How to Make a Cat feel safe + Feel Comfortable at Home – A cat that lives outside the home is perhaps happier because it satisfies its primitive instincts, but an indoor cat is safer. So how can you make your life at home happy?
Recently, cats have been victims of bad publicity. In fact, recent research has found that domestic cats that go around in semi-freedom, kill 390 million animals per year in Australia. Most of these animals are native species. To protect native wildlife, which has never evolved with such an efficient predator, it is essential to keep our cats at home, all day, every day. But it’s not just for possible prey. Even cats can take a lot of risk when they are out and about: an indoor cat lives perhaps a more boring, but certainly safer life. So how can we help our cat to be happy at home, safe from external dangers?
Indoor and outdoor life
In Australia, Canberra is at the forefront of introducing initiatives such as the “curfew for cats”, and rangers can even kidnap cats that roam freely around the designated areas, with fines of up to 1,500 Australian dollars. It is likely that this type of operation will be followed in other cities as local authorities become more proactive.
Some people may think that measures like these are excessive. But keep cats inside our house it can actually be done in the best interest of the cat, as well as the environment. An indoor cat actually has a lower risk (including death) than an outdoor cat, statistics say.
Cats live a substantially longer and safer life if the environmental dangers that are always lurking in the free life outside are eliminated. A life exclusively inside (or in any case outside but controlled) it precludes the possibility of many common and important causes of life-threatening trauma. The most significant risk is being injured or killed by a vehicle (cars, trucks, motorcycles), especially for young cats who have not yet learned the dangers of trafficking.
Other animals can prey on cats. Dogs are the most common risk and the local veterinarian will certainly be able to testify to the horrible injuries suffered by cats when rescued by dogs. Even poisonous snakes, lizards, urban foxes and dingoes (only in Australia, of course) endanger cats. Tick paralysis is another possible risk in some areas.
Cats, especially sexually active males, they are territorially aggressive and fight each other. And fighting cats are commonly infected with the feline immunodeficiency virus which can spread, along with other viral and bacterial pathogens, through the transfer of blood during combat. Additionally, free cats that catch mice and rats that have eaten poisoned baits can be poisoned secondarily. Other things are also toxic to cats, such as lilies and antifreeze, and some cats are maliciously poisoned.
Is denying cats outdoor life cruel?
Basically, most cats can be totally happy to live in the house – but as owners, we need to work hard to provide for their environmental and behavioral needs. Still returning to Australia, a 2019 survey with over 12,000 respondents found that many Australian cat owners do not adequately provide their indoor cat with what it needsespecially when it comes to sanitation and nutrition. This can lead to a variety of health and well-being problems, such as obesity and related diseases, behavioral problems and urinary tract disorders.
Eg, cats are very demanding when it comes to toiletsso you need to provide them with clean bedding (they don’t want to use something they think another cat has messed with). Cats don’t like to eat near their litter box, so we need to separate the area for their needy from the area for feeding in different rooms. They also need choice, so more than one litter box is needed.
Well-being problems may arise even if cats at home cannot satisfy specific natural desires and behaviors. Eg, cats love to climb and jump, and love to sharpen their nails. It is necessary to provide the opportunity to carry out these activities indoors with a range of cat furniture.
How to improve home life
Here is a list of simple ways (taken from a larger study) with which we can create a happy place for our cat, even if we live in a small apartment. As we will see, everything is very easy to achieve, without excessive effort or economic commitment. It takes so little to make our indoor cat happy!
Cleaning and eating habits
- Having one litter for each cat, even more than one (for example, three litters for two cats), in different places and in quiet areas of the house. The clay sand is the best choice. We collect feces and urine-soiled sand at least twice a day, and change the entire litter once a week. Having a covered litter (for privacy) and another open, as a variety.
- Regular grooming with our cat’s favorite brush it is fun and looks like a massage for him / her. It is a good habit for its fur, and prevents both hairballs and tousled fur.
- Consider providing some natural foods, such as raw chicken sticks. Raw meat requires chewing, massages the gums and gives cats a sense of ownership. Some cats will “kill” the sticks by knocking them on the ground a few times before eating them.
Set the space
- Cats need vertical space more than horizontal space. So let’s consider a ladder or other objects to make them climb to the top of a wardrobe or fridge. We use furniture for cats that expand the vertical space.
- Cats like windows, so they can see what’s going on outside. We place perches so they can look out.
- The cats love to have multiple points of safety and solitude. We install several baskets for cats lined up, with a soft blanket, and ideally at different heights (for example, some at ground level and one very high – perhaps above a wardrobe)
- Cats have a higher thermoneutral temperature than dogs and people, so they look for warm places. We can place some baskets in the sun or a basket in front of a heating source (radiator, stove, fireplace).
- Have good security of the openings on the outside. Windows need mosquito nets to keep cats inside. Otherwise, the “skyscraper syndrome” – in which cats fall from a height of two or more floors – can lead to serious injury. The front doors need automatic closing mechanisms to prevent cats from going out.
- We provide the cat scratching posts and towers for exercise, and to satisfy his desire to sharpen his claws. Scratch, vertical and horizontal surfaces should be provided. Better here than on our furniture, after all.
- We consider the installation of a modular animal park (outdoor cat fences) or a similar outdoor installation, which give the cat an outdoor experience but without risk.
Entertain the cat
- The ideal number of cats in the house is usually one or two. Having two litters is often ideal, since they are more likely to grow and keep company when we are not at home. A cat usually sleeps only when we are absent, and can’t wait for us to go home. Three or more cats are not recommended, as they don’t always get along, which can cause more health and well-being problems.
- Cat toys can offer fun and exercise, and don’t have to be expensive. A ping pong ball is cheap. Crumpled paper is very popular. Exercise wheels for cats are expensive, but they can be a lot of fun and offer good exercise.
- Food puzzles, which hide food as a reward, they are another fun toy for curious cats, and can recreate hunting behavior for finding food.
- Let’s reserve some time a few times a day, for caress and play with our cat.
- Some cats like to watch TV. There are special videos on YouTube for a cat audience, which show moving objects, such as birds and fish, that cats can find fascinating and fun.