Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hello! Get Off The Couch!

Today, it is highly recommended by vets and shelter management that all cats be kept indoors. Many cats enjoy the stimulation of the outdoors and may find living inside all the time stifling. Other cats may be so curious of the outdoors that they try to run outside. So, what happens when we are put in the position when we have to keep our cats indoors?  This has been a huge challenge for me living in a two-bedroom apartment with Cady, who was originally an indoor/outdoor cat for the 9 years prior to his adoption.

Right after Cady jumped up the tree! 
If you happen to find yourself in a similar situation, it is crucial to create an environment in which your feline friend feels like he or she can hunt, chase, watch, run and in some instances, climb. When you come home from work, it is easy to sit down with your cat and watch some TV. But, I understand why Cady glares at me from the floor as if to say, "Get off the couch and entertain me! You've been gone all day!" If you've run out of ideas (like many of us do when we are already running on fumes,) here are some suggestions that I've attempted:

1.) If your indoor cat is properly vaccinated (including  the vaccine for Feline Leukemia,) then consider taking him or her for a walk daily. I walk Cady for 20 to 30 minutes after work on a harness, and this may be his favorite time of day. He gets to socialize with my neighbors, run up trees, smell the grass, watch the birds, and run around. If you decide to do this, understand that it is a slow process. For the first 2 weeks, Cady only walked 4 feet off of my front porch and then jumped back to the door. Quite often for felines, a slow introduction is the best way to ease them into something new. Now Cady can't wait to go outside.

2.) Buy a window perch. This is one of the easiest things you can do to improve quality of life for a bored cat. Pick a window in your house or apartment that faces a tree or an active area outside and give your cat the best seat in the whole place. Some people even install bird feeders outside the window so their cats can watch the birds.

3.) Consider installing a climbing perch on the walls. I just ordered "The Cat Cloud," which is a 2 step climber that you can place high on your walls to give your feline friend a challenging climb. Check out the website: . For a cheaper alternative, you can build your own shelving and walkways.

4.) Make sure that you always have cat scratching posts. No matter how small, they allow your cat to scratch their nails without getting yelled at. And hey-better that than your leather couch! :)

5.)  Provide your cat with a variety of toys and set aside time each day to play. Some cats enjoy toy mice while other cats enjoy feathers and bouncy balls.
Cady enjoying the sun. 

6.) If you have a screened in porch of some kind, allow your cat to walk around out there to take in the sights and sounds.

For more ideas, check out the link below:

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