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Cat question solved!

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 1:13:39 PM EST by Cam Day

Q  Hello Dr Cam,

I haveFree to roam moved from a leafy large residence where my cat was able to spend her days investigating the creek that ran behind my house to a busy suburban residence that has a lot of foot and road traffic.

So now, she is really restricted to the areas that she can go to ‘investigate’. She has since become very ‘cuddly’ and will follow me around and talk to me continually while I am at home.

I try to play with her and provide her with toys around the house but she isn’t interested in the toys and as I work so much I don’t go and play with her outside during the week.

Can you suggest any solutions?

Kelly, NSW.


 

A  Hi Kelly,

With cats, it’s hard to compete with the wonders of the outside world.  Cats that are allowed to roam benefit from the broad tapestry of challenges life gives them – a rich lifestyle maybe - but usually very short and risk-laden.

Cats kept indoors are much safer and live longer and suffer less disease – but the downside if that is, yes, boredom can be a problem.

So, there's a sensible balance that's needed.

Indoors funThe answer is to give the cat the largest territory possible but the safest and the environmentally richest one you can manage.

Cagey Cats

There are various cat enclosure systems that will allow your cat outside access with safety.

Catmax and Cat Nip are two well-established brands but there are others.  Many cat owners will make their own by, for instance, enclosing a deck, veranda or pagoda.

If an enclosure is not possible then you need to work hard to provide a rich lifestyle for your cat where things change on a regular basis.

Feline Frolics

Playing with your cat is important when you are home and a bamboo garden stake with a bootlace attached makes a good ‘fly-fishing rod’  where you can flick the boot lace back and forth to stimulate your cat's predatory instincts.

When you are not at home, look at various ways in which you can provide change during a cat’s boring day.

Timer activated food bowls are readily available. Some cat owners use our DIY Sneaky Leaky Milk Carton Timer to deliver toys, food items and, yes, Kong toys, to their cats.

We often advise cat owners to use a process called Fan Fare Fun. Place a pedestal fan on a timer plug so it turns on and off during the day. Place the fan at table height and make it ‘blow’ interesting items such as ping pong balls and feathers off the table during your absence. Crazy!

The Phun of Pheromones

To make your cat more content in its new home, also consider the use of Feliway Pheromones

More information on boredom relief for cats can be found on this link

Thanks Kelly!


Cam

Comments

Comment by: Marie
Mar 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM
Our cats are indoor only cats. We lost one cat to a dog attack and another was hit by some ijit speeding down our tiny narrow street. Cats adjust really well to being indoors but they must have a few different views of the outside world. Agree wtih Gillian vertical space is critical and we have a number of poles of various heights throughout the house. Use the money youo save on vet bills to help with the purchse. I have also hung a bird feeder outside one of the windows. Hours and hours of fun for the cats and a couple of cheeky rosellas who have realsied the cats can't get them.
Comment by: Carole
Mar 21, 2013 at 7:56 PM
12 yrs ago when we moved from our double block in Bne to near a national park we built a 6m x 3m cathouse, standing separately from our house but with entry tunnels to upstairs and downstairs. There is also a separate toilet for them as part of the cathouse. Over the years 6 cats have enjoyed the safety of this cathouse which has 3 long shelves and plants. My daughter's 3 cats like holidaying with us and they stay in the cathouse during the day while our two wander in and out of our house; then at night ours get their house back and the visitors remain locked indoors. When we are not at home our cats are locked inside our house but are able to wander in and out to their cathouse.
Comment by: Cam Day
Mar 21, 2013 at 3:13 PM
Ah Gillian! Masterful comments from someone who knows what's good for cats. Thanks Cam
Comment by: Gillian Shippen
Mar 21, 2013 at 3:04 PM
Also vertical space is important too....somewhere they can climb and have a bit of fun – Smart Cat have some wonderful and aesthetically pleasing climbing posts. Google Hauspanther and you can find a whole myriad of wonderful cat products available overseas…..not sure how easy it would be to ship them to Australia though. There is a wonderful cardboard Cat Tower available for puss to climb in and through…..I think Petstock stores have those. Some of the food dispensing toys I can recommend (to help with the natural hunting instinct) are: Aikiou Stimulo (fabulous), Catarine Ball, Kitty Kong, Nina Ottosson's Cat Pyramid (in fact most of Nina Ottossosn's toys lend themselves well to cats), Smart Cat Peek A Prize (I use this as both a fun toy and a food dispenser), Catit senses Food Maze (brilliant). You don't have to spend a fortune though - you just have to think outside the square. Instead of only having the one feed station, have multiple stations, hide them or put them up high for your cat to find and climb too. This doesn't mean you give her more food though....it means you split what you would normally put in the one bowl over a few. I can help you find any number of these things for you at: www.petsneedalifetoo.com
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