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Small Animal Medicine & Surgery
Call us today! 704-636-6613
Call us today! 704-636-6613

3200 Sherrills Ford Road
Salisbury, NC 28147

Keeping Your Indoor Cat Purring

February 15 2024

We always recommend keeping cats indoors. In fact, grounding Fluffy is one of the best things you can do for them. We know, many cats enjoy spending time outdoors and participating in fun kitty activities, like leaving paw art on your windshield, rolling around in your driveway, and dropping dead animals. Fluffy is also very fond of refusing to come when called. However, while kitties do enjoy and benefit from the mental stimulation that going outdoors allows, they’re just much safer staying inside. Read on as a local Rowan County, NC vet offers some tips on how to keep an inside cat happy, healthy, and purring.

Why Are Cats Safer indoors?

Your feline pal may see herself as a tiny lion. And to be fair, Fluffy is a very efficient predator. However, at the end of the day, cats are small and fragile, and are vulnerable to many threats. Once outside, your cute pet faces a variety of dangers.

Among them are:

  • Cars
  • Weather
  • Wild Animals
  • Chemicals
  • Parasites
  • Stray Cats And Dogs

Unfortunately, the chances of cats getting hurt, lost, stolen, or even killed are far greater when they go outside.

Keeping Fluffy inside is also safer for local wildlife. As it turns out, Man’s Second-Best Friend is, well, an adorable little serial killer. Our feline pals kill billions of small animals per year: primarily birds, reptiles, and rodents. Any effort you make to protect native wildlife matters, especially with so many populations under threat.

The Purrfect Solution: A Catio

Want the best of both worlds? We can give our cats the benefits of exercise and stimulation by allowing them to get outside. Providing your cat with a safe, secure area that offers some of the benefits of being outdoors is the purrfect way to combine the two. A catio, of course, is the purrfect option. You can do this with a screened or enclosed porch, a spare room, or even a sunny corner. Ideally, pick a spot with a good view.

You can even make Fluffy an enclosure if you really want to go all-out.

Once you have the spot, add some kitty furniture and toys. For extra purrs, add some pet-safe plants for your cat to explore and nibble on. Catnip is the obvious choice, but there are a lot of other options.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Safe flowers can make your place look great, and also offer opportunities for adorable photos of Fluffy. Safe options for cats include zinnias, marigolds, asters, Freesia, Gerbera daisies, orchids, roses, snapdragons, and sunflowers.
  • For plants, Boston ferns, Prayer ferns, ferns, bromeliad plants, cast iron plants, peperomias, and friendship plants are all suitable options. The spider plant is a popular houseplant, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s an attractive plant that is easy to grow, and safe for cats. It’s not necessarily safe from cats: many kitties can’t resist them!
  • If you want something larger, consider getting a rubber tree. These are great for bad gardeners because they are almost impossible to kill. Ponytail palms, money trees, and Areca palms are good selections.
  • Herbs are another good choice. Many popular herbs are safe for our feline pals, including rosemary, basil, lemongrass sage, thyme, mint, dill, and cilantro. Wheatgrass contains riboflavin, Vitamin E, and folic acid, which are beneficial vitamins and nutrients. You’ll be able to make smoothies with fresh ingredients, and your cat can safely nibble on some greens.

Be sure to avoid unsafe plants. Lilies top that list. These pretty flowers are highly toxic to your cat. The True Lily family of lilies is the deadliest, but it’s best to avoid any and all lilies, just to be safe,

The ASPCA has more information about safe and unsafe plants here.

Do Cats Like Going For Walks?

It’s hard to give a universal answer to this. Some kitties are very brave and adventurous, while others may be too frightened of the outdoors to enjoy it. You can give it a try if your furball seems brave enough. Just be sure to put safety first. Ask your Rowan County, NC vet for training tips.

Keeping An Indoor Cat Healthy

Your feline friend’s basic care regimen should begin with age-appropriate food, fresh water, and a comfortable shelter, no matter where she lives. Fluffy will also need regular veterinary care. We recommend that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept up to date on all recommended vaccinations and parasite control. Your kitty should also be seen regularly for exams and screenings by your veterinarian.

While indoor cats are less susceptible to illness and injury than outdoor cats, it’s still necessary to keep up with vaccines and parasite control, such as flea/tick prevention. Ask your Rowan County, NC vet to recommend an appointment schedule.

Safety For Indoor Cats

Never underestimate Fluffy’s penchant for getting into mischief! Cats are curious, playful, and a bit reckless. This combination is just as dangerous as it is cute. We strongly recommend that you petproof your home. You’ll need to address or secure anything that could be dangerous for your furry pal. That includes small or sharp objects, such as fishing lures, pens, safety pins, craft kit parts, and pins. Ropes and strings can also pose a threat. Other potential hazards include toxic plants and chemicals, plastic bags and ties, and even screens or windows that don’t close securely.

It’s also best to keep large appliances closed when not in use. You don’t want Fluffy to get into the habit of napping in the dryer! Ask your veterinarian for more information.

Getting Fluffy To Stop Escaping

A lot of cats are homebodies, who feel safest in their own domains. Others? Not so much. Some kitties are quite bold and adventurous. Needless to say, you’ll find it much easier getting Fluffy to stay indoors if she prefers it.

You may need to work a bit trickery here, and make your cat a bit wary of going outdoors. Whenever you see her sniffing around the door, use the opportunity to work on this. The key is to annoy her without hurting her. Startling her can work well here. Most cats hate being startled. Squirting her with water or making a loud noise may work. Making a loud sound can also be useful. Try setting off an alarm on your phone, shaking a jar of change, or even clapping your hands. Don’t hurt or scare your cat: that will only make her more determined to escape. You can try that.

It’s also important to provide toys and enrichment. While Fluffy loves doing as little as possible, even the laziest kitty cannot spend all of her time snoozing. Play with your pet every day, and provide plenty of toys.

If your feline pal is still a baby, you have the upper paw. In general, kittens who are raised as indoor cats are often happy to stay there as they grow up. Set these ground rules from the first day you bring your cat home.

Conclusion: Cats are much safer indoors. To keep your pet happy, comfortable, and safe, provide lots of fun toys and furniture. Be sure to keep up with your kitty’s veterinary care needs as well.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your local Rowan County, NC pet hospital, any time. We are dedicated to offering great care!

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