It can be particularly hard for cats to cope with living indoors if they have lots of energy, love to explore and have previously been allowed time outdoors. However, for some cats - such as those with a disability or medical problem - living indoors could be a better option, and they may feel more comfortable.
If you love letting your cat lounge outside, you may feel tempted to stop reading, but AHS experts want you to know that your outdoor kitty isn't any happier than it could be indoors.
Cats are happier and healthier when they're safe, which means living indoors. If they're eager to explore outdoors, you can give them opportunities to do so under supervision. Cats should be allowed outdoors only for walks on leashes that are attached to well-fitting harnesses designed for cats.
Indoor cats often encounter fewer physical risks than those exposed to the outside world and for this reason, many live longer and physically safer lives. They are generally safe from territorial disputes between neighbouring cats that can lead to aggressive feline encounters that may result in injury.
Indoor cats become bored easily because their entire life exists within four walls. Day in and day out their environment, food, social interactions, and routine stay basically the same. Curious by nature cats have limited opportunities for exploration that keep them interested in their environment.
But is denying cats 'the outside' also cruel? The bottom line is most cats can be totally happy living indoors – but owners need to put in the effort to provide for their environmental and behavioural needs.
Sleep, sleep, sleep
It was no surprise to find my cats spend a lot of time sleeping. It's estimated that cats spend 12 – 16 hours a day sleeping, and as indoor cats, my two love lounging around. They have several different preferred snoozing spots depending on the time of day.
The answer is clear when you realize that the average lifespan of an indoor cat ranges from 10 to 20 years, whereas cats who go outdoors typically live only 2 to 5 years. Cats who are allowed to roam outdoors face huge safety and health risks, and sadly, some pay for that freedom with their lives.
A single cat can still be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. Just make sure to set aside quality time for human companionship, and keep his environment entertaining and interesting. Guest post by Kristen Levine Pet Living, the place for stories, science & advice for living happier and healthier with pets.
Popular indoor cat breeds include the Persian, the Russian Blue and the Ragdoll due to their low activity level and relaxed temperament.
Cons of Indoor Cats
Because cats enjoy roaming and exploring, keeping them inside can lead to boredom. Some indoor cats also experience depression and separation anxiety. To prevent these issues, you must take steps to meet your cat's needs.
Cats can be kept indoors or go outdoors in a purpose built enclosure which allows them to explore the outdoors without the risk of roaming.
Cats do enjoy going outside: they like the exercise, mental stimulation, and adventure. But indoor kitties can be perfectly happy if they get the entertainment and exercise they need.
Some cat owners fear that keeping their cat confined to the inside will decrease their quality of life, but most vets claim that indoor cats are just as happy as outdoor cats. Although your cat may beg to be let outside, they're most likely more than happy to be kept safe in the confines of your home.
Yes, cats do get lonely. Even though they are extremely independent creatures, they can feel sad and lonely while their owners are away and they are left home alone during the day or over a vacation.
Single kitten syndrome is the idea that young kittens, when raised with other young kittens and cats and then adopted into a home by themselves, can become aggressive, anxious, stressed, and even develop behavioral issues like inappropriate chewing/scratching and inappropriately using the litterbox.
It's suggested that you choose two male cats or a male and female combination if bringing home two kittens who are not already bonded as they tend to get along better than two females. Cats generally don't like eating close together, so consider placing your kittens' food bowls across the room from each other.
Pairs are Happier
Despite their independent natures, cats are social creatures that need companionship to thrive. Left alone, a cat can develop behavioral problems, and in some cases, even show signs of depression. Cats in bonded pairs, on the other hand, are more likely to be better adjusted.
Cats will miss their owners when they are gone, but the response to a cat missing you may vary. Some kitties may express their sadness through purring, meowing, or following their owner around, while others may show no outward signs of sadness. Here are some common signs your cat missed you: Meowing and Crying.
As in humans, female cats tend to live for longer than male cats. Neutered cats are also likely to live for longer than intact ones, and pure breed cats are less likely to live as long as crossbreeds.
In most cases, a cat following you around is considered normal behavior, especially when they share a close bond with you. Cats follow humans for multiple other reasons, including: Curiosity. Attention-seeking behavior (they want cuddles and pets)
You might think that with the 15 hours a day your cat spends napping that she may not have time to get bored. But unfortunately, cats can—and do— get bored.
Female cats tend to be more independent than males. If you put in long hours at work and your new pet will spend a lot of time home alone, a female will generally handle this better than a male. Girl cats are often perfectly content snoozing and entertaining themselves throughout the day.
One of the things many people find very appealing about cats is that they can be left alone for longer periods than dogs. Even with the convenience of a litter box and an endless supply of food, cats left alone for long stretches of time, day after day, can suffer from loneliness, boredom and even separation anxiety.
Short answer: yes. When their needs for companionship are not met, cats can become depressed. They can also get separation anxiety. Unfortunately, feline separation anxiety often goes unnoticed until it becomes severe.