Cat Care Tips: May 2009 Archives

pictures_cats_outdoors.jpegIs your cat going to be an indoor cat or outdoor cat or an indoor cat with outdoor access? It is a big decision to make for the well being of your cat and your sanity.

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You need to think carefully about the positives and negatives before deciding which way to go. Some things to consider are the dangers to your cat from other animals and mean humans. Fleas, ticks, scorpions, snakes, coyotes, rabies, etc. and do not forget annoyed neighbors.

Cats can be happy indoors, if you see to their needs. Any window with a birdfeeder and bird bath in the view can provide hours of pleasure for your cat and satisfy their stalking and hunting instincts. Open the window on nice days with a secure screen in place. A handful of chemical free grass will supply their need for green grass to eat. We keep a special patch to pick from. In the Winter months we plant a big pot of rye grass.

We lived on a 41 feet sail boat for ten years with two cats. For 5 of those years we were on a mooring and for the other five we were at a dock. We trained both cats to wear a harness when we were under way and when we were going to come into a dock. Then they quickly accepted the idea of walking on a lease, so that they could investigate their new environment. They played on the deck and went up and down stairs, dozens of times a day.

pictures_cats_indoors.jpegLater when we moved into a house, we continued to walk them on the lease. One cat even got to the point that we could carry him down the block and put him down. Then he would walk home on his own. He did not like to walk away from home, only the return trip. Being accepting of walking on a lease is also great for traveling purposes. It is a safe way to have your cat be outside.

Now we have two rescued cats who want nothing to do with the outdoors.They had enough fearful experiences outside. They both enjoy watching the birds from inside the patio doors, but they prefer their food in a food bowl. Just hearing a neighbors dog bark or seeing one from a window can freak them out and send them running for their safe hiding place.

We live in SE Arizona and outside cats do not last too long with coyotes, snakes, scorpions, rabies and other terrifying things.

Cats with outdoor access can treat you to fleas and ticks. They can bring you special gifts of a dead mouse or bird. They can be hurt by another cat, dog or other animals. Chase the wrong thing and it could be the last thing the cat does chase. But they do have the freedom to roam and upset the neighbors by using a flower bed as a litter box or hunting birds in the neighbors yard. Just because you think they are adorable, does not mean that others do.

The choice to declaw or not is a big and very important decision. I would suggest that you do a search and read the available information and discuss it with your vet, to make an informed decision.

As you can see the choice of an indoor cat or an outdoor cat affects not only you and your cat but your entire neighborhood so think long and hard before you make your decision. Your neighbors will appreciate your consideration.

Author: Judy Jantzen and her husband have owned cats for the past 25 years. Check out her website Cat Goodies Finder

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