Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Different type of cat enclosures or catios and keeping your cat cool in the summer

While there are some benefits to letting your cat outside, the cons far outweigh the pros and it's easier and safer to keep your kitty indoors and create an environment where they have the benefit of feeling like they are outside (like catios, summer and winter houses and enclosures)

Some risks involved with letting cats outside include the danger of injury where they can be injured or killed on the roads. Cats can also be injured through contact with other cats, dogs or not so nice humans. Cats can contract harmful diseases through fighting and contact with other cats as well as the environment. Cats can pick up parasites such as fleas, ticks and a variety of internal worms. Your cat could get lost or go missing or they can be taken by someone else. Cats are more vulnerable to outside poisons with common poisons including anti freeze and garden chemicals.

Teaching an outdoor cat to live indoors begins with a vet exam and spaying/neutering. A spayed/neutered cat will be less interested in outside life because their mating instinct is dramatically reduced. It's always recommended that you have your cat micro chipped so if kitty does gets out, you'll stand a much better chance of them being returned to you. There are ways to make your home an inviting place for a cat.

Provide them with an inviting toilet area. Cats generally like somewhere soft to bury their toilet so you can provide them with a litter tray in the house. Keep your cat occupied. It's important to allow cats opportunities to show their hunting behaviour as it keeps them mentally stimulated. Provide them with toys to keep them occupied. Provide climbing towers and activity centres, even cardboard boxes are a hit. Try to get involved with play to make it enjoyable.

Create interest at mealtimes 
by hiding biscuits around the house for your cat to find. Swap toys around regularly to keep them interesting. Provide your cat with an accessible place to hide so they can feel safe and secure. Make sure kitty has somewhere safe to go up high. They feel safer when they can see their environment from a height.

Provide plenty of large, comfortable beds and a scratching post so your furniture doesn't get ruined. Cats like to express their natural behaviour by scratching. You could also provide a window perch and put out a bird feeder so your cat has entertainment to watch from the window.

One way to enrich the lives of your indoor cats is to offer them safe experiences outside either by walking them with a specialised harness or providing them with a secure, outdoor enclosure off the house or in the garden. You could also install a window box that provides a protected perch for cats to enjoy a view of the outdoors. 

Before making an enclosure outside for your cat, some key things to think about include the size, the location, is it seasonal or all year round, accessibility and the furniture that will go in there.

      Catio Spaces

Size (big or small) – You can build it to be window size or as large as you need.
       Location – Where do you want the enclosure to be? You can build if off an existing window, door or patio.
       Seasonal or all year round – This will determine the type of roof and walls.
       Accessibility – How will you access the enclosure? Make sure you provide a lockable outside access door.
       Kitty furniture – Climbers, kurandas, cat trees, etc

It's recommended that an enclosure has 3-4 sides and a roof. A catio is a cat enclosure that screens off your patio creating a safe space for your cat to get extra exercise and fresh air. Before building your catio, get permission if needed, preferably in writing. Make sure your catio is escape proof. There should be no openings where your cat can squeeze through. Ensure your catio frame is strong and everything is firmly attached. A quick checklist to help you create the perfect outdoor space for your cat.

       Materials – Choose a plan that uses wood, metal or other sturdy, non toxic materials
       Floor – Decide whether you want to build on grass or build a floor for the catio
       Roof – Make sure the roof is strong enough to handle any weather conditions.
       Perches – Create a place for a cat tree, scratching posts, climbing structures or you could provide your cat a cat wheel.
       Water – Include a bowl of fresh water.
       Litter box – Provide a litter box or easy access to litter boxes inside
       Room for you – Make sure there is a human sized door and space for a chair
       Protection from the elements – Your cat will need ventilation in warm weather and a cozy place to retreat from the cold
       Supervision – Always supervise your cat. Build it where you can see it and consider adding lights if kitty has night-time access.

Where you can buy ready made catios in the UK

Where you can buy kits to make your own catio in the UK

Where you can buy ready made catios in the USA

Where you can buy kits to make your own catio/enclosure in the USA

How to keep cats cool in the Summer

Very young kittens, old cats, sick cats and the obese are at greater risk during the hot months as they are less efficient at regulating their body temperature. Cats do sweat but only through their paw pads which isn't enough to cool them down a great deal. Here are some tips for keeping your kitty cool.

       If kitty is outside in a catio or enclosure, make sure they have access to somewhere shady. They should have access to plenty of cool, fresh drinking water so place bowls in shady spots so the water doesn't get too hot.
       Fill a hot water bottle with cool tap water and put some ice cubes in it or place it in the freezer for half and hour (don't let the water freeze), remove and put if under a blanket in your cat's bed.

       Alternatively, place towels in the freezer for a few hours, removed them and place in your cat's bed.
       If your kitty goes outside, try to keep them in between 10am and 2pm when it is at its hottest.
       Place a few ice cubes into their water bowl and replace them often.
       If you know it is going to be a hot day and you are at work or out for the day, close the blinds/curtains in one or two rooms to keep the sun out. This will help the rooms stay cooler.
       If you are out for the day, place a bowl in the kitchen sink and leave the tap dripping (slowly) so they have a constant supply of cool, fresh water or you can invest in a water fountain.
       Don't over exert your cat on warmer days, if you must play with them, do so either early in the morning or in the evening when it has cooled down.
       Do not leave a cat in the car. It only takes a couple of minutes for the car to seriously overheat.
       On really hot days, leave a fan on or the air conditioning on.
       Let your cat sleep where they choose, most likely this will be on a cool floor.
       Try and keep your kitty calm so they aren't running around and exerting themselves so they don't get dehydrated.

1 comment:

  1. If you love your pet cat that much then you probably are looking ways for it to feel at home at your very own house. You might as well would like to search for the right gift that you can give your cat in exchange for those years that it has been keeping you company. A cat window perch may be one of the greatest gifts you can give your pet feline. Find more at this website.