16 September 2022

No longer free to roam, how do you keep your cat happy at home?

| Aiden Rothnie
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The ACT’s cat containment laws have been extended to affect all newborn cats. Photo: Leticia Avelar.

With the cat containment laws extended throughout Canberra, felines across the capital will have to adjust to new living arrangements.

The extension of the cat containment laws means that any newborn cat in the ACT must be kept inside at all times to protect our fauna.

Thankfully this change doesn’t mean that your feline friend needs to miss out on any fun times or adventures.

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RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson said that keeping cats inside has its own benefits and challenges.

“Keeping cats safely contained reduces the risk of them getting sick, being injured or struck by vehicles, minimises the potential of them harming or killing wildlife and gives them a better chance to enjoy a longer, healthier life,” she said.

“Indoor cats need exercise and sources of enrichment to prevent obesity, boredom and the potential development of unwanted behaviours. Other than company and oodles of love, the main resources your cat needs to keep them happy and healthy are choice and variety of resting and hiding places, food, water, toileting areas and places to scratch.”

Cat in hammock

Make sure you give your cat lots of different places to hide or lay down. Photo: Leticia Avelar.

Michelle says cats love to hide, so setting up a couple of hiding places around your house is something your fluffy friend will enjoy.

Hiding places can be as simple as a cardboard box, a big fluffy cat bed or igloo or one of your drawers of clothing. Cat trees are also an excellent resting place for your cat, and they serve multiple purposes.

The RSPCA recommends that you have multiple different spots for your cat, including bright and sunny windows, dark corners, wardrobes and under the bed.

Cats are also very fond of spying on the neighbourhood from an elevated spot, so something a bit higher up could never go amiss.

Cat in a tunnel

Food and toys are always a good way to entertain your feline friend. Photo: Leticia Avelar.

Like most of us, cats love their food, and you can make your cat’s contained life more interesting and enjoyable by giving them separate food areas to explore their home and sniff out their food sources.

The RSPCA recommends using something like a puzzle feeder or food ball to play with their food to entertain themselves during the day.

Another recommendation is getting a water fountain designed for pets. Cats love water drinking from running water sources so a water fountain will be popular and your cat will now have fresh running water and something fun and new for them.

Make sure you give your cat a lot of options for places to play and things to do. Photo: Leticia Avelar.

Michelle says it’ll make life indoors much easier if your cat has the space and resources to be comfortable.

“The key is to offer more than one choice for each resource so that your cat can decide for him or herself. If you have several cats, you’ll need to provide more resources in more locations as cats don’t always like to share,” she says.

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This extends to the bathroom. The RSPCA recommends a litter tray 1.5 times the length of your cat, and giving your cat multiple litter trays in different areas can help too.

Bad experiences with their litter can make your cat feel stressed and anxious. You don’t want your cat to avoid using their litter tray and end up leaving surprises around the house.

Cat using a scratch pole

Cats need to scratch, so get them something to use before it’s your couch. Photo: Leticia Avelar.

As we all know (and have sometimes found out the hard way), cats love and need to scratch. Not only does it help spread their scent, which makes them feel at home, but it also helps keep their claws healthy.

It is recommended that you provide various scratching posts around your house with different textured surfaces to keep them happy and reduce the chances of your carpets and furniture suffering.

Cat trees are fantastic furniture pieces for cats; they provide lots of different elements that cats love, including elevated resting places and scratching areas.

Most large cat trees have fluffy toys, ropes and balls hanging off them, encouraging cats to engage in their natural stalking, chasing and pouncing behaviour.

If you’re after some more tips or recommendations, the RSPCA has plenty more for keeping your furry friend happy.

Original Article published by Aiden Rothnie on Riotact.

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