Create an Environment Your Cat Will Love

cat getting petted
The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery confirms that feline emotional wellbeing, behavior and physical health are a result of how comfortable they are in their environment. Understanding how our cats interact with their environment can help us create a space for owners and cats to mutually thrive together. Not only does your feline's wellness rely on her environmental conditions, but also on social interaction between humans.

Indoor Vs. Outdoor

Should you keep your cat strictly indoors or allow it to go outside? Several national associations of veterinarians advocate that domestic cats be kept inside for their health, safety, and the safety of surrounding native wildlife. Pet cats that are allowed to roam freely outdoors are subject to many dangers including, but not limited to:

• Cars
• Motorcycles
• Bicycles
• Attacks from other animals
• Possible human cruelty
• Poisons, traps
• Feline-specific diseases
• Zoonotic diseases

Often cat owners that allow their cats to roam outdoors are surprised to find that their cat is continually crossing major streets and roaming far beyond their immediate neighborhood. Lastly, allowing cats to roam outdoors affects the surrounding native wildlife populations. While owned cats do not hunt animals for survival, they will kill and maim animals based on instinct. This predation can have a significant impact on rodent and bird species.

Creating an Enriched Indoor Environment

Without an investment in enriching the indoor environment, indoor cats can suffer boredom from predictability, stress, and obesity from inactivity. This is especially true if your cat was once an outdoor cat and you've transitioned him to an indoor-only pet. The best solution to prevent any of these issues is to give indoor cats what they need to thrive:

• Keep a litter tray in a private area. Be sure to clean regularly, removing eliminations daily, so cats will not be reluctant to use the box. Indoor cats will improperly eliminate or hold a bowel movement for days if they feel uncomfortable in their space. Avoid a potential health issue by keeping it clean.
• While an indoor environment may be perceived as safer, be sure to carefully place potentially toxic house plants and lock cabinets with cleaning supplies. We know how curious cats can be- they'll try to get inside anything left slightly ajar.
• Provide a scratching post or climbing wall, balls, feathers, or other play toys. Some cats like catnip, and this can be placed inside toys. Cats love to be up high, some people build walkways, close to the ceiling, around a room. Keep your feline busy, and you'll be their main companion.
• Be sure to check crawl spaces, attics, washer and dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators before and after use.
• Consider getting them a companion. At first, felines may be reluctant to welcome another cat, but over time most thrive due to the interaction.

For those cats who refuse to be a strictly indoor cat, there are things you can do to help protect them when outside. If you have a solid backyard fence, you can build an overhang at the top of the fence with piping and netting. The overhang should be about two feet long, and project inward at about a 45 degree angle, so the cat can not jump over the fence, and it also makes it harder for another cat to jump into your yard. If you do not have a solid back yard fence, you can build an enclosed patio space so the cats have access from the house.

Sources:

Ellis, SL; Rodan, I; Carney, HC; Rochiltz, I; Shearburn, LD; Sundahl, E; and Westropp, JL. “AAFP and ISFM Feline Environmental Needs Guidelines.” Journal of Feline Medical Surgery, March 2013.

American Humane Association, “Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats.”

American Association of Feline Practitioners. “Confinement of Owned Indoor Cats Position Statement.” 2007.

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Testimonials

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  • "Absolutely incredible service and the best veterinary experience we have ever had. Every time we visit Progressive Vet Care, we are blown away by the attentiveness, professionalism and care shown by Dr Tim and the team. Dr Tim is highly capable and we feel very confident that our dog is in his care. Dr Tim always has time and goes above and beyond in answering our questions and providing a great service. I highly recommend Progressive Vet Care. I seriously cannot think of a single improvement to this practice as everything is already so well done."
    Shavini
  • "Fantastic friendly and professional service at this practice -so glad we have found this vet!"
    Adriana
  • "Tim and the team run an amazing vet practice at Progressive Vet Care. Gus the pug nearly died when he ate a keyring last year but Tim saves his life, quite literally. We are blessed to have such a great vet around the corner and their renovated practice is beautiful."
    Pip
  • "I highly recommend Progressive Vet Care. I used to take my dog to a different vet clinic for 10 years but when my dog got very sick, I just didn’t feel right and looked for a different clinic. Thank god I found Progressive Vet Care. Dr Tim was spot on with diagnosis and he & his team did everything they could for Leo. It was a very sad experience for our family to say good bye to Leo but I was so grateful to Dr Tim for his professionalism, loving care and compassion towards both Leo and our family. I wish I knew Dr Tim 10 years ago and took Leo to this fantastic clinic from the first place."
    Shinko
  • "Our first experience with Progressive Vet Care and extremely happy. Our dog needed emergency surgery which is always stressful to hear. Dr Tim was very supportive and gave us options to consider. He saw us on short notice on a Friday night and managed to fit our dog in Saturday morning for the surgery. Highly recommend !"
    Kerrie
  • "I brought my puppy here for his first visit and the staff were so helpful and attentive. A welcoming and happy environment, glad I chose this place!
    (And thanks for the help over the phone when I had concerns about my puppy, the girls at reception are so lovely!)"
    Stefani
  • "We were so grateful to Dr Tim (Bowden) and the team at Progressive Vet Care for their care and treatment of our very special Jack Russell x in the last few weeks of her life. I discovered the practice through looking for a vet that was open on a Sunday. They also have an emergency number to talk through concerns after hours. Dr. Tim was so thorough and patient in explaining all the options. We had the best, most compassionate care I could have wished for."
    Roz
  • "If i could give 10 stars i would. Dr Tim is a miracle worker he has fixed up my little Lolly and is always super attentive and thorough. Could not recommend this place any more.
    Love it!"
    Andy
  • "Exceptional service and trust. I recommend this vet clinic to any friends who welcome a new pet into their home. They work closely with rescue groups, the vets are very knowledgeable and the team who coordinate the reception are wonderfully friendly and easy to deal with. Won't be taking my doggo anywhere else!"
    Tassie
  • ""I adopted my cat from progressive vet care, he is the most beautiful loving boy, not only did they take amazing care of him as a new born kitten, they provided wonderful health care to him and have continued with such great care of him with each of our visit, such a wonderful team""
    Katrina
  • "The experience we had with Progressive Vet Care was outstanding. Both Dr Tim and the other staff members were efficient and helpful. Also very compassionate towards our dog Millie when she was desexed and afterward care. Soon we will need to take her for her vaccinations. There is definitely no other place I will take my Millie. Well done guys and many thanks."
    Maryanne
  • "We were very happy with Progressive Vet Care. Dr Tim was very thorough and even called up four days later to check on the progress of our whippet after his treatment and advise. I am going to bring all my animals to this vet clinic in future."
    Jessica