As the weather outside gets cooler, you might find your feline friend wants to stay at home in the warmth more - but did you know that cats can live perfectly happy and healthy lives indoors, if they have everything they need?
More Australians are keeping their cats contained to their homes, with access to cat-proof outdoor enclosures, or balconies. Living inside can increase your cat's lifespan compared to cats who roam, as they are protected from dangers such as car accidents, snake bites, and viruses that can be contracted from engaging with other unknown cats. It's also great for our native wildlife for your cat to be happily contained to your property.
But it's important to make sure that your cat has everything he needs to be safe and happy at home. Here are the key five things you need to provide for your cat:
Food and water
Access to food and water is essential for any pet, but cats do have some special requirements. Always keep food and water in different spots - cats prefer to drink away from where they eat. For each cat, have at least two different food bowls and water bowls in different locations. Even better would be to use puzzle feeders to extend food time and give your cat something fun to do during the day.
Resting and hiding places
Cats like having a range of different places to rest and to hide throughout the day, including places that are up-high and offer an aerial view. A good way to provide vertical space for your cat is to use shelving as potential hidey-holes, and use steps or ladders to provide access to the cat.
To avoid any accidents, make sure you keep litter trays clean and tidy, and regularly change the litter. You should have at least two litter trays per individual cat, placed in different locations in your house. Litter trays need to be at least 1.5 times the length of your cat, so that he can turn, squat and dig comfortably. If you litter tray is covered, it needs to have enough height for your cat to stand inside.
Cats love scratching, and it helps to spread their scent and keep their claws nice and healthy. Provide scratching posts that are both vertical and horizontal, and ideally with a few different types of surface. Giving your cat options can help avoid them turning to your furniture.
Access to fresh air
If you're able to cat-proof your balcony or courtyard using appropriate netting, this can provide a great way for your cat to enjoy fresh air and sunshine without roaming. Similarly, a cat-proof enclosure in your backyard can be a great alternative. If you aren't able to offer an outdoor space to your cat, make sure there is plenty of sunlight and fresh air in your home, and plenty for your cat to see and do, including dedicated time spent playing together.
For more tips and tricks, check out the RSPCA's Guide to Keeping Your Cat Safe and Happy At Home.
- The RSPCA relies on donations to care for animals, and educate humans.