If you are planning to have a cat, or you want to make sure your current feline companion is kept happy and healthy, there are a few things you could do to make their indoor environment an appealing one.
- They should have a room or an area that they can call their own. They should be able to access their food and water easily. Have a litter box (or two – there should be one more litter box than there are cats in the house), a bed where they can rest and relax in, a scratching/climbing post to enact their natural behaviour, a window to look out of, and some toys.
- Their food bowls and litter boxes should be placed away from appliances and air ducts that could come on unexpectedly, and locate them such that another animal (human included) cannot sneak up on them while they use it. If they get frightened by the noise, they may not want to go to that area, which could lead to some unwanted behaviour (such as soiling the floor or other areas of the house).
- Ensure their food and water is kept fresh and in clean bowls. The fresher their food is, the more appealing it would be. Make sure their food source is also sealed well to avoid it going stale. If it doesn’t smell good, they won’t eat it.
- Clean out litter boxes daily. Cats are sensitive to smells, and if the box is dirty for too long, they may seek other places to do their business. Cleaning the litter box daily will also show you if there are any changes in their urination or defecations, which would indicate an underlying medical condition.
- Provide them with an area where they can scratch. Cats naturally scratch as a way of marking their territory (or managing their manicures). By providing them with an acceptable outlet, it would keep them from damaging your furniture or other things.
- Provide them with places to climb and perch, or have easy access to look out the window to see the world.
- Plan routine visits to the veterinarian. We should be seeing our feline friends at least once a year to make sure they are kept happy and healthy. Cats hide diseases well, and it is important to catch things early to avoid hefty medical bills.
For more information on how we can provide enrichment to our feline friends, click here to visit the Indoor Pet Initiative.
If you have any questions, give us a call at 905-857-5057.
Written by: Josie Mediati, RVT