Q: We live in a third floor apartment and are considering adopting a new cat. The cat won’t be able to go outside. Will he be fine living indoors? What should we know?
A: Urbanisation has resulted in more and more indoor cat habitats being created. Outdoor cats do typically have wide areas that they roam, but cats can easily live a full happy life indoors. The most important thing to know with indoor
living for felines is that you have to ensure they live in an enriched environment. They need to have plenty to do, smell, feel and see.
Not having exposure to the great outdoors gives you the responsibility of having to think up creative ways of keeping your cat entertained. This can be anything from stocking up on enough toys for your cat to play with, several ‘corners’ for them to hide away in or a comfy place where they can just sit and stare out of the window. Having a plant or two for them to sniff (or destroy!) will also keep them company. Please just make sure that the plants are not toxic to cats.
The benefits of having an indoor cat are that they won’t get into fights with other animals in the neighbourhood and they have less chance of being hit by cars on the road. Another great plus is that they won’t pick up diseases or parasites, like ticks, fleas and worms, from other animals, as they’re isolated from them. As a result of these advantages, an indoor cat’s life expectancy is probably a lot higher.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you’ll need to keep litter boxes, which need to be cleaned regularly. There’s a wide range of litter and odour reduction sprays available that you can use. I recommend having one more litter box than the number of cats – so, two litter boxes for one cat and three for two cats. This will ensure they can always do
their ablutions privately.
Having to regularly think about your cat’s mental wellbeing in a small space is a challenge, but a worthwhile one.
Having you and your cat confined to an apartment can make for excellent bonding time.
COMPILED BY NOLWAZI DHLAMINI CONTRIBUTOR: MICHAEL FERREIRA PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM
The advice contained here is strictly for informational purposes. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always consult your vet or animal behaviourist for specific information regarding your pets.