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Create an Environment Your Cat Will Love

The Right Environment for Indoor Cats

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Like most cats, it can be instinctual to roam, climb, and hunt. But, what if you live in a highly urban area or your property is so large, your cat could be outside for days? Whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat, your feline's physical and mental health directly relates to their environment. Talk to your veterinarian about providing the right environment for your cat. Your veterinarian can also evaluate, based on environment, whether your feline will need certain vaccinations or medications. 

The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery confirms that feline emotional wellbeing, behavior and physical health are a result of how comfortable they are in their environment. Understanding how our cats interact with their environment can help us create a space for owners and cats to mutually thrive together. Not only does your feline's wellness rely on her environmental conditions, but also on social interaction between humans.

Indoor Vs. Outdoor

Should you keep your cat strictly indoors or allow it to go outside? Several national associations of veterinarians advocate that domestic cats be kept inside for their health, safety, and the safety of surrounding native wildlife. Pet cats that are allowed to roam freely outdoors are subject to many dangers including, but not limited to:

•    Cars
•    Motorcycles
•    Bicycles
•    Attacks from other animals
•    Possible human cruelty
•    Poisons, traps
•    Feline-specific diseases
•    Zoonotic diseases

Often cat owners that allow their cats to roam outdoors are surprised to find that their cat is continually crossing major streets and roaming far beyond their immediate neighborhood. Lastly, allowing cats to roam outdoors affects the surrounding native wildlife populations. While owned cats do not hunt animals for survival, they will kill and maim animals based on instinct. This predation can have a significant impact on rodent and bird species.

Creating an Enriched Indoor Environment

Without an investment in enriching the indoor environment, indoor cats can suffer boredom from predictability, stress, and obesity from inactivity. This is especially true if your cat was once an outdoor cat and you've transitioned him to an indoor-only pet. The best solution to prevent any of these issues is to give indoor cats what they need to thrive:

•    Keep a litter tray in a private area. Be sure to clean regularly, removing eliminations daily,  so cats will not be reluctant to use the box. Indoor cats will improperly eliminate or hold a bowel movement for days if they feel uncomfortable in their space. Avoid a potential health issue by keeping it clean.
•    While an indoor environment may be perceived as safer, be sure to carefully place potentially toxic house plants and lock cabinets with cleaning supplies. We know how curious cats can be- they'll try to get inside anything left slightly ajar.
•    Provide a scratching post or climbing wall, balls, feathers, or other play toys. Some cats like catnip, and this can be placed inside toys. Cats love to be up high, some people build walkways, close to the ceiling, around a room.  Keep your feline busy, and you'll be their main companion.
•    Be sure to check crawl spaces, attics, washer and dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators before and after use.
•    Consider getting them a companion. At first, felines may be reluctant to welcome another cat, but over time most thrive due to the interaction.

For those cats who refuse to be a strictly indoor cat, there are things you can do to help protect them when outside. If you have a solid backyard fence, you can build an overhang at the top of the fence with piping and netting.  The overhang should be about two feet long, and project inward at about a 45 degree angle, so the cat can not jump over the fence, and it also makes it harder for another cat to jump into your yard. If you do not have a solid back yard fence, you can build an enclosed patio space so the cats have access from the house. 

Sources:

Ellis, SL; Rodan, I; Carney, HC; Rochiltz, I; Shearburn, LD; Sundahl, E; and Westropp, JL. “AAFP and ISFM Feline Environmental Needs Guidelines.” Journal of Feline Medical Surgery, March 2013.

American Humane Association, “Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats.”  

American Association of Feline Practitioners. “Confinement of Owned Indoor Cats Position Statement.” 2007.

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Clinic Hours

Day
Monday8:00am5:30pm
Tuesday8:00am5:30pm
Wednesday8:00am5:30pm
Thursday8:00am5:30pm
Friday8:00am5:30pm
Saturday8:00am12:00pm
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Day
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After Hours Emergency & Urgent Care

Northside Animal Clinic is an affiliate of the Jackson Pet Emergency Clinic.

JPEC is located at 2815 N. Highland Ave., Ste E. We have a veterinarian and personnel on duty 7 days a week who are trained and equipped to handle any urgent care your pet has. Usually an emergency team consists of at least one veterinarian and several technicians working together to save a pet's life.

Emergencies can be things such as snail bait poisoning, hit by car, and chocolate ingestion. If you ever feel that your pet needs emergency treatment do not hesitate to call or come in immediately. If possible it is best to call before coming in so that a team member can advise you on your particular emergency. JPEC is open all holidays, weekends, and after regular business hours. The phone number is: 731-660-4343.

Testimonial

Dr. Kenneth Edwards and his Team at Northside Animal Clinic have been our veterinary care group for at least 12 years. The longevity of the relationship is due solely to the extraordinarily capable and conscientious care our pets have received.

Mona and Ivy Scarborough
Jackson, TN