Here are some top tips to keep your cat safe and happy this International Cat Day
We have partnered 11 local councils. Over the next three-years, we will be working closely with veterinarians, animal welfare organizations, and wildlife groups to encourage pet owners keep their cat safe at home. This project is designed to change attitudes and behaviors in the community about how responsible pet owners can be and protect native wildlife.
“We are well aware that roaming can pose a danger to cats. “We see this every day through our RSPCA NSW shelters. We want to help cat owners transition to a safer-at-home lifestyle.” Dr. Gemma Ma is the RSPCA NSW Keeping Cats Safety at Home Project Manager.
Although the initial research revealed that at least 50% of cat owners keep their cats in indoor or outdoor enclosures, there are still many steps to be taken.
A cat kept at home for 10 years will live longer than one that is allowed to roam. Dr. Ma said that it is vital to see more people keep their cats contained in order to improve the lives and quality of life for our cats.
These tips and tricks will help you decide if you want to keep your cat indoors or if you are unsure where to begin.
Timing is everything. It will take some time to transition to staying at home. Be patient and take it slow. Giving your cat time to adjust to a new routine will help reduce frustration and increase your chances of success. You can start by keeping your cat indoors at night and gradually increasing their time at home during the day. It’s also a good idea to take advantage of the times your cat prefers to be inside, such as when they are fed, moving, or when it’s cold out.
Register your cat and microchip it – It doesn’t matter if your cat is already inside your home or you are just beginning to transition, it’s vital that you register your cat and microchip them in case they become lost or escape. Many cats go unclaimed in shelters or pounds because they don’t have any identification.
Outdoor time is responsible Just because your indoor cat can’t go outside, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t! You can provide outdoor time for your cat with cat enclosures and cat-proof fencing. This will allow them to get fresh air, sun and protect them from disease and danger. You can train some cats to go outside with a harness.
Cats must scratch – If your cat doesn’t have scratching surfaces, they will probably find their own. Some cats prefer to scratch horizontally, while others prefer vertical surfaces.
Create hiding and exploration areas – Cats can act as both predator and prey. This is why their behavior is so diverse. They need to hunt but also need to feel safe. If necessary, they will run, hide, climb up, and defend themselves.
Offer predatory play opportunities – Cats were designed to hunt small prey and eat them all day. It is not possible for one cat to eat two large meals from a bowl. It is possible to enrich the hunting experience by hiding food or scattering it, using puzzle feeder toys and feeding small amounts throughout each day.
Be gentle and keep cuddles short. The skin of cats is more sensitive than the human one, so it can be overwhelming to pat them. Felines are more comfortable with gentle interactions so it is important to allow your cat to control and initiate physical contact. It is essential that cats consent to being cuddled by their owners!
Make sure your cat is de-sexed. With the rising temperature, RSPCA NSW’s feline intake increases eightfold. We can receive up to 500 kittens each week. A pair of unsexed cats could lead to 20,000 kittens in two years. It is essential to de-sex your feline friend in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies.