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Norwich Bulletin - 7/4/2004

Cats Indoors – And Why

Millions of people acknowledge that cats are fascinating animal companions. Our feline friends are loving, playful, independent, fun to be with and not slobbery! A cat fills your heart with contentment as it curls up to your ear and purrs the night away.

Most people don't realize how loyal a pet a cat really is. While a dog does things because their master commands them to, a cat does them for its own reasons. So when your cat comes to you when you call, you can be assured it wants to be with you and that is why it responded.

One of the best things about owning a cat is that they naturally use their litter box. By the time a kitten is four weeks old, it is usually litter trained and therefore, there is no reason to make your cat go outside to eliminate. Outside alone, is a very dangerous world for your kitty. Chances are fairly high that your cat will evenutally be killed by a car, eaten by a wild animal, killed by a dog, poisoned by a neighbor, or even stolen.

There are also chances your cat could pick up a disease such as rabies, FIV or Feline Leukemia, which are all fatal and a danger to other cats, animals and, of course, rabies can affect humans! Then there are the lesser evils such as fleas, ear mites, fungus and parasites. Not a very pretty picture, is it?

Now I do understand the feeling that people have that cats have that wild instinct to be free outside. That might be true to an extent, but one or two cats in a household can have plenty of stimulation to not feel the need to go outside. Quality cat furniture, toys, a fish tank, a beautiful bay window - all of these things provide hours of entertainment for your feline which compensates for the inability to roam freely outside.

There are also clever cat enclosures that allow your cat to enjoy the feel of grass and dirt upon its paws without any of the risks involved. We have a very large portion of our yard specially fenced in with a cat enclosure so our cats do get the excitement of being out of doors in safety, and we have friends that have much smaller enclosures that their two or three cats are perfectly content with.

We have other friends who have trained their cat to walk on a leash and get exercise and stimulation with daily walks! So there are all sorts of ways to safely give your cat that outside experience.

By keeping your cat at home you are doing your part in pet safety and good care. And of course, you need to provide a healthy environment for your indoor pet as well by making sure the litter box is clean, that there is always fresh water and food available.

Cats should be spayed and neutered to insure good health as well as not adding to the pet overpopulation of the world. I always feel that my cats should live in the same type of environment that I enjoy living in, and that means, clean and pleasant surroundings.

"Cat people" tend to have a special bond with each other. Unless you love and understand cats, you cannot appreciate the unique relationship humans and felines have with each other.

I was extremely ill a few months ago and actually in bed for over a week - my cats, including cats who are not usually overly affectionate, took turns keeping watch over me. There was always a purr next to me and it helped make a miserable situation much easier to handle.

So protect and care for your kitties - treat them with respect and you will be rewarded with a charming companion for many, many years!

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