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Please Read this VERY Important Message.
We hope all prospective owners will understand
why we prefer that adoptee cats be
KEPT INDOORS
.
We are not judging your home. Nor do we want
to alienate those who wish to adopt.

We care about our rescues
and we care about YOU.

Another note.
If you wish to adopt a kitten, and do not have
any other cats...our policy is that you must adopt
two,so they can keep each other company.

Indoors Only:
That's Where Your Cat Should Be

Telling a cat owner that his or her cat should stay
indoors will often elicit indignant responses such
as, "It's only natural for a cat to go out," or "How
could I deprive him of so much pleasure?" or
"Cats can take care of themselves." The fact is,
none of the above is a good reason, only an
excuse. Cats allowed to roam at will sometimes
pay with their lives, and taxpayers pay millions of
dollars each year for animal control services to
rescue, treat, feed, and house many of the cats
that roam "at large" in the country.

There Is nothing "natural" about a cat being
outside. When humans domesticated cats
(about 6,000 years ago), they removed them from
the wild and changed their ecological role. Cats
are no longer wild predators that fit into an
ecosystem, but are dependent on humans,
receiving the things they need to live from people.


Nothing "Natural" About It

Although cats retain their hunting instincts, there is
no natural need to them to hunt. True predators in
the wild only kill what they will eat, whereas a cat
kills for play, not always eating what catches. The
number of wild predators in relation to the numbe
r of species is kept in check by numerous natural
controls such as weather, availability of food,
mates, and other predators. Domestic cats upset
balance. A well-fed house cat doesn't need to
hunt to survive, yet cats kill untold numbers of wild
animals while being almost wholly unaffected by
the natural controls on numbers. One study in a
small village in England found that house cats
responsible for between one-third to one-haIf of all
house sparrow deaths in that village. This fact
becomes even more alarming when you realize
that birds were one of the less frequently caught
specimens (small mammals led the list).

Wild animals have enough problems surviving
against the encroaching human population
without having to satisfy the hunting instincts of
neighborhood felines.

Cats Can Cause the Same Problems as Dogs

In addition to inflicting damage to area wildlife,
free-roaming cats cause many of the same
problems that dogs do. We do not tolerate dogs
roaming at large because they can be a nuisance.
Cats break into garbage, too, and dig up the
neighbor's flower beds, defecate in children's sand
boxes, ruin bird watching for people with feeders,
and add to the burgeoning cat overpopulation
problem. Free-roaming cats also pose a hazard to
motorists who try to avoid hitting them on roads.

Also like dogs, outdoor cats can transmit
diseases to people. Cats allowed to roam at will
are even more likely than dogs to come into
contact with rabid wild animals and thus spread
diseases to people. And cats that go outside are
more likely to carry toxoplasmosis, which can be
contracted by pregnant women and their unborn
babies when they change litter boxes or garden in
soil where cats have buried feces. These threats
can be avoided by keeping cats indoors.

 

Risks to Outdoor Cats

Of course, the most important reason to keep a
cat in is for the animal's own safety. Cats like to go
outside, but for their own good, they shouldn't be
indulged. After all, young children might like to play
outside unsupervised, but allowing them to do so
is negligent. The same is true for allowing cats out.

Outside threats to cats are numerous and take
their toll on cat's lives. According to Barbara L.
Diamond's article

"Bringing the Outdoors In" (Cat Fancy, April 1990),
"While the average outdoor or indoor-outdoor cat
lives two to three years, an indoor-only cat's
average life span is 12 to 15 years or more." A
look at just a few of the hazards facing outdoor
cats explains why their lives can be so brief.

  • Disease. Rabies and other zoonotic diseases
    have already mentioned as threats to people.
    More common are diseases that inflict cats
    only and that have spread through contact
    with other cats. Two diseases that kill large
    numbers of cats each year are feline leukemia
    and feline immunodeficiency virus. Both
    diseases are transmitted from cat to cat and,
    once contracted, result in the eventual death
    of the animal due to a compromised immune
    system. Keeping cats inside helps prevent
    the transmission of these killers.
  • Parasites. Outdoor cats inevitably pick up
    fleas and ticks and then bring these pests into
    the home with them. Fleas can cause anemia,
    skin irritatIons, and allergies in cats. These
    parasites also pose risks to humans since
    they can transmit disease through their bites.
    Ridding the pet and home of fleas and ticks
    is difficult and can expose the pet to harmful
    chemicals. Indoor cats aren't generally
    exposed to fleas, ticks, ear mites, or other
    parasites.
  • Poisoning. Poisons exist on chemically
    treated lawns, in bait left out to kill rats or
    mice, and in auto antifreeze drained from cars
    (a sweet substance cats love to lick, but which
    is deadly). Most cats love to chew on greens,
    but their fondness can be safely satisfied with
    grass grown in an indoor pot.
  • Other animals. Other cats, dogs, and wildlife
    are potential enemies of cats and often
    engage in fights that leave a cat injured.
    Outdoor cats can suffer torn ears, cut eyes,
    abscesses, and other injuries requiring
    expensive veterinary treatment.
  • Cruel people. All shelter workers can tell
    horror stories about cats that come in tarred
    and feathered, burned, or tortured in some
    other way by cruel kids or disturbed adults.
    A cat outside is a likely target for people who
    collect animals to sell to research laboratories.
    Outside pets are at the mercy of the people
    they encounter.
  • Traps. The HSUS speculates that over
    100,000 cats are caught in traps each year.
    Those who aren't killed may suffer for days
    before being released and often lose limbs
    from the injuries.
  • Traffic. Most outdoor cats die from auto
    accidents. It is a myth that cats are
    "streetwise" about cars. Cats are intelligent
    and alert, but they stand very little chance
    against fast-moving vehicles.
  • Pet overpopulation. Anyone who's
    overworked in a shelter knows that unaltered
    cats allowed to roam and mate at will account
    for millions of the cats euthanized each year.
    One female cat and her offspring can produce
    420,000 cats in seven years. All pets, whether
    strictly indoor or indoor-outdoor, should be
    spayed or neutered. Pet owners who allow
    unaltered animals outside are irresponsible
    and at the root of the terrible pet
    overpopulation problem resulting in millions of
    animal deaths yearly.

 


Keeping Cats Happy Indoors
.

Owners will swear that their cats will be miserable
if they are cooped up in the house all the time.
This attitude perpetuates itself if the pet owner
makes no effort to provide the cat with a
stimulating environment. But with a little attention
to what a cat likes and needs, a pet owner can
create a home that keeps the cats healthy, safe,
and happy.

In her April 1990 Cat Fancy article, "Bringing the
Outdoors In," Barbara L. Diamond suggests that
cat owners take a few minutes to view the home
from the cat's perspective" in order to "shape the
healthiest and most rewarding indoor environment
possible." Here are some tips from Diamond
(along with a couple of our own) to help cat owners
keep their pets amused and fit behind closed
doors:

"Open screened windows to let some fresh air in.
Fresh air and sunshine are great for cats. Just be
sure the screen is secure. if window ledges aren't
wide enough for the cats to sit on, shelves are
available that attach to ledges for cats to perch on
and watch the world go by.

"Plant pots of indoor greens for cats to chew on.
Grass, bird seed, alfalfa, or catnip will provide
cats with fresh, tasty treats that aren't exposed
to chemicals and pesticides.

"Give cats something to do while everyone is
away. Hiding a few treats around the house gives
the pet something to look forward to. But cats do
catch on to this game quickly, so you have to be
sneaky. Open paper bags left out or open closets
can give cats new frontiers to explore.

"Provide a companion pet for cats who would be
alone otherwise. A compatible dog or a kitten of
the opposite sex will keep a cat company and will
also keep him or her more active.

Offer the cat toys that are safe and stimulating.
'When choosing toys, try to think like a cat,"
Diamond advises. "Is the toy furry or feathery?
Can it be made to hop or fly? Does it move and
feel like small prey?" These kinds of toys will
provide cats with the most exercise and
amusement.

Diamond also cautions, "Avoid toys with small or
loose parts that can become lodged in your cat's
throat or be swallowed." And don't forget a cat's
need to scratch and climb.

A scratching post at least two feet high is
essential -- a floor to ceiling pole with perches is
even better. "Play games with your cat. Human
companionship is a very real need for cats. What
better way to provide this and make your cat happy
than by playing with him or her? In addition to
playing with cat toys, a cat may also enjoy games
of chase, peek-a-boo around doors, capturing
nontoxic soap bubbles, or chasing light spots
created with a flashlight or reflective object.

If cats have their owner's love and attention and
lots to do on the inside, they won't miss the great
outdoors, which, after close examination, isn't so
great for cats at all.

Helping an Outdoor Cat
Adjust to Life Indoors

Although it takes patience and work, an outdoor
cat can be turned into a perfectly content indoor
pet. The key is to make the conversion gradually
and to provide lots of attention and stimulation
while the 'sat is indoors. Begin by only letting the
cat outside during the middle of the day. Cats do
most of their hunting between dawn and dusk,
and this change will help shift them from the
hunting urge. Gradually shorten the length of time
the cat is outside until you no longer let him or her
Out at all. Cats are creatures of habit, so you must
be careful to slowly replace their old routine of
going outside with a new one of staying in.
Substitute outside excursions with periods of
special play time. Supervised trips Out on the
balcony, deck, or patio can make the transition
from outside to inside a little easier. Some cat
owners even screen in porches or small
enclosures from their homes. These enclosed
"outdoor" environments protect the cats yet allow
them to get fresh air and sunshine.

Provide plenty to keep the cat occupied inside.
Especially important is extra play and attention
time. Cats need human companionship to be
happy, and when they spend all their time out of
doors, they get very little TLC. An outdoor cat may
welcome the indoors if he or she gets lots of love,
attention, and play.

This is a tough one, but don't give in to your cat's
wails to be let out. If you are diligent, your cat will
eventually see that all the fuss is getting him or her
nowhere. It is true that some cats will develop
behavioral problems when they are no longer
allowed outside. Most of these problems can be
attributed to a change in routine that is too abrupt
or to lack of attention and stimulation inside. If
your cat becomes destructive or unhousetrained,
consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to
find ways to solve the problem. Remember that
these symptoms can also be attributed to
boredom and loneliness.

Rhonda Lucas Donald 1990 The HSUS.

Link to original article

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