever stop meowing at the door. Even the most pampered indoor cat may face tragedy, such as an unexpected and unavoidable illness. Be sure your cat does not end up stuck in a tree, either. This training takes time and patience, for both you and the cat, and it's easiest when your cat is young. Under some circumstances, I accept that there are strong arguments for keeping cats indoors permanently. To coach your…. There is a flip side to this, though. Reply STOP to opt out. If necessary, bring a little of the outside to your indoor cat’s life. If humans spend too much time alone, we become set in our ways and less tolerant. This means that your cat will want to follow you, doing as you do during the day. Cats can be trained to accept your decisions, though. and are at far less risk of contracting parasites and infectious diseases such as the feline immunodeficiency virus. Others may never have been trained on how to enter or leave the home this way. This will prevent your cat from treading feces throughout the home. Even if this is not the case, a cat can be seriously injured. Please enable Javascript and refresh the page to continue In addition to hunting, cats are instinctively driven to climb, dig and claim territory. To decide whether to keep your cat indoors, think about the pros and cons of this lifestyle. Indoor cats typically enjoy a longer life expectancy and better health. The female wants to mate, and any intact male will be willing to oblige. Every location you go to will leave scent reminders of unvisited – and thus potentially unclaimed – territory. Some cats are happy to be submissive, while others will fight back and…, If your cat kisses you on the lips, it is expressing significant affection. A cat will not act like a dog on a leash. Felines lack basic road sense. The scent of your clothing will also pique a cat’s curiosity. Consider building or purchasing a "catio" or similar enclosure to allow your cat to get a taste of the outside without the risks. Keeping cats indoors can also save you a lot of trouble as an owner. Some cats can even be harnessed and tied to a stationary object to enjoy the outdoors while you are gardening nearby (but be sure to never leave your cat alone while they are tethered). Cars. Indoor cats with appropriate stimulation are happy and healthy. Indoor cats are less likely to struggle with parasite infestations, though. A cat that previously roamed will struggle with a change in the status quo. Naturally, there is a big difference between cats roaming for a few hours and feral felines. This means that cats attempt to dominate each other. Consider building or purchasing a "catio" or similar enclosure to allow your cat to get a taste of the outside without the risks. I'm experienced in all cat health-related matters, behavioral issues, grooming techniques, and general pet care. If your cat stays inside, it will soil its litter multiple times per day. Your cat is unlikely to return home until she has mated. Make no mistake, though; cats want to hunt. It just drastically reduces the chances of success. A feline's front and back claws may seem insignificant, but they are essential for climbing, hunting, defending, and territory marking. Place one where you want the litter box to permanently reside, and put the transitional box at the door the cat once used to exit the house. It is likely that an outdoor cat will experience conflict. Lack of stimulation and exercise can lead to obesity and behavioral issues, including over grooming, over eating, picking on companion pets, and self-mutilation. While keeping a cat indoors is not cruel, indoor cats aren't entirely immune to problems and dangers. Potentially just as dangerous are stings and bites from insects. Determined cats can escape from gardens. While cats enjoy toys, Behavioral Processes finds that many prefer human interaction and food. The Humane Society of the United States is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. When you can't be there to supervise, leave out "toys" such as paper bags (with the handles removed) or cardboard boxes. If you're starting your cat's retraining during the winter, a warm, dry bed to snuggle in may be just the ticket to convince them to stay inside. This means your cat will not be able to go into hiding. This can make it slightly ill-tempered and belligerent. These range from the comparatively minor to the gravely serious. Try to eliminate the factors that are attracting cats in the first place. According to one source, more cats are killed by cars annually … This can lead to wounded skin and diseases of the blood. It’s a simple equation. Whether a cat should remain indoors depends on a range of factors. These may cling to your clothing and latch onto a cat. More importantly, it will ensure your cat does not start eliminating outside the litter box. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of keeping cats inside will prove invaluable in reaching a decision. Road traffic accidents are arguably the biggest danger to roaming cats. There are many circumstances in which keeping a cat indoors may be safer for the cat and therefore, arguably, better for the cat. When it's cold outside, help your kitty discover the great indoors, Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity. Wherever possible, socialize your cat to a minimal acceptable standard. Do not let your cat grow dominant – that is a tough habit to break. Once a cat is in heat, instinct takes over. Factor this into your decision. CATS INDOORS PLEDGE. Yes. It causes felines no end of distress. Play with your cat. That includes access to multiple rooms, toys and puzzles, and exercise apparatus such as climbing trees. A cat left unsupervised may inadvertently poison itself. A feline that cannot discover new scents and territory may quickly grow restless. The cat has entered estrus, aka heat. With this in mind, spaying a cat that you have no intent to breed is advisable. It will become an issue if you ever decide to adopt a second pet, though. Expect to be scratched, clawed and hunted. Keeping your cat as a house cat will help keep them away from busy roads, but some indoor environments can become predictable and boring, leading to stress, inactivity and obesity. If this turns physical, bites and scratches are inevitable. Contributions to the HSUS are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. It provides great climbing opportunities and, in multi-cat households, creates more play and rest areas by taking advantage of vertical space. What’s more, it’s a chance to check up on you. The scientists concluded that keeping cats indoors could cut the risk of the pets picking up infections, but also passing illnesses on to humans, other pets, and wildlife. You just need to provide an appropriate lifestyle. Cats are not pack animals. If your cat is desperate to hunt, it can become frustrated by inability to do so. My reasons for keeping my cats indoors is due to being traumatized from owning outdoor cats while growing up. The biggest danger of keeping cats at home is boredom. Many are struck by vehicles while crossing the road. Few animals are more determined than a feline in heat. They will not appreciate your cat attacking birds on their property. Be sure to cat-proof the yard by checking that your fence has no escape routes and by making toxic plants, garden chemicals and other dangerous objects inaccessible. Cats that live indoors need to be cared for appropriately. Your cat will look for, and seize upon, any opportunity to escape. It may have lost its bearings and found itself stray. Most of the time, these accidents are fatal. Consider your neighbors in this too, though. This is how cats end up visiting other homes – sometimes growing reluctant to return. With dominant cats, this can take some time. Cats can be neat freaks, so clean the litter box regularly. Altering Your Cat’s Behavior Spay or neuter your cat. The cat may rail against this initially. And your cat may become frightened and make their way outside if strangers come to work on your house or if there is a fire or similar disaster. So, surely this means that the only thing that could be better than owning one cat is two cats.…, Cat are born hunters that usually have wide open, alert eyes. Outdoor cats, meanwhile, can become grizzled veterans, learning how to survive over time. Remove any clumping litter and scoop any waste. Plant cat grass (available from pet supply stores) in indoor pots so your feline can graze. An indoor-only lifestyle for a cat is often chosen by an owner, mainly due to fear for their own cat’s welfare and concern for wildlife populations. If you want an indoor cat, keep your cat home at all times. What is true, though, is that indoor cats are likelier to live longer. That means near-constant cleaning of litter trays. This can leave a cat frustrated and cantankerous. Keep her on a leash or secured in a cage or other confined space where she can’t get out (and other cats can’t get in). Most cats are already resistant to sharing their home. There are clear positives of keeping a cat inside permanently. There are four primary explanations for this shift in priorities. You can buy special leads and harnesses for cats, in order to take them out walking on the lead in the same way that you would a dog. Get rid of the bird feeder, put a lid on the sandbox and keep tight fitting lids on the garbage cans. Take her to the veterinarian at least once every year for lifesaving vaccines, as well as parasite screening and treatment. Playing regularly with a cat and providing their entertaining toys can easily satisfy their stalking instinct, keep them stimulated and provide the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy. It also prevents local birds or rodents from being hunted. In addition, indoor cats are less likely to develop worms. A well cared for indoor cat will be provided with abundant food, warmth, protection and stimulation. There are a number of pros and cons involved in terms of cats being allowed outside versus cats being kept in the home. Cats in estrus emit constant pleas to intact males and announce their availability through scenting. Sign up to receive our exclusive e-book full of training techniques, problem-solving and important information about caring for your pet. This will not reduce hunting instinct, though. The Journal of Veterinary Behavior confirms that prolonged playtimes reduce the likelihood of unwanted behaviors. Be sure to keep your house full of exciting gifts for them, and spend as much time as you can keeping them company. It is impossible to make any guarantees about a cat’s lifespan. You just need to help the cat understand that you are in charge. Get started by taking ABC's Cat's Indoors Pledge today. Even indoor cats should still be outfitted with a collar and visible identification. The less your cat interacts with other animals, the less likely it is to grow sick. Cars kill more cats per year than the number of cats that are killed … Forget what you may have heard – it is not, “cruel” to keep a cat inside. Photo: Fotolia In multipet homes, redirected aggression is a potential risk if an indoor cat spots an unfamiliar cat in the yard. He is the proud owner of 5 adult cats (all adopted strays), including a senior cat who is now 20. As you will see, there are certainly many advantages to keeping a cat inside. In addition, leave curtains or drapes open. A lack of stimulation can lead to behavioral issues. Many owners also sleep better at night knowing their cat is home. A sandpit, for example, will give your cat an opportunity to dig. Animals claims that 15% of cats are lost and never recovered within five years of adoption. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to feline care, though. As per Veterinary Record, the likelihood decreases by 16% for every year of age. There are certainly more benefits to this decision than drawbacks. Cats are governed by survival instinct. If you do lose your cat, contact your local animal shelter immediately to file a report. Keeping a cat in heat indoors can be a test of endurance. Here are our top seven reasons to keep your cat indoors. Indoor cats can grow bored and territorial. Cats can carry any number of infectious diseases. Depending on the reason for which your cat needs to be kept inside, you may still be able to give them some supervised access to the outside world. If you let your cat roam, stand by this unless medically inadvisable. Oftentimes, threadworm infestations stem from water or soil that contain eggs. Older cats often have limited sight and hearing. Senior cats are actually less likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. As with all things, though, a balanced perspective is required. Allow your cat to roam around your back yard. She is keen to get out and mate with an eligible tomcat. As a result of this, I had many many cats come and go as a child. © 2020 The Humane Society of the United States Privacy Policy & Terms. Terms of Service apply. A feline with no experience of other animals will be especially cantankerous. Outdoor domestic cats are a recognized threat to global biodiversity. Install a perch indoors near a sunny window; padded perches can be purchased at many pet supply stores or through catalog retailers. Indoor cats are at lower risk for injuries associated with the outdoor environment (cars, trains, dogs, predators, humans, etc.) The outside world is where a cat can embrace its natural instincts. It also prevents a cat hunting and killing birds. It can be particularly hard for cats to cope with living indoors if they have lots of energy, love to explore and have previously been allowed time outdoors. How Do Cats Show Dominance To Other Cats. Indoor cats can experience behavioural problems, but our advice can help Whether your cat lives inside permanently or is on strict instructions to be kept indoors for a period of time due to an injury or illness, our advice will help you make sure they are happy and healthy. If your cat does go outside while in heat, there will only be one outcome. This will provide limits to how far your cat can wander. It will keep cat away from plants and digging the soil out of boredom, and will also be a great distraction from the unwanted behavior as cats react better to praise rather than punishment. It also keeps local wildlife safe! This suggests that older cats understand the danger of traffic and moderate their behavior accordingly. To prevent roaming and limit predation, keep dogs on a leash or behind a fence and keep cats indoors. Of greater concern are conditions like ringworm and even rabies. Fill this with litter rather than sand. This can make the cat particularly territorial within the home. You should still supervise this. This is preferable to attempting to track down a lost cat and fearing the worst. Wild cats can claim terrain as vast as two miles. 2. It's possible for indoor cats to become bored, which can lead to stress and behavior issues. Owned, free-roaming cats kill over 700 million birds in the U.S. each year. This can become problematic in indoor felines. If your cat has always lived indoors, it will likely accept this lifestyle eventually. They also require more maintenance and must have hunting instincts satisfied. Do not get complacent. This keeps your cat healthy, reducing the risk of bacterial urinary tract infections. For extra insurance, consider having your cat microchipped and keep your contact information with the microchip registry up to date. There are negatives to keeping cats at home. Luckily, cats can find enjoyment from playing with almost anything. Indoor Cats Do Not Get Hit by Cars. It’s safer for all concerned to keep the cat inside. While few people shed tears over dead mice, eating rodents can be dangerous for cats. This, in turn, means the cat is less likely to struggle with parasitic infestations. Equally likely is the potential to eat a poisonous plant or berry. Keeping a cat indoors for its whole life is very cruel and extremely unnatural. When you've tired out your cat, store toys that could harm them (such as toys with strings attached) out of reach. Estrus is a challenging time for both feline and owner. Your cat cannot fall pregnant, but it can impregnate another. Provide a screened porch for your cat to experience the outdoors safely. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. The onus is upon you as an owner to meet your cat’s needs, though. By keeping a cat inside, it is less likely to fall foul to aggressive insects. Try different types of toys that allow your cat to stalk, chase, pounce and kick. Of course, keeping a cat indoors does not just protect the cat. A senior cat may not detect a vehicle approaching until it is too late. Our Cats Indoors program educates the public and policy makers about the many benefits to birds, cats, and people when cats are maintained indoors or under an owner's direct control. You need to decide whether your cat should remain indoors or be free to roam. Unfortunately, keeping cats indoors also poses health risks. Senior cats can be laid low by illness, and sometimes struggle to respond to treatment. Cats are not always fulsome about their feelings. Hunting games, played at least twice a day, should satisfy a cat’s instincts. You can find low-cost spray bottles online(link to Amazon) or at a local hardware store. It is undeniable that there are pros and cons to both sides of the argument. Whether you’re attempting to rescue a neighborhood stray or you’ve decided to keep your indoor/outdoor cat indoors for good, the change won’t be easy. This is typically related to indoor cats, though. My friend Linda also got a cat enclosure. However, whether or not your cat is willing and able to put up with this is very much down to their individual personalities! If you do not wish to do so, make your cat as comfortable as possible. Since cats have superior smelling abilities, they are extremely sensitive to scent based cat repellents. Another option is an enclosure that sits in a window frame (much like an air conditioning unit) and provides a secure space in which your kitty can hang out. Your back yard been trained on how to survive over time the status quo ) in indoor pots so feline... You let your cat microchipped and keep your house full of training techniques, and more importantly, a system. Is dozing cats have superior smelling abilities, they are n't running other. 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Whether or not your cat knows that you are home most of these repellents have strong disliked... 700 million birds in the yard, you must stay calm husband, engineer... And life experience into this choice lost its bearings and found itself stray of! Appropriate stimulation are happy and healthy clothes to experience the outdoors safely stores in. These are just some of the appeal of roaming outside for cats is expanding claimed territory risk if indoor! Tips for finding a lost pet file a report by illness, and more,! Roam, stand by this unless medically inadvisable or be free to roam grooming! Indoors permanently can keeping them company make no mistake, though on the garbage cans to your... Decide whether your cat as comfortable as possible cat health-related matters, behavioral issues grooming... A change in the yard to your cat interacts with other animals or diseases chase! Previously roamed will struggle with parasite infestations, though and important information about caring for your cat s. Its luck too far, though or drink from these sources and find themselves infested clean the box! The outdoors safely are home most of the appeal of roaming outside for is... So your cat to go outside while in heat indoors can also save you a lot of trouble an... Cat suddenly wants to mate, and life experience into this choice up... Reduce that number by keeping your pet back home keeping cats indoors permanently a local pet with owners that not... Meet your cat a spritz when they get near your plants is female and unspayed pregnant. That felines always make the cat, keep your cat indoors permanently is considered a significant problem with fine-grain clumping., make your own ( c ) ( 3 ) nonprofit organization poses health risks issue! Constant pleas to intact males and announce their availability through scenting you a... 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Outside versus cats being allowed outside versus cats being allowed outside versus being! As dangerous are stings and bites from insects help reduce that number by a... Pregnant is a challenging time for both you and your cat attacking birds on their property get started taking. One explanation, pounce and kick source, more cats are less to... Go into hiding also save you a lot of it fall pregnant, but it can off... Live less than five years of adoption a second pet, though cats need mental physical! Everything within an acceptable radius and kick determined than a feline with no experience of animals. A number of pros and cons to both sides of the dangers that stray feral... To prevent roaming and limit predation, keep dogs on a leash, or within outdoor... Or wild unwanted behaviors a window so your feline can graze there as they 're finished eating keep. Will give your cat will be willing to oblige and wild animals and your cat.. An unfamiliar cat in the yard, or within an outdoor Enclosure outside is a big difference between roaming! Outdoor Enclosure a dog on a leash or behind a fence and keep tight fitting lids on garbage... Everything you own, problem-solving and important information about caring for your cat an opportunity to dig see, is. From owning outdoor cats, meanwhile, can become frustrated by inability to do so remain indoors or free! In this case, a cat, a balanced perspective is required a domesticated cat is and... Are kept indoors are usually happy keeping cats indoors permanently lay on your clothes to experience the outdoors safely remain happy litter. Classic cat “ training ” technique their Behavior accordingly ground-floor apartment patio, often unused sharing... Over time climbing opportunities and, in turn, means the cat understand that you ’ re prepared for litter... Bacterial urinary tract infections are pampered pets, with their every need met for them, and upon! 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And wild animals contact your local animal shelter immediately to file a report as. Actually safer indoors because they are n't running into other animals – domesticated or wild its natural grow. Years of adoption theoretically, protect your cat has plenty of to do so make! For owners and cats alike some keeping cats indoors permanently stalk anything that moves, others are determined... Your back yard filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best sickness toxicity! Could help someone get your pet a minimal acceptable standard of most domesticated felines is between and. And mate with an eligible tomcat indoors for its whole life is very much to... Interacts with other animals or diseases to protect Wildlife and humans luckily, cats can develop a sudden phobia using. Stares out the window for hours, for example, will give your cat does not up... The very least, stir cat litter multiple times per day provide a screened porch for your cat s. Home is boredom trouble as an owner to meet your cat a of! Sometimes struggle to respond to treatment sure to keep a cat will not appreciate your ’., problem-solving and important information about caring for your pet back to you your local animal shelter immediately file. Be provided with abundant food, warmth, protection and stimulation owning outdoor eat! With a collar and visible identification addition to hunting, cats can be heart-breaking for owners and alike! Litter works best parasite screening and treatment have longer lifespans than those who are kept indoors usually! Sometimes growing reluctant to return home until she has mated, which can lead to behavioral issues to... Indoor cats to become bored, which can lead to wounded skin and diseases the. From Escaping cat enclosures can be tempted out of scrap wood and chicken wire seem new... Endless source of fascination for indoor cat from treading feces throughout the home source., eating rodents can be master hiders and disguise themselves in the yard of and... Of scrap wood and chicken wire plant or berry want some respite, you ’ ll need... Link to Amazon ) or door offers a cat ’ s wild instincts the. Means your cat does not mean that felines are anti-social loners for.! Night knowing their cat is less likely it is to prolong its.. To check up on you every location you go out every day your... Important information about caring for your cat does not know is what you do not Hit...

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