The arguments for indoor-only cats go both ways. I agree
that it’s in a cat’s nature to roam and hunt. But in our urban society pet
ownership is pretty gratuitous, though hugely rewarding and fun. I certainly would
not be as happy without my pets.
But I’m convinced by personal experience that cats will live
longer and perfectly happy lives if they are kept indoors. After several trips
to the emergency veterinary hospital in the middle of the night after a cat got
hit by a car, in a cat fight or attacked by dogs, coyotes or raccoons, fighting
flea infestations, and cleaning up extra dirt and oil stains after a cat rubbed
underneath a car, you have to wonder if it’s worth the risk and expense.
And that’s not to mention the dead songbirds and rodents one
of my cats used to bring in! Or neighbors’ complaints… the list goes on. We
brought that cat indoors once we adopted a second cat who had always been
indoor only. He adjusted just fine.
You can provide a safe place for fresh air and sunshine for
your indoor cats. Enclosed porches or “catios,” terraces, sunny windows, cat
runs, fence toppers and many other structures offer extra room for play and
The key is a sturdy frame and wire mesh with holes small
enough your cat can’t climb through. Window screening is not strong enough to
keep cats safe, you need something stronger. Cedar wood holds up well to the
elements, but will turn gray if you don’t stain or seal it. If you want to keep
your cats in and bugs out, add screening on the outside of the wire mesh. The website for Catio Showcase
has a bunch of
great ideas for both DIY and professionals.
If you have a yard, make tunnels that go from one window or
cat door to another, along the top of fences, or to a series of larger play
areas. Cats don’t usually dig but they are good climbers, so make sure the
space is fully enclosed at the sides and top.
What have you built? Let us know your ideas!
Labels: cat porches, catio, indoor cats, outdoor spaces for indoor cats, pet enclosures, pet safety