Should we keep cats indoors? Absolutely, yes – if we want to keep them away from traffic and many other dangers.
Did you know that 630 cats are killed by traffic every single day in the UK? Many die a slow and painful death, all alone, as motorists are not even legally required to stop if they hit a cat.
Keep Cats Indoors
People wouldn’t dream of opening the door and letting a toddler wander onto the road. Yet every day, cats are run over, poisoned by anti-freeze, or die at the hands of cruel humans – because their guardians do just that.
Keeping cats indoors spares the lives of other animals, too. Free-roaming cats are responsible for the deaths of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion (yes, billion!) mammals each year.
If you love your cat (and care about other animals), for goodness’ sake, keep them indoors. Make your house their home, with views to enjoy, things to play with, and your love and attention.
How to Keep Cats Happy Indoors
There are many tips and tricks for keeping cats content in their safe space.
Bring joy with toys.
From paper bags and rolled-up balls of paper to motorised “mice” and laser pointers, toys perk up even the laziest feline. All-time favourites are Pom-Pom Wands and Catnip Bundles.
Scratch that itch.
Cats love to scratch. Doing so enables them to remove broken claws, stretch muscles, and mark their territory. The best way to save your furniture is to provide lots of approved places to scratch. Cat “trees” and posts or cardboard scratching boxes are big hits. Sprinkle catnip on them weekly to keep cats interested, and be sure to replace cardboard inserts when they get worn out.
Provide a room with a view.
Windows are cat “TV” – a birdbath or feeder placed near a window can provide hours of entertainment. If window sills aren’t wide enough, build or buy a cushioned perch to attach to the sill. Make sure that double-hung windows are secured to prevent them from falling down on cats, and tuck the cords of blinds up and out of the way so that legs and other body parts don’t get entangled in them.
Make your garden cat-friendly.
An enclosure accessible through a window is a great way for your cat to safely commune with nature. Kittywalk makes enclosures in a variety of configurations that can stand alone or be attached to a cat door. If your garden is fenced, another option is ProtectaPet, a netting kit that attaches to the top of the fence.
Take your cat out for cat walkies.
Cats can be trained to go for walks, just as dogs do. Just use an ultra-lightweight, retractable lead that’s attached to a harness, not a collar. Let your cat get used to the harness for short periods indoors and then pick a safe outdoor area to explore.
Plant a garden of catnip.
Cats will nibble on it and roll in it. Other healthy snacks include wheat grass, alfalfa, and oat grass. (You can buy seed starter kits at companion animal supply stores.)
250 Vital Things Your Cat Wants You to Know
For more information about how you can make your feline’s life more felicitous, read PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk’s book 250 Vital Things Your Cat Wants You to Know: The Cat Guardian’s Bible.