How to Keep a Cat Indoors
Indoor cats are safer cats!
Many cat owners still think that cats deserve freedom to run in the great outdoors. They feel that cats are by nature free-spirited roaming animals.
There are many contented indoor cats to put that misconception to rest. Any animal that is not securely confined, be it a dog or a rabbit will display the same tendencies of roaming and will take a period of adjustment to discipline and confinement. It is less to do with the cat's nature and all about pet nurturing and training.
When we domesticate cats, we take on the responsibility for their health and welfare. Part of that responsibility is to keep cats safe and in good health. As cat owners, do consider these top reasons to keep cats indoors:
Indoor cats don't create neighbor problems. Cats that wander around corridors of HDB flats is a big source of complaints and there are many instances of cats treating flower pots, floor rugs and slippers as a litter pan. They may also believe that if your home is friendly, that all homes are friendly and wander into people's apartments.
The same applies to cats in private estates. Even "well-bred" cats will venture into neighbors' yards when allowed to roam free. People who don't like cats will not tolerate cats using their gardens as litter boxes, and will sometimes resort to extreme measures to keep the cats out. It is a known fact that private home owners can borrow cat traps from AVA to be set in their gardens for the removal of errant cats.
Indoor cats rarely get abscesses from fighting. Cats are very territorial and will defend their territory, if challenged by another cat. These territorial battles often result in abscessed wounds, which can be deadly if not treated in time. There's also the chance of cats contracting Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) from deep bite wounds.
Indoor cats are safe from human abuse. Freely-roaming cats are easy targets for gangs of youths with time on their hands, for cat-haters, who seek cats out for target practice, and for neighbors who would think nothing of killing a cat for trespassing on their property. Although animal protection laws in Singapore are beefing up, prosecution will never bring a loved cat back to life. We already have a hard time keeping community cats safe without pet cats being added into the equation.
Indoor cats don't get lost. As outdoor cats widen their outdoor territories, they may become lost or picked up by animal control as strays. Statistics show that "owned" cats turned in to shelters only have a three percent chance of eventually reuniting with their owners. Why take the chance?
Indoor cats are not stolen. A pretty cat can be a target for some cat lovers. But more often than not, some well-meaning person may mistake the cat as a stray or an abandoned cat, take pity on it and take it home.
Indoor cats can get plenty of exercise. Cats do get exercise indoors and they can get it safely with interactive toys, climbing towers, scratchings posts, and other indoor toys; all much safer than running from dogs or fighting with other cats. Remember also that there are safe compromises for the outdoor experience.
Ask IKEA, they are happier inside!
Retraining a roaming cat to be indoors
Purchase toys and catnip. This will help to distract your feline from the lure of the outdoors. Play with your cat and make indoors seem like a happy place. He may cry to go out, but do not give in.
Install high places. Cats love to perch on high places to watch the world from. You can create these walkways with furniture or sturdily installed shelving.
Get a litter box, if you don't already have one. A roaming cats may not just be digging in the dirt to do their business, they are doing their business on shoes, rugs and flower pots to your neighbours' dismay. Help your cat by setting up a proper litter box in your home. Place the litter box in an easily accessible spot. Note: Be sure to clean the litter box daily. Cats are naturally clean creatures, and you want to encourage them to use the litter box. If it's too dirty, your cat may decide to go elsewhere in the house.
Mesh up your windows and gates. There are many options for this in the market according to your preference for price and aesthetics.
Use a cat deterrent outside the house. This can be a simple spray bottle, strong citrus scents or a high-frequency sonic repellant. These are cat safe and can make your cat adversed to the outdoor environment.
Be alert! Your crafty cat may try to sneak by you whenever someone opens the door. Keep an eye out.
Be patient! It can take a while for both you and your cat to adjust to his new indoor life. He may yowl at the door to go outside, but be firm.
It's well worth the effort to reform an roaming cat to the indoors. Your cat will lead a much safer, longer, and happier life with you. Together, let's show Singapore that cat owners are responsible owners and that cats make good pets!