On the second Saturday of May each year, we observe National Keep Your Cat Indoors Day. This is an ideal time to explore the importance of keeping your kitties indoors.
Cats who are allowed to roam outdoors are frequently lost, injured, or killed. In addition, they are a threat to birds and other wildlife. Outdoor cats are often responsible for the killing of birds and small mammals, including endangered and threatened species.
According to Greg McDonald, DVM, of McDonalds Animal Hospital in Santa Barbara, California, Cats who are allowed outdoors are much more likely to need expensive veterinary care due to injuries incurred from cat fights, dog attacks, cars, or from ingesting a poison like antifreeze. The average pet emergency room visit costs $300.
He adds, You wouldnt let your two-year-old child run outside without supervision, so why risk the same fate with your cat?
If your cat has always been able to go outdoors – and you now want to make him an indoor-only cat – you can start by keeping him indoors for longer and longer periods of time each day. Over time, he should gradually become accustomed to it. The key is to be sure to give him lots of attention and play time, and the ability to look outside.
Consider installing a window seat so he can look outside and soak up the sunshine. Make your home more fun and stimulating for your cat. Provide plenty of toys and scratching posts to keep your cats body and mind occupied.
If your cat misses being outside and tries to escape every time you open the door, you can construct an outdoor, enclosed play area if your living arrangements allow it. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. You can also try to train your cat to walk on a harness and leash, so that he can enjoy supervised outdoor excursions.
For more information on National Keep Your Cat Indoors Day, visit the Cats Indoors! Campaign page on the American Bird Conservancys Web site at www.abcbirds.org/cats/catsindoors.htm.