INTERNATIONAL CAT DAY: Tips for a happy indoor cat

Today, Monday, August 8th is International Cat Day So RSPCA New South Wales has shared some tips and tricks for keeping your feline friend happy, healthy and safe at home.

The tips are part of the Keeping cats safe at home Project supported by the NSW Government through their Environmental Trust.

Research shows that while around 50 percent of people keep their cats indoors or in outdoor enclosures, there is still a long way to go.

So if you’re unsure about keeping your cat indoors or want to make the transition but don’t know where to start, check out the tips and tricks below.

timing is everything

The transition to staying at home will take time, so remember to take it slow and be patient. Giving your cat enough time to get used to a new routine can minimize frustration and increase your chances of success. It can be helpful to initially let your cat indoors at night and gradually increase the amount of time she is indoors during the day. Utilizing times when your cat naturally prefers to be indoors can also ease the transition, such as during bedtime. B. when moving house, at feeding time or when it is cold outside.

Microchip your cat

Whether your cat already lives indoors or you are beginning the transition process, it’s important to register and microchip them in case they escape or get lost. Cats often cannot be picked up from shelters and animal shelters as there is no way to contact their owner if they do not have ID.

Responsible time outdoors

Being an indoor cat doesn’t mean your furry friend can never go outside again! Outdoor time can be provided with cat enclosures or cat-proof fences so they can get some fresh air and some sun while being protected from danger and disease. Some cats can even be trained to use a harness to explore their surroundings.

Cats need to scratch

If you don’t provide your cat with scratching surfaces, she’ll find her own (most likely your furniture!). Some cats prefer horizontal scratching surfaces, others prefer vertical ones, and some like both.

Provide environments to hide and explore

Cats are intermediate order predators, meaning they can be predators as well as prey. This explains much of their behavior – they need to hunt, but they also need to feel safe and always be ready to run, hide, climb high and fight to defend themselves if necessary.

Provide opportunities for predatory play

Cats have evolved to hunt and eat small prey throughout the day, so eating a large meal or two from a bowl can be unsatisfying. They can provide an enriching hunting experience by hiding or handing out food, using puzzle feeding toys, and feeding small amounts throughout the day.

Keep cuddling times short and gentle

Cat skin is much more sensitive than ours, so stroking can sometimes be overwhelming. Cats prefer gentle interactions, and it’s important to build your cat’s trust by allowing them to initiate and control physical contact. Consent to cat cuddling is important!

Make sure your cat is desexed

As the temperature rises, cat intake at RSPCA NSW increases eightfold and up to 500 kittens can come through our doors each week. In just two years, a pair of unsexed cats can lead to 20,000 kittens. Desexing is vital to preventing unwanted pregnancies and keeping your beloved feline friend healthy.

If you would like more information or tips on keeping your cat safe at home, visit the RSPCA NSW website and sign up for The Cat-ch Up!

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