Thursday, August 16, 2012

Advice for Indoor Only Cats?

Question:  Hi, I am a sweet little kitten, sometimes I look outside and see other cats playing and cannot wait to get out there myself, when will my new owner will let me go outside to play?
From Anxious Kitten

Dear Anxious Kitten
Do not be surprised if your new owner decides to keep you indoors a little longer, or if they decide to keep you indoors for the rest of your life.  Many new cat owners ask "When can my kitten go outside?"  and learn that their new kitten should not go outside until it is fully vaccinated and spayed or neutered.  Kittens who are not spayed have many risks, cat sexually transmitted diseases are common and pregnancy in a kitten (if you are female you might go into heat as early as 5 months of age) is very dangerous - cats in heat should never go outside.  You should have also been kept indoors for at least a month so you are familiar with your home. 

New kitten owners are usually told not to let their kitten outside, there are lots of risks to kittens who go outside, including bigger cats, eagles, foxes, traffic, and neighbors who hate cats.  I know the outside looks fun, but it can be a dangerous place for a little kitten.

Question:  I am a big cat, big because I am getting fatter everyday. I like being indoors but have nothing to do except eat.  What can I do to keep thin and trim as an indoor only cat?
From Fat Kitty

Dear Fat Kitty
Do be aware that your size might not be related to being indoors, some outside cats are fat too, in fact obesity is a common problem in cats and is often related to being fed a poor quality food (one with very little meat and lots of filler and fat to add flavor). You might need to be put on a kitty diet.

Of course your weight could be due to lack of exercise as you said you do not really do much other than eat.  This is your owner's fault.  They should try to give you more cat toys and spend more time playing with you to keep you active.  Cats like toys they have not seen for a while so your owner should have a lot of toys but should keep some hidden from you and switch them around regularly.  Your owner can even move your cat furniture around too and should try to engage you in playing more often.

There are many ways to keep an indoor only cat happy and healthy.

Question:  Hello, cats are suppose to be outdoors right, so why does my stupid owner keep me inside all the time?
From Frustrated Cat

Dear Frustrated Cat
Cats were domesticated thousands of years ago, nobody wrote any rules up saying they had to be outside.  In most areas domestic cats are healthier, and safer, if kept indoors only.  Some people hate cats and have found ways to hurt them if the cat comes into their yard.  There are risks of diseases from other cats (even if you are vaccinated) as well as fights.  Plus many cats who go outside become lost, or are stolen.  Many cities actually have laws saying that cats must be kept on their owners property, but problems occur because cats do not follow rules too well.  Sadly when they stray some cats end up in shelters and if not adopted they are euthanized.  Cats are often hit and killed by cars, even if they have gone outside and crossed the road safely hundreds of times before.

Maybe your owner is not so stupid after all, maybe they are keeping you indoors because they love you.

If you can manage to convince your owner to let you outside they would be best to build you a catio or cat enclosure first so that you can remain safely enclosed.  Or they can train you to walk on a leash and as such can take you out safely.

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