Raising an Indoor Cat
Photo Journal by a Cat Lover
As a cat lover, I have had a cat in my home for most of my life. Each one had his or her own personality and little quirks, but I loved everyone of them. Mozart is my most recent one. I've had him for over three years and he replaced Samantha, my 18 year old cat, whom I had to have put to sleep a year earlier.
Mozart was originally adopted by a good friend of mine, John. I went with him to pick up Mozart from a farm just down the road from our houses.
About a week later, I got a desperate call from John. Mozart had climbed the cedar tree in the front yard about 4 hours before and every time he tried to get him down, Mozart moved further up the tree. I went over and arrived just as he was carrying the kitten into the house.
Guess what! After a little coaxing, I ended up taking Mozart home with me and became his new "Mom." Of course anytime Mozart does something wrong, I make sure to let John know what "his" son did. We always have a good laugh over it, but I don't regret one minute with Mozart.
Photo Credits: All photos and the video are taken by me, Judy Filarecki, and are copyrighted.
Those credited to John Horanzy are under his copyright.
Funniest Cat Video
Mozart's First collar
Part of the agreement for me to take Mozart was that he would be an indoor cat. The trees around my house are 125 foot pines with the first branches about 80 feet up. There is no way that I'm going to chance him trying to climb them.
I had trained Samantha to walk on a leash, so I though I'd break Mozart into wearing a collar right from the start. Here's the video of his reaction to it.
Sorry if some of it is blurry, but Mozart moved faster than the camera could auto-focus.
Just Like Mom
Mozart quickly discovered my real sheep-skin throw and figured this was "just like mom." Even five years later, he gets on the fir and kneads it for several minutes at a time with half-closed eyes as he cherishes the memories of his first few weeks of life with his real mom.
In cool weather, he loves to snuzzle into the sheepskin quilt to warm up.
Actually he loves it anytime whether it is cool or warm.
He just sits himself down and makes himself comfortable.
This has been the best change I've made for Mozart. I mistakenly kept him on kitten food until he was 10 months old and all ready overweight.
I started feeding him IAMs weight and hairball food and he was maintaining his weigh well.
Then one day a neighbor gave me some other cat food, his cat could no longer eat. Mozart gained 2 pounds in a month and was constantly hungry.
The Vet had me try some grain-free, high-fat food that I purchased from her. Mozart loved it and wolfed down everything I gave him. Unfortunately, he seemed to be constantly hungry and actually gained a pound over the year.
I finally started feeding him this food from Blu Buffalo that was specifically for adult cats who were indoor all the time, and having weight problems. I also chose it because it deals with hairball problems.
The results were fantastic. He has lost 2 pounds in a year and a half, and he actually monitors himself as far as how much he eats at a time. He has cut himself down from 5/8th of a cup to under 1/2 a cup per day and is completely satisfied.
I'm hoping that he will continue to lose weight since he still has another 2 pounds to go to reach his ideal weight.
Mozart loves high places. His first few week were spent in a barn so I'm sure he quickly learned how to get up into the rafters.
I have a log home with some high beams running across the open ceiling. It didn't take him very long to discover how to get up there.
He Loves Ladders
He did need a little practice at first but he learned. Thank goodness this first one was wooden otherwise he wouldn't have had anything to dig his claws into.
Soon, no ladder was a challenge for him and he took every advantage he could with them.
Imagine being at eye level with the top of the TV cabinet.
"Look at all those great things to be explored. Just one small jump and there I am."
When a ladder isn't available, Mozart satisfies his need to be up high by climbing onto his carpeted perch.
He cannot only look out the window, but he can also chase his own tail...
or scratch the post to his heart content.
Definitely a Climber
Mozart got his early experience outside of the barn where he was born and then climbed John's apple tree the first week he had him. That wasn't so bad, but then Mozart tackled the Cedar trees which were much higher and that is when I adopted him and made him an indoor cat.
Bringing the Outside In
It was hard for the kitten to make the adjustment to living inside, so John brought over a dead cedar log and soon Mozart was happily climbing that on the front porch.
Of course, I had to grow some grass for him to nibble on since there was none available inside.
When I don't have any in a planter, I go out and pick some so his tummy stays happy.
Doggie Door - Kitty Door
Being the climber that he is, Mozart got in the habit of not waiting for me to open the door so he could go out on the porch. I put a kitty door in the screen for him, but he got too big for it.
So, I put a doggie door in for him, instead, so he could get out onto the porch himself during the good weather.
Even though, he could get out the door, at times he would decide that climbing the screen was a more fun option. He didn't make it to the top this time since the screen ripped and he hung there until I rescued him.
This time he made it to the top but then had the dilemma of where to go from there. I had to give his butt a little help to get him over it.
After this, I started researching pet resistant screening.
I came across the Pet D Fence screening and have been very pleased with it. When Mozart goes to scratch on it, he apparently doesn't like the feel and stops. He went to climb it once, but immediately jumped down with the first contact. The best part was that there was no damage to the screen even though he now weighs 12 pounds.
Pet Resistant screening
Pet Resistant Screening
I came across the Pet D Fence screening and have been very pleased with it.
When Mozart goes to scratch on it, he apparently doesn't like the feel and stops.
He went to climb it once, but immediately jumped down with the first contact.
The best part was that there was no damage to the screen even though he now weighs 12 pounds.
When I had to have surgery on my right hand, Mozart was the one to comfort me. He felt that it was necessary to help keep my arm warm so it would heal faster.
It's funny how pets sense a need and take action by being there to support you.
And when I don't have anyone to talk to, Mozart is right there, ready and willing.
Of course, his mouth has gotten a little bigger as he has grown up, but his meow is still very gentle.
Small Spaces - You never know where you'll find Mozart.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mozart's Screen Porch
Do you ever feel guilty about making your cat a house cat?
I have two homes, one with a screened porch and one without. I always felt bad that Mozart only had a porch at the one house, so I invested in pet screening and studs to enclose my covered porch in the second home.
Now he is free to go in and out of the kitchen and onto his very own porch. He keeps his eyes on the birds, and brings in an occasional gecko which may or may not be alive by the time he finishes playing with it.
I used a 48 inch wide pet screen and was able to order a 100 foot roll over the internet. He still has a tendency to climb occasionally so it was well worth the $100 I paid for it. Most of the time he just sits up on the shelf I built him in the corner of the porch. This way he can see the world outside of the cinder block fence.
His favorite times for being out there are at dawn and just after sunset. He'll stay out there all evening if I let him. I don't know what he sees, but his eyes are better than mine. I'm really glad I did this for him. He really enjoys it, and I use the porch a lot more myself now also.
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