Guest post: Cats are funny creatures. They can be fuzzy balls of love one minute and sofa shredding machines the next. No matter their faults, we wouldn’t be without them. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things we would like to change about our feline friends.
In recent years the number of house cats in America has skyrocketed. Now, around 70% of pet cats are indoor-only cats.
Keeping your cat indoors can keep them safe from traffic and other urban threats. In the country, it can keep them safe from predators on the prowl for a meal.
However, keeping cats indoors is not without its challenges. As we’ve mentioned, they have a stubborn and slightly destructive side which can cause chaos in the home.
We’re here to help, however. We’ve got a couple of tips to help your cat be more home-friendly.
Choose the Right Breed
A lot of people don’t realise that there is a huge variety of different cat breeds. Some breeds are more suitable as house cats.
Characteristics that make cats suitable for indoor-only living include how comfortable they are around people, how active they are, and how much stimulation they need.
Cats that tend to do well at home include Scottish Folds, Himalayas, Siamese cats, and Sphynx cats. These breeds are sociable with people, require a fair amount of mental stimulation, but don’t necessarily need huge amounts of physical exercise.
If you want to read more about the different types of cats, this article is great. It’ll talk you through all the different breeds and their characteristics.
Start ‘em Young.
If you want your cat to stay indoors and abide by house rules you need to set boundaries from their first day in your home. Whether you have a new kitten or you’re adopting an older cat, you should have your rules ready for their arrival.
Any destructive habits like clawing furniture or toileting outside of the litter box need to be curbed as early as possible. Remember that cats are stubborn and once they’ve formed a habit it’s difficult to train it out of them.
If you want to keep them out of certain rooms, be consistent with this. Giving in to the adorable kitty eyes will only make things more confusing for your cat.
One of the least house friendly things your cat can do is to go to the toilet on floors or furnishings. You need to make sure that they are litter trained or you’ll find yourself spending hundreds of dollars replacing carpets and furnishings.
If you get your cat as a kitten, you need to start litter training straight away. Keep an eye on your kitty. When they show signs of toileting like sniffing at the floor or sofa, kneading, or squatting, pick them up and take them to the litter box.
After a few repetitions, they will start to go to the litter box independently.
Older cats may already be litter trained but you will need to take them to the litter box once or twice so that they know where it is.
Make sure to place the litter box in a quiet, low traffic area of the house. Your cat won’t use it if they feel like they are going to be disturbed.
Most cats, particularly indoor cats, love a little fuss. They might not be as open to it as dogs are, but early socialization can help your cat develop into a loving lap cat.
Get them used to petting and socializing by giving them attention while they eat. Cat’s love their food and will associate attention with the happiness that food brings.
Give them a fuss when they come near you but don’t force your attention on them. This can lead to them developing bad habits like biting or scratching people.
Cats are intelligent, perfectly designed hunters. They need to use their hunting drive or they’ll take it out on your belongings.
Use toys to engage their brain and prey instincts. Moving toys are brilliant as cats love to chase and pounce on things.
Never leave toys with strings unattended as your cat can get caught in them. Instead, leave cardboard boxes or paper bags around for them to hide and play with when you’re busy.
Cat claws are sharp and can do damage to flesh and furnishings. Your cat does need to scratch things to keep their claws trimmed. Make sure you provide scratching posts for them to use.
If you notice them scratching at your sofa or table, pick them up and plop them near the scratching post.
Remember that a happy cat is one that feels safe, stimulated, and loved. Provide them with places to sleep, eat, play and poop and they’ll be the purrfect pet!