• By Beth Oleson, Marketing Director

Indoors and happy about it

The outdoors is a fun place, if you’re a cat. It’s also a very dangerous one. Between the threats of predation, exposure, traffic, and incurable, fatal (and common) diseases like feline leukemia and FIV, outdoor cats live a risky life, and it shows in their longevity. An indoor cat will live, on average, 15 to 17 years, while an outdoor cat can only expect an average of three to five years.

The good news is you can make your indoor environment fun and stimulating for your cat with just a few simple steps. For cats, it’s not so much about space, as it is about enrichment; even a small area can be fun if you put it to good use. The tricks to doing that break down into three categories: toys, scratching spots and furniture.

Cats are excellent hunters; it’s how they play, exercise, and keep their minds sharp. That’s what cat toys are all about – they’re little mouse substitutes for cats to stalk, chase and “kill.” A cat without toys is a bored cat, and a bored cat is a cat who acts out. Variety is the spice of life, so get an assortment of toys - some that crinkle, some with catnip, some with feathers and some that dangle. If your cat seems bored with a toy, put it away for a few weeks and swap out with something else. You don’t have to constantly buy new toys, just rotate the ones you have.

Scratching is a natural, essential behavior for cats, so providing them with places to do it is important. The thing to understand about scratching is that it is a territorial behavior as much as anything else. Cats have scent glands in their paws and when they scratch they’re saying “this is my place.” And they’ll almost always pick a place where they spend time with you, which is why furniture is a common target. Place scratching surfaces – sisal rope, cardboard, you name it – in those areas and half the battle is already won.

Cat furniture sounds fancy, but it doesn’t have to be. Cats are natural climbers and jumpers, and most prefer to have somewhere up high to perch. Tall cat trees work great for this, but so does something as simple as a spot on your bookshelf or a windowsill. It’s ok to set boundaries about where your cat can and can’t go, but make sure there’s somewhere off the ground that’s approved. Cats are also fond of hiding spots, but once again, you don’t have to buy anything special. A cardboard box, a paper bag or a storage crate can all be ready-made spots to curl up and nap. Toss in a blanket for a little extra comfort, and you’ve got a kitty luxury suite on a budget.

Woodford Humane is currently home to a very full house of adoptable cats and kittens. So if you’re looking for a feline friend to try out your indoor cat feng shui on, come see us! Get in touch with us at 859-873-5491 or manager@woodfordhumane.org to learn more.

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