- Clare Meade is the vet at The Cat Hospital (TheCatHospital.ie) in Glanmire,
just outside Cork city. It opened in April this year, and though it Ireland's first veterinary
hospital dedicated entirely to the care of cats, cat-only hospitals
have been thriving in America and in the UK since the early 1990s.
and more people are opting to keep their cats indoors. There are lots of reasons why owners decide
to do this but the most striking one is that indoor cats live longer ... twice
as long, on average than outdoor cats.
For some owners the fear that their cat will wander off or be stolen
means they opt to keep them indoors. Others have lost a cat in a road traffic accident and want to ensure
their cat is safe. Some people do not
wish for their pets to hunt and kill birds.
indoors all the time means that owners need to spend a lot more time with their
cats to make sure that all their needs are fulfilled. A bored cat will often sleep a lot more than a stimulated cat and also can express
abnormal behaviour due to lack of stimulation.
Some cats even take to over grooming which is called a stereotypic
behaviour much like sucking your thumb or biting your nails. In extreme cases the cats can lick off all
their fur in the areas they can reach! It is our responsibility as owners to provide as interesting an indoor
environment to our cats so they can have fulfilling lives.
Playing is one of the most enjoyable
activities you can do with your cat and even our outdoor pet cats benefit
greatly from interactive play. Cats love
to hunt and will spend endless hours outdoors stalking, hunting and killing
small prey. Indoor cats must get an
opportunity to express this instinct using small toys and laser pointers. It is normal for a cat to attack the toy as
in the wild ‘the kill’ part of the hunt is the most thrilling. When you are out of the house there are more
and more toys available which operate unassisted such as The Undercover Mouse which keeps your cat entertained for hours.
For this and other cat toy ideas see (www.panicmouseinc.com)
love to climb so providing a climbing frame somewhere in the house and
encouraging your cat to use it will help to keep them fit and happy. They love to look down on the rest of the
world from an elevated position!
appropriate sized scratching post is essential. The post must be tall enough for your cat to stretch out to his or her
full height. You can get scratching mats
to that attach to a corner wall and these can be raised as your kitten gets
is great fun for the two thirds of cats that are sensitive to it. It is hereditary to enjoy catnip and applying
catnip to a new toy or scratching post helps to encourage a cat to use it. See
more information on catnip (www.cat-world.com.au/all-about-catnip).
lot of research has been carried out on keeping your indoor cat happy and there
is a terrific DVD available from an American university that leads the way in
this research the website has lots of information on it too (www.vet.ohio-state.edu/indoorcat)
these ideas are also appropriate for indoor outdoor cats and all the time you
spend playing with your cat improves the bond you have with him or her.
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