How to ensure that your cat is content at home
Despite being self-reliant animals to a certain extent, cats are provided with the best possible care by their owners who make sure that those balls of fluff are content in any circumstances. What is required by cats that live with us in a flat? And what should we be aware of before we let the cat out in the garden? We've discussed all this with the cat breeder Helena Ruckerova.
Is it possible for a cat to spend her whole life inside a flat?
Yes, cats don't suffer in a flat as long as the owner provides them with the conditions that ensure a content life and safety. Cats are not fussy when it comes to the size of the flat but they need to be able to use the space.
What does that mean? So, what is important for a cat living in a flat?
Scratching posts, shelves or climbing frames are ideal for activities up high. Cats like to climb because they feel safe up high and they like to observe what goes on below them. Safety is also important for a cat living at home.
Are there any recommendations we can follow to ensure a cat's safety?
If you have a balcony or even just a window, make sure there's a mesh. Cats love to sit at a window, watching birds and the activity outside. Their hunting instinct is still strong and if your windows aren't secured, there is a risk that the cat doesn't realise how high she is and she decides to go hunting. It is also important to get rid of poisonous plants that the cat could nibble on. Various strings lying about are also dangerous for cats living in a flat because they can chew and swallow them when they're bored.
Is it possible to teach an outdoor cat to live inside? For example in a flat?
Some semi-wild cats, which have learnt to take life as it comes, can't be shut in a flat because it's impossible to create an environment that would suit their temperament. Such cats are advised to be spayed and returned to the environment they have become accustomed to. But there aren't many like that. The majority of cats can adapt to life in a flat, despite living outdoors for some time. It is very important that they are content and, above all, that their home is safe.
What aspects can determine whether a cat is truly content?
For a cat living in a flat, it is very important to have enough stimuli to get rid of her energy. Games with various teasers and feathers motivate the cat to move, she strengthens her relationship with the human this way and she's not bored. A cat that's not tired enough, especially if she's alone and her owner goes to work, can be very naughty, which, in extreme cases, can turn into aggression. The owner must provide a stimulating environment to ensure that the cat isn't bored.
What to do when we decide to let the cat out into the garden?
If you live in a house, the garden must always be secured. Not only to prevent the cat from running away but also to keep out strange cats who pose a threat of introducing some disease. In case you are unable to secure the whole garden using suitable fencing, it is advised to build an aviary for the cat inside the garden. Ideally, the aviary should be connected to the house, so the cat can decide whether she wants to be inside or outside.
What is typical for cats that are used to living outside? What conditions should we prepare for them?
Cats that are born outside with their mothers teaching them how to live in nature and how to acquire their food are exposed to much more danger. Their freedom can result in quite a short life. If we want a cat that's used to being free to become a mouse hunter around our house or barn, we must prepare a suitable environment for her. Such a cat should be placed in an environment with not too many cars, no stray dogs and where there is no risk of being poisoned. Getting a kitten in a city and then letting it out without supervision is a pure hazard with the animal's health and life.
What are cats' needs?
There are many interactive toys that will entertain your cat when you're not there but there is nothing better for a cat than playing with her owner. Also, if you want to keep a cat in your flat but you have to go to work, it's better to have two cats. As a reward for the daily care and contact with your pet, you will have a content, cuddly animal that likes to be close to its human and fully trusts him.