Friday, April 11, 2008
cat lover's dilemma: should I leave my cat indoors at home all day alone?
The changing attitude to cat keeping means that many more cats are kept indoors, especially in areas where traffic poses a serious threat.
Many owners in those situations feel that they cannot take the risk of allowing their pet free access to the outdoors. The majority of cats who have never experienced the outdoor world from kittenhood adapt very well to indoor life.
How your cat adapts very much depends on her nature, and the previous life she has led. As you have decided to get a mature cat instead of a kitten, the attitude of your cat will very much depend on how she has been kept in the past.
For example, if she has received a lot of attention and play in the past that has made her contented, she will need the same from you
Also some breeds adapt better to being house cats. For example, Burmese are very intelligent and consequently can be very demanding cats.
It is important to make sure that the cat gets the stimulation she needs. You may need to provide her with a lot of mental and physical stimulation, such as toys that involve a reward for solving a problem.
You should change the toys regularly and make sure they are kept clean. It may also be worthwhile thinking about coming home at lunchtime, or seeing if a friend can call in as it is always better for a cat to have some attention during the day.
Sometimes owners find that getting another cat can help, but this can cause more problems than it solves, so think about this carefully first taking into account your existing cat's nature!
If your cat is unhappy with any arrangement you make, she will show signs of stress. Cats under stress may well change their behaviour inside by marking their territory with urine or faeces.
They may be indifferent to any interaction with the owner, or may want the reverse - an excessive amount of attention. They may spend more time sleeping.
You also ought to look around your house to check for any potential hazards and doing a 'safety audit' of each room is very useful.
Although there are many potential hazards, kitchens are often the most dangerous areas, so never leave anything that can be knocked off the work surface or climbed into.
The doors of washing machines and tumble dryers should be kept closed so that your cat won't be able to jump into them.
Cats can also absorb all sorts of toxins through their paw pads, so always check the label of any floor cleaner.
Electrical appliances should either be unplugged, or have the flex covered with a conduit. A piece of hose works well for this, but can look rather ugly!
Sewing items, such as needles and threads can also be very hazardous, so make sure the sewing box is well out of your cat's way.
Remember Elaine cannot replace the vet who normally looks after your pet and they should always be the first point of contact. If you are concerned your pet may be ill, don't delay contacting your own vet.
Posted by nancy at 11:19 AM