Have you ever wondered what goes on when you are out? We tend to assume that cats divide their time largely between sleeping, grooming, eating and more sleeping.
Yet there turns out to be much more to it. Cats are intelligent, curious animals that need daily opportunities for exercise, stimulation and company.
In one study, cameras watched indoor cats for a year, and sleeping accounted for only six per cent of a cat’s day! A lot of time was spent looking out of the window and wandering around, possibly bored.
Preventing boredom is something owners must address by providing daily opportunities for exercise, stimulation, company and environmental enrichment.
Some examples include:
- ensuring adequate vertical and horizontal space
- scratching posts
- hiding places
- hidden food for foraging
- cat ladders/trees
- window hammocks
- sunning spots and the ability to watch scenery outside.
Providing toys that require some work – such as getting food out of something can also help.
Access to an outdoor escape-proof enclosure is highly recommended and can greatly increase the opportunity for activity and stimulation for confined cats. Having two cats that get along well is also recommended for contained cats to provide companionship and stimulation for each other.
Owner supervised trips outside on a harness also provide stimulation and exercise. Cats can be trained to walk on a harness and lead using reward-based training whereby the cat is rewarded with a tasty food treat for walking forward (positive reinforcement).
Start training cats to be confined early.
Not all cats appear to hunt but it’s important that owners take steps to prevent hunting. RSPCA Australia encourages the containment of cats in an enclosed area, at a minimum from dusk until dawn. Containment of cats during this period can help to protect cats from disease and injury from fighting and accidents, and at the same reduce the impact to the local wildlife and disturbance to neighbours.
12 Jan 2015