Enriching the Lives of Indoor Cats
By Anne Peterson
Fancy Feline Rescue of the South Volunteer

An ongoing study of cats and their behavior is being conducted at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The Indoor Cat Initiative,” led by C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, DACVN, was created to enrich the lives of indoor cats. The study goes into great detail regarding what it means to be a cat, gives in-depth information regarding the needs of cats, and assists in troubleshooting problems cats may experience.

What Cats Need:

1. Personal space. Perches allow a safe place for cats to lie, sit, sleep and look outside.
2. Food and water bowls. Placed away from appliances and air ducts that could turn on unexpectedly.
3. A bed. Can be purchased, but blankets or towels are just as appealing to a cat.
4. Scratching post. Cats scratch to stretch, shed cuticle, sharpen claws and leave scent marks. Scratching posts provide cats with an outlet for scratching, saving your furniture. Posts made from rough material, such as sisal, are ideal.
5. Litter boxes. Provide a minimum of one per cat, located in easily accessible areas. Large, uncovered boxes with unscented, scoop-able litter have proven to be the most attractive to cats. Boxes should be scooped daily.
6. Toys. Having things to stalk and pounce serve a cat’s hunting instinct. Variety is helpful in keeping a cat from becoming bored. Dangling feather toys and toy mice to chase are popular. The plastic rings off milk jugs, toys containing catnip, balls that contain food or treats are also good choices. A window to watch birds, squirrels etc. from is best, but nature shows will also hold a cats’ attention.

Keys to Enjoying your Cat:

In their natural environment, cats hunt for food, hide from predators, and defend their home territories. Indoors, these behaviors may sometimes be cause for concern. Acceptable outlets for a cat’s natural behavior, as well as reducing their exposure to threats, are key to a happy home.

1. Cats do not have a daily sleep-wake cycle like people. They sleep and wake frequently throughout the day and night. Adding playful activities to your cat’s daily routine can diminish potentially disturbing nocturnal activity.
2. Cats can be afraid of dogs, other cats, people and loud noises. Providing cats with hiding areas, particularly perches, allow the cat to feel safe.
3. Cats “mark” areas by rubbing against objects, releasing their pheromones. Allowing your cat to mark in this way reduces the temptation for them to mark in inappropriate ways.
4. Hunting is a big part of a cat’s life in its natural habitat. Provide toys that will allow your indoor cat to engage in a hunting-type activity.

For more information on these and further topics, visit http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/747.htm.



Our intake and adoption numbers are in for 2009:

Intakes: 179
Adoptions: 144
Percentage Rate: 80%

Not bad for a small rescue organization! And with your help we can save even more. Please visit our donations page to help support our cause or complete a volunteer application!

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