At Shoreline Happy Paws, we want pets to be happy, which is why discussing indoor vs outdoor cats is important to us. Many cat lovers think that cats can only be satisfied when they are allowed to come and go as they wish. Yet, we think that personalized and attentive care given to indoor cats can often eliminate the need for them to be allowed outdoors where their safety is inevitably at risk.
Cat Rescue Expectations
Most rescues and shelters outline very strict guidelines regarding allowing their rescued cats outside. Because it is the goal of rescues and shelters to keep cats from ending up back in the adoption/rescue cycle, they are very specific about the importance of keeping cats indoors.
Before you even consider outdoor options for cats, we encourage you to review your adoption agreement to ensure you are not in breach of contract. Once you’ve done so, consider the following safe ways to allow your cat to connect with his or her environment safely.
Catios are all the rage these days. Many online influencers and cat experts are building structures of all sizes to allow their indoor cats to safely experience the outdoors. Catios are usually designed to meet the cat(s)’ and household’s needs. As long as they are properly and securely built, catios are a wonderful addition to a cat-friendly home’s yard, balcony, or window.
Many families choose to build their catios but for those that are not into DIY projects, many online retailers including Habitat Haven, Wayfair, and Amazon sell attractive and practical catios at a wide range of prices.
Cat adventuring is becoming more and more popular these days. It’s no longer uncommon for pet lovers to travel, hike, and explore with their cats in tow. Thanks to influencers like Kitty Cat Go Adventures, cat lovers are learning safe and secure ways to include their cats in their adventures.
As with any new skill, it’s important to properly and gently acclimate our cats to new equipment such as collars, harnesses, leashes, and carriers. Using their favorite treats as they approach, sniff, and explore new equipment will encourage them to feel at ease in their presence. Once they are comfortable, they can start wearing or going inside their new equipment in the house. After a few days or weeks of indoor trials, cats can safely enjoy the outdoors in safe areas as they further adapt to these new experiences.
Do not be discouraged if your cat is reluctant to accept equipment or seems uncomfortable with the experience. As stated, adventuring is a new skill and exposes cats to new experiences, both of which take time to embrace. Going slowly and prioritizing their comfort and safety will ensure that the goal of safe and enjoyable adventures with your cats is attainable.
If a catio is out of budget or otherwise not possible and outdoor adventures are slow-going, focusing on providing our cats with an enriching indoor environment is a great place to start.
Cats are avid hunters and naturally curious creatures. Any of the following indoor enrichment options are sure to keep your cat active, mentally stimulated, and overall excited. A combination of these options will also keep cats moving and agile, which is great for their overall health.
There are many cat-friendly products on the market. The key to choosing the right product for your particular pet or pets is to observe them in play and at rest. By observing their rituals and routines, you will learn what they like and can then choose enrichment activities and products accordingly.
As professional cat sitters, we take our role in engaging with and entertaining cats very seriously. We too will learn what motivates and inspires the cats in our care. We will use the enrichment tools you provide for us and do our best to mentally and physically stimulate them during our visits. Contact us if you have any questions on how we can best ensure your cat’s enjoyment and enrichment while you’re away.