HomeHuman to cat relationshipenvironmentEnriching the Indoor Cat’s Environment


Enriching the Indoor Cat’s Environment — 4 Comments

  1. I always feel like I wish I could give Monty more outside time, but if he’s out there too much he eats too much grass and barfs or gets runny poops. This summer all the grass is brown and dead from the drought, so it has been less of an issue. Also, it’s been extremely hot this summer, and I don’t think too much heat is good for him. He doesn’t enjoy himself out there if it is too hot, he just stretches out in the shade. These last two days of cool weather have been great.

    I’ve been blowing off my housework to go to the beach on my days off. Then I got an unexpected day off and decided to devote it to Monty. I blew off my housework so he could have fun. I must have spent almost five hours total outside with him. If I deserve happy, golden days (as I call them to myself) then Monty does too. For me a day swimming in Lake Michigan stands out as a great day in my life, as something that doesn’t happen all the time. For Monty, five hours to play in the back yard is like his day at the beach. He has been catching lots of moths and eating them, so he does have times he can exercise his predatory instincts without upsetting his human mom.

    I often tell Monty about other kitties less fortunate than himself, not that he cares. I watch him sniffing around outside and I think how much the cats at any shelter would love to trade places with him for just one day.

    • Yes, Monty has as good a life as a domestic cat can have. Lovely to see. He has the cake and eat it. If outside, natural living, gets too tough he can come in to the protection of the human environment. This is how the domestic cat should live. It is making the outside safe. That is the key part. You have done that.

  2. Not my cat. He is not domesticated or conditioned to the point that he has lost the desire to express natural behavior. Two dead baby bunnies within two days are proof enough of that, and that’s with me outside with him, ostensibly to prevent that sort of tragedy. But I don’t like the idea of just keeping cats indoors all the time either, especially an ex-feral cat like mine. It would take a lot of time, effort and money to recreate any type of indoor environment that would come close to what the outside offers him. But safety is also a concern. I’m lucky enough to have a fenced yard for him and enough free time to spend time out there with him. We started with Monty on a leash and then got away from using it as we covered all the gaps in the fence and closed the space between the house and garage with a tall, chain link fence. He also doesn’t seem to have much interest in what lies beyond the fences– he has his territory and the back yard is it for him. However, a co-worker today said she has tried to introduce her 14 year old cat to the outside now that they live in a more quiet, safe neighborhood and her cat is terrified of it. She doesn’t think he will ever enjoy the outside and she doesn’t feel right stressing him out. So the best thing she can do is to provide more scratching posts and toys for him and spend time playing with him indoors.

    • I have seen full-time indoor cats treat an open door as a invisible barrier as if a glass sheet was in the way. I don’t feel this is good. It is a cat that has been forced to modify and suppress natural behavior. That’s the way I feel about it. But people in different parts of the world have different ideas.

      Your Monty, is able to express wild cat drives. I think this is correct and I feel that Monty is healthier for it. I feel we owe it to our cats to let them express natural behavior as much as possible. That can take some work from us and some thought. I don’t think in general people give enough thought to this.

      A lot of cats would like to be in Monty’s shoes (I mean paws!).

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