How To Raise A Pampered Housecat, Or Two...
Dixie and Misty, both are about age 4.
Yes, You Can Have Happy And Healthy Cats That Stay Indoors!
Indoors is the very BEST place for cats to be, and for good reason. Indoors, they won't face the myriad of dangers associated with being an outdoor cat. These dangers are posed not only by vehicles, but by other animals, predators, poisons they can come in contact with, not to mention people who do not like cats and might try to harm them. And yes, there are (unfortunately) people out there like that.
Being an animal lover, I have always kept cats as indoor only cats. You might feel that they need to be "free", "get some air," and have other reasons that they "need" to be outside, but they really don't require being outdoors to be perfectly healthy and happy! In fact, indoor cats can live as long as 20 years, compared to an outdoor cat who may only survive for 5 years or less outside. Outside is a dangerous place for them!
They can come in contact with illnesses outdoors that they may never have contact with being an indoor cat. Many feline diseases including Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (FeLV) are transmitted from one infected cat to other cats. Outdoor cats can encounter other cats and can contract either of these fatal diseases. Outdoor cats can also be injured and have the injuries turn into serious, life threatening infections if not properly treated.
There are so many good reasons to keep a cat indoors, and they don't have to be "deprived" in any way because of it! There are so many ways you can keep them healthy and happy indoors.
You can start by providing them with stimulating, fun toys to play with. And lets face it, what cat owner doesn't enjoy looking in the kitty toy section to spoil ... I mean provide fun toys for - their kitty to play with? The biggest joy you can get is watching them enjoy a new toy! I know that by far, the favorite toy of most cats is usually a simple and cheap one... a laser pointer (sometimes found in the shape of a mouse)... and their "human" at the end of it!
You shine a little beam of light on the floors, carpet, up the stairs, wherever your cat enjoys running, and you will give them some GOOD exercise chasing the light from the laser! Just be careful not to shine it on a wall if your kitty has a tendency to run full steam after the light... you don't want them knocking into the wall. You may think it's funny, but they could get hurt and you wouldn't want that. And remember that wood floors are SLIPPERY for a cat! We learned that when we recently moved into a home that had wood floors rather than carpet like we used to have in our other home. And also remember to NEVER shine the laser light into their eyes, it can harm their eyes.
Another GREAT thing you can do is provide a "perch" for them in a sunny window. You can either make carpeted perches or buy them already made. Our cats have always LOVED their perches, and when the weather is nice, we open the window and let them look out the screen. You have to supervise them while they do this, however, so they do not "push" the screen out and get outdoors that way. They will enjoy breathing in the new scents that come in the window without the danger of being outdoors. They also enjoy a perch even if the window is closed. They love to watch what is going on outdoors, and get some sunshine in the process.
We have a combination perch - play - climbing toy that my husband built upstairs in our home. It sits right in a sunny window, and Misty especially loves to lay there and look out the window. She will sleep there all night, watching the palm trees swaying in the breeze, looking out at the swimming pool, watching cars go by, airplanes fly overhead - watching all the "excitement" of the outdoors from a safe place! We also have posts on the perch that are covered with "sisal" rope that she and Dixie both can scratch on, and we've attached some toys that they can swat at as well. Both of the cats love it, but Misty tends to use it more.
Dixie on the other hand loves to lay by the back sliding glass door that goes out to the patio. Each cat in your home will choose their favorite spot, and they love to watch things that are going on outdoors. You can let them do this safely from an indoor perch or even from a comfortable carpet on the floor. They will love you for it and will enjoy their time there so much!
In our other home, we had some VERY low to the ground window sills that both cats loved to use to watch outdoors from... my husband again made small little "perches" that were the exact height of the window, that they could use to look out. They are not hard at all to make and can be made using wood found at a store like Home Depot or Lowe's, and you use a staple gun to cover them with scrap carpet that you can also find at these stores.
You can also buy "kitty condo's" already assembled from a pet store, but they will cost considerably more than making them at home. Either way, you'll achieve the same result, you will have a place for kitty to enjoy the world passing by without the danger inherent in being outdoors. The most important thing is to be sure perches and other cat furniture are thoughtfully designed without anything sharp sticking out from them that could injure your cat. Be sure to look at them from time to time to be sure they are still safe and don't have anything sticking out that could injure a little paw.
Like Caring For A Two Year Old Human Child ~
In many ways, caring for a kitten or cat is much the same as caring for a toddler! I have actually read that cats have about the same intellectual capability as a two to three year old human toddler. And they have a similar capacity for vocabulary. They will come to know certain words.
If your cats are anything like ours. "TREAT" will be one of those words! Sometimes my husband and I even find ourselves spelling out the word T~R~E~A~T instead of saying it to avoid getting them all excited for nothing. I have to admit, looking back at the "baby" (kitten) pictures for this article, I realize how BIG our two cats have gotten... but they do seem to be healthy, and the vet even said that Dixie especially hadn't put on any weight in the last year (at her last "check up" so that's a good thing). If your cats are like ours, they will come to LOVE their T~R~E~A~T~S.... but you do have to be careful not to overdo them or they will come to have "treat bellies."
Each cat will have their own preferences for treats, ours each have their very own choice that they love and do not like to stray away from. For example, Dixie loves the crunchy treats, her current favorite is "Whisker Lickin's" Crunchy Tuna". How in the world someone decided tuna was a "treat" is beyond me, but she sure loves it! And Misty loves the soft treats, "Whisker Lickin's soft chicken" - no other flavor, even though they come in three or four other flavors, she sticks with the plain chicken flavor.
Love your cats, treat them well, get them new and interesting, stimulating toys to play with from time to time. This, as well as providing them with a perch to look out at the world and lay in the sunshine will keep them healthy and happy INDOORS, where they are the safest. If you are very lucky, they will live to be 20 years old, or older!
Spoil them a little, they will love you unconditionally... and you will find so much JOY in owning a cat you will be amazed by how loving they CAN be!
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