The life expectancy of a cat that is allowed to go outdoors is 3.5 years and a cat that is kept indoors only is 17.5 years, according to K. Overall, doctor of veterinary medicine at the University Of Pennsylvania Veterinary School.
Cats that are kept indoors from the beginning usually show no interest in going outside, and an indoor cat will typically be very frightened if they end up outside. An outdoor cat is vulnerable to diseases, poisons, attacks from other animals, abuse by humans, and speeding vehicles. Cats that live outside also are susceptible to fleas and ticks, and fewer than 5 percent of lost cats are reunited with their owners. As the weather gets colder, it’s a good time to transition your cat from outdoors to indoors. He will appreciate a warm, cozy bed or sleeping in front of the fireplace.
If you would like for your outside cat to remain indoors only, it can be successfully converted with planning, persistence and patience. The trick is to gradually move from outdoors to indoors. Some cats will adapt nicely. Others will let you know they are unhappy by scratching at the doors and windows, howling, or darting through open doors. Begin by feeding your outdoor cat indoors. After he’s finished eating, progressively keep him indoors for longer periods of time. Introduce your cat to a scratching post and litter box. Provide “kitty greens” for your cat so that he won’t be tempted to eat the house plants. Planting grass, alfalfa, catnip, wheat or oat grass in pots kept indoors also will help. You can find these in pet supply stores.
If you find that your cat is not adjusting well to gradually living indoors, you might want to be firm and just keep him indoors. Your veterinarian might be able to help with short-term medication or a homeopathic therapy, such as Rescue Remedy, to help calm him through the transition.
If your cat begins scratching the sofa or going outside the litter box, don’t give up and put him outside. Your veterinarian can rule out potential medical problems that may be contributing to the behavior problems. And he/she might be able to offer positive training techniques or recommend a trainer or animal behavior specialist. Remember that your cat is not acting out of revenge or spite. Be patient and persistent. Punishment is not the best way to get your cat to do what you want him to do.
Should you become pregnant or suffer from allergy symptoms, don’t rush to put your cat outside or give him up. Consult your doctor and learn how to manage those circumstances and keep your cat safe. Provide a loving, safe and stimulating environment for your cat indoors and prolong the life of your pet.
Pet of the Week
Pet of the Week: Dynamo is a 1- to 2-year-old Australian Shepherd mix taken in as a stray on Aug. 5. He was returned after being in a home just over a month. Dynamo had begun to exhibit sensitivity to sounds like the radio and TV and was too much for the small living space. Considering his high energy level and dominant observable breed, Dynamo definitely needs daily workouts, space to run and a companion/family who can actively engage with him. Extremely personable, he has a wide range of expressions that will melt one's heart. Bouncy and sweet, once he thinks he has you wrapped around his paw, Dynamo doesn't hesitate to take advantage of your good nature. He can be overwhelming with his enthusiastic greetings and will fare best with an experienced owner. Dynamo is neutered, vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and treated with monthly flea, tick and heart worm preventive. His adoption fee is $125. Call the Clay County Humane Shelter in Brazil at 812-446-5126 to arrange to meet Dynamo.