Enhancing Your Indoor Environment
Many people know and understand having an inside cat is not only in the best interest for their feline friend, but also the best choice when it comes to their family. From diseases such as feline AIDS (FIV), feline Leukemia (FeLV), and feline PanLeukcopenia (which can be life threatening and expensive to treat) to zoonotic diseases that your kitty can bring home and pass along to you, such as ringworm and roundworm, it is definitely healthier for your cat and your family for him or her to live inside. People have also been more and more careless in their driving and with animal abuse becoming more publicized it is also safer for your cat to be indoor only. However, you may ask what does my cat miss by living outside? How can I enhance my feline friends’ environment, but still make sure they stay healthy and safe by living inside? Today and tomorrow’s posts are designed to give you ideas and options to keep your kitty entertained, content, and even at a healthy weight with a few simple and inexpensive ways to make your home an indoor cats dream!
First of all, we all know that when our cats have “escaped” from the comfort of their indoor living that the first thing most of them do is run straight to the grass and start munching away. By simply adding a few house plants to your own home you can replicate the same idea. First of all make sure you do not bring dieffenbachias, lily of the valley, or philodendron into the house for your kitty to munch on as these are highly toxic and dangerous. Also the bulbs of amaryllis, daffodils, and tulips are dangerous if your cat likes to dig, so make sure if you have those in your home you keep the bulb securely buried under the soil. Next, you can go down to your local pet specialty store to purchase specific “cat grass” seeds or down to your garden store and buy “rye-grass seeds”, either of them work great to attract cats and are safe for them to graze on. Fresh catnip is also a great choice and something you can pick off also and sprinkle on their favorite perch, scratching post, or cat tree. Make sure you place the planter boxes low enough to encourage your cat to nibble on those plants instead of your own and so that they have easy access to enjoy their fresh grass. Place decorate rocks on top of the soil to prevent digging or flinging of the soil outside of the planter box. And last, but not least, discourage chewing or eating of your own plants by rubbing bitter apple or tobacco sauce on the leaves or petals them until they stop showing interest in them and only chew on their own.
Another great addition to your home is offering your cat a “window seat”. Place either pull a chair, cat tree, scratching post with a ledge, or a hanging cat window ledge under a window. This alone is enough for your cat to get a “taste of the outdoors”, however to enhance this experience place a bird feeder or bird bath on the other side of the window for “cat TV”. Your cat will love the opportunity to hunt and play all without going outside or hurting the natural wildlife. Make sure that there are small stickers or lines so your cat remembers that there is still a window between them and their prey!
Since cats are natural hunters and that instinct will never go away no matter how much we may try, instead of discouraging it celebrate it and entertain yourself at the same time! One way to create a true “treasure hunt” for your kitty is to hide their favorite treats in some of their favorite hiding spots and watch them go to work. After they find all of their treats they will be ready for a long cat nap! There are also “treat dispensers” available so your cat can be entertained for longer of periods of time while you are not at home. PetCo offers a treat dispenser called the “Go-Cat-Go Play and Treat DIspenser”, where treats are filled inside a ball that as the cat rolls it around and plays with it, treats fall out and are dispensed to your kitty. Depending on how many treats you fill inside, your cat will be occupied for hours! A second treat dispenser is called the “Deli Dome Interactive Cat Treat Dispenser” available through QVC.com. This treat dispenser holds five balls that you fill with treats and at intervals that you choose (from once every 2 hours to once every 4 hours), balls will be released from the main unit signaling your cat that it’s time to play. You can even record a message to your furry feline that will play when each ball is released, letting your kitty hear your voice even when your away! Both of these treat dispensers can even be used in place of food dishes if your cat is overweight and needs encouragement to lose some of those unhealthy pounds.
Tomorrow we’ll cover the joys of scratching and more of those wonderful toys…
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