Indoor cat: feeding, care and preventive healthcare
House cat indoors is a more and more frequent inhabitant of our homes, I will try to explain how to care for him in this article.Domestic cat
Contemporary domestic cats over the last quarter of a century they have achieved an incredible promotion, becoming more and more often a typical companion animal, living in close contact with its guardian.
Of course, not all of them can enjoy this privilege, but a large proportion of felids now enjoy all the advantages of living in a fully controlled, relatively constant environment.
A large part of the wild or semi-wild cat population still has to try to get food on their own, hunting for small rodents or weaker, sick birds.
Besides, they are mainly kept in many rural environments where the cat is still treated as a predator and a natural way to control the pest population.
Owners of such cats claim that they provide their cats with the most natural living conditions, consistent with the behavior of this species, established over the centuries.
They also often criticize all those who, contrary to nature, lock cats in their houses or apartments, exposing them to stress related to a very limited living environment.
For obvious reasons, in an urban environment full of threats resulting from the functioning of a large population center indoor cats they are much safer and therefore live much longer.
However, can we generalize and unequivocally answer the question which is better for cats?
Is it to ensure their life in natural conditions, or maybe by enclosing them in four walls of better living conditions?
The answer does not seem obvious and each lifestyle will find many supporters and opponents.
So it is not about convincing some of the reasons of the other, but rather to answer the question of how to provide cats living in given conditions with the best possible environment, i.e. in general:
how to take care of them optimally in order to be able to enjoy their company as long as possible.
So I will not convince anyone which lifestyle is better:
a cat at home or in the yard?
I will focus on a group of cats living in our houses and apartments and not entering or leaving the backyard garden or balcony (of course, secured with a net).
I will also answer the question of what environmental, nutritional or veterinary conditions should be provided for them so that they are in their best condition. This is what this article is about, I encourage you to read the entire article.
- Domestic cat
- Natural behavior of cats
- How to feed a domestic cat?
- Cat in the house - what else does he need?
- Indoor cat indoors - health prophylaxis
- Domestic cat deworming
- Domestic cat vaccination
- Domestic cat external parasites
- Diversification of the living environment of the cat living in the apartment
- The size and quality of the cat's living space
- Hiding Behavior
- Claw care
- Play Behavior
- Disease domestic cat
- How many domestic cats live?
Domestic catDomestic cats
Human-cat relationships are much younger and shorter developing than similar relationships with dogs, but they have lasted for several thousand years.
The very process of domestication of these mammals is not fully known, but they probably all associate with ancient Egypt, where cats were even raised to the rank of a deity.
Ancestors domestic cats were wild cats Felis silvestris f. Libyca inhabiting the rural areas of North Africa, where they fed on caught rodents prowling in granaries.
For obvious reasons, such a coexistence was desirable because it brought benefits to man.
The cat was an ally of man and, hunting rodents, brought him tangible benefits.
With time, the man simply wanted to encourage the cat, began to feed him so that he would live in close proximity to people.
Other theories say that cats were treated as pets from the very beginning and they did not always have to reciprocate humans, bringing them material benefits, eliminating pests.
Many times, having it in his nature, man took care of sick, weak animals and looked after them at home, feeling sorry for the weaker and disadvantaged.
Cats very quickly took over practically the whole world, spreading everywhere where people traveled.
It was only the difficult times in the Middle Ages that made cats' lives very difficult.
At that time, as we remember well, these animals were accused of participating in witchcraft and even considered the incarnation of evil powers and thus exterminated by burning them repeatedly at the stake together with their guardians.
And again, cats had to earn their place in the vicinity of humans, in which rodent plagues, including migratory rats, proved to be extremely helpful.
Cats have returned to favor as a very effective tool to fight these pests.
Since then, they have more and more often been kept in close proximity to households where rodent populations controlled and no one fought with them anymore.
Today, on the other hand, they are among the most commonly kept pets, and in many countries they remain more popular than dogs.
This short story describing the shaping relationships between humans and cats clearly shows not only how much the approach to these mammals has changed, but also should make us realize how extremely important these issues are that every cat owner should know.
Because when keeping a cat at home, we cannot limit ourselves only to pouring food into a bowl for it, but also, and perhaps above all, we should know its environmental requirements, that is, generally speaking, know how to care for it, so that it can enjoy good health for as long as possible.
Natural behavior of catsCat behavior
Cats, even those living in strictly controlled domestic conditions, always have a dual role as hunters and prey, because on the one hand they are predators hunting rodents, but on the other hand they must be careful not to become food for animals larger than themselves.
This dual status influences the behavior of cats.
Hunting behavior is only partially innate, to some extent it is also learned, and therefore acquired during life.
Cats are very good hunters, although not all hunting has to be a complete success.
Not every attempt to catch a victim results in getting it, but only about 20-50% of them (one in 2-5 jumps is effective).
Nevertheless, half of the outgoing cats manage to return from hunting with their prey.
We must know that hunting is one of the most typical and natural behaviors of a cat, so do not be surprised when it brings a mouse or a bird home.
It is also completely natural to play with the hunted prey, toss it or let it go for a moment to have it in your claws again.
House cats, although their hunting possibilities are limited due to not going out, retain their instinctive behavior fully.
Dark places in our apartments, holes in pipes, nooks and crannies are places for cats to potentially hide victims.
Even indoor cats should be able to show their natural behavior and hence it is necessary to provide them with at least substitutes for hunting.
This can be achieved by hiding a little dry food in hard-to-reach places.
The cat gaining food in this way will feel as if it has hunted it.
Cat toys, which we pull, also serve this purpose and we play with our cat in this way, forcing it to move.
Cats communicate with each other, inter alia, by means of pheromones.
This chemical, specific way of communication is also used to mark one's territory.
Cats at home rubbing against objects, tables, chairs or furniture, they leave their cheek pheromones.
Frequent and excessive cleaning of rooms with the use of strong-smelling detergents strongly disrupts this marking and causes considerable stress in the immediate vicinity of the cat.
In the wild, cats live in organized groups in a strictly defined and controlled territory.
These are places where they get food and which they protect very strongly against access by other individuals.
The natural territories of males are several times larger than that of a female cat and are on average 0.30 ha - 170 ha for a female cat and 0.4-900 ha for a male.
Of course, this is what happens in nature.
In domestic conditions, only a few dozen or several hundred square meters enclosed by walls must suffice for a cat.
It is therefore about providing him with the best environmental conditions by diversifying the living environment and by making it interesting, which prevents him from feeling boredom.
How to feed a domestic cat?Domestic cat feeding
At the very beginning, we must say to ourselves that cats are obligatory carnivores.Domestic cat it tolerates any changes in the composition of the food it is much worse than the dog.
So we must as guardians domestic cats know not only their nutritional needs, but also their eating habits.
In nature, wild cats eat 10-20 small meals a day depending on what they hunt.
Not all hunting is successful.
However, this way of getting food is closely related to a considerable amount of exercise, because cats, while gaining food, are practically still active.
At home, it is the guardian who decides how much and what food his cat will eat.
Very often these are just 2-3 meals a day.
There are individuals who eat breakfast or dinner not immediately, but divide themselves into smaller portions, thus imitating the natural lifestyle.
However, many cats, especially when they live in a group and have to compete with each other for food, eat a meal immediately, fearing other cats, and thus run the risk of being overweight and obese.
Often, such cats also force an additional portion of food on their handler a few hours after eating, which is also contributed by the palatability of the finished cat food.
Eating too many meals and consuming too many calories does not go hand in hand with inborn hunting behavior, domestic cat after all, he does not have to hunt down his meal and everything is served on a plate.
Overeating and physical inactivity in domestic cats often results in obesity and related diseases, and severe metabolic disorders.
We should also remember that indoor cats are often neutered or neutered, which changes their metabolism, but at the same time increases the risk of abnormal body weight.
So what should we do at home?
First of all, let's try to encourage your cat to live in as similar to natural conditions as possible.
Obtaining food increases physical activity, reduces boredom, and thus contributes to the maintenance of a healthy body weight.
We must also not forget that such activities strengthen the cat's bond with the human and build proper relationships.
We can achieve this by:
- hiding small portions of dry food in various corners of the house, on shelves, cabinets, so that your cat can look for it, imitating the hunting itself a bit.
- through toys, in which we hide treats, we provide the cat with active acquisition of food,
- by throwing single balls of dry food, we make the cat run after them,
- by placing dry food in plastic containers with a cut-out hole, we provide the cat not only with great fun, but also from time to time that the food falls out, which means a reward,
- a device application programmed to administer food in small amounts every now and then.
Any domestic cat should have its own bowl for food and water so as not to compete with other cats for food (several domestic cats should not use the same bowl).
Cats often like to drink water in places other than where they eat, so it is a good idea to place several bowls of water in separate places in the apartment.
Fountains with running, running water are also a good idea.
Cat in the house - what else does he need?Cat litter box
Food intake is related to excretion, i.e. the issue of the cat's litter box.
The general rule should be the number of litter boxes adjusted to the number of cats, so that each has its own (or another rule - number of cats = number of litter boxes + 1).
Litter boxes should be kept away from the feeding sites.
A very important issue is also an appropriate diet adapted to age, physiological state and the level of activity.
Neutered or sterilized cats must receive food intended for their reduced metabolism in the amount strictly specified on the packaging.
In the case of feeding with veterinary food aimed at supporting the treatment of the underlying disease, we must also strictly follow the dietary recommendations and use a specific food in accordance with the table on the product.
Such prosaic but often forgotten issues really do have a colossal meaning.
This is, of course, in a nutshell feeding the domestic cat, Later in the article I will describe issues related to vaccination and deworming of a cat.
Indoor cat indoors - health prophylaxis
Domestic cat it is not a cat living in complete isolation, which is the most important thing at the very beginning
Many owners of cats living indoors think that if their pet does not go outside and does not come into direct contact with other animals, it is completely safe in terms of health and does not require any prophylaxis or periodic health checks.
Arguments convincing for such reasons is the fact of not being with other individuals of the same species and therefore the lack of contact with pathogens or parasites carried by them.
Such cats are very often not vaccinated and dewormed, because they have nowhere to get infected with diseases.
However, does this approach pose certain risks and is it completely right??
All those who say that a domestic cat is safer living in a tightly controlled environment with fewer potential dangers are right.
Such individuals live longer, for obvious reasons they are less prone to traffic accidents, injuries, wounds sustained as a result of cat fights, external or internal parasites, or even infectious diseases.
This is because of living in an environment where many threats simply do not exist, so the risk of contact with them is purely theoretical.
This in many cases lulls our vigilance and relieves us from the obligation to perform certain medical procedures, which I will try to describe below with detailed examples.
So let's get down to business.
Domestic cat deworming
Cats going out and hunting, unfortunately, are constantly exposed to the invasion of parasites, which is very common, although not always fully symptomatic.
Deworming of such animals seems to everyone seems advisable and necessary, and in many cases it is performed regularly.
What about indoor cats?
After all, they do not hunt and eat caught rodents or birds?
In fact, the fact of living in the house should not exempt the cat owner from the obligation to regularly deworm his pet.Domestic cats they are less prone to parasitic infestation, but are not completely safe.
They often go out to the balcony or simply hunt for flies and other flying insects present in the apartment, and these, after all, sit on animal excrement, prowl in garbage cans or on garbage and are themselves intermediate hosts of many parasites.
We can also bring parasite eggs on our own shoes, although we do not see it.
So it would be a good practice to perform parasitological tests of feces and on their basis possibly deworming the cat, which in fact is a treatment.
Of course, you do not have to force your cat to force a tablet every 3 months, just because it is recommended by the manufacturer of the popular deworming remedy.
We give it only when there is a justification for it, which is confirmed by the result of the stool test.
Of course, we always assume that we are giving the cat ready-made food free from contamination with parasite eggs.
Some caregivers perform a routine stool examination once in a while and then calmly make a decision about the possible administration of parasiticidal agents.
Such an approach certainly deserves praise and recognition.
But let's not go from one extreme to the other, and let's not forget about deworming in general.
We deworm the cat whenever it is needed.
Domestic cat vaccinationVaccinating the cat
We vaccinate a cat for infectious diseases to protect the cat from these dangerous, potentially fatal diseases.
However, we must ask ourselves if any domestic cat is equally exposed to the same diseases?
It is clear that those outgoing are more likely to contract an infectious disease than domestic cats.
So should every cat get vaccinated every year just because it is potentially susceptible to the disease?
The answer seems obvious.
Obviously, there is no such need, and even due to possible post-vaccination reactions, possible post-injection sarcoma or shock reactions, it is not recommended and not recommended.
As in any field, you need to use common sense and, above all, consider whether a given disease is a threat Your house cat.
Rabies is a good example.
In outgoing cats, although not legally required, it is certainly the recommended vaccination.
After all, you never know who your pet bites with.
The situation is different for u indoor domestic cats.
If these animals live in strictly controlled household conditions, there is practically no chance of getting infected with rabies virus and such vaccination seems unnecessary and even harmful.
However, it is worth vaccinating a cat that does not recover from basic infectious diseases, even once every 3 years, such as:
It may also suddenly turn out that, for example, due to going abroad, you will have to give your cat to someone else's care or leave it for a while in a hotel for animals and then vaccinations are really required.
Domestic cat external parasitesCan a domestic cat not walking out have parasites?
Indoor cat indoors and living only in an apartment or house, we do not have to regularly push away or treat with a preparation against ticks.
The condition, however, is that at the time of introducing into the house, there are no parasites and no contact with other animals, especially those leaving and flea-bred.
If cats live indoors, but still go out to the garden or on the terrace, it is worth changing your approach to external parasites a bit.
Unfortunately, such animals are at risk of invasion and it is worth protecting them.
It may happen that they bring fleas from another cat who previously stayed in the same place from a walk or while lounging in the garden.
Ticks, on the other hand, can attack our cat in the backyard garden, so we must regularly protect such animals against these parasites.
Typically domestic cats however, they do not threaten the non-departing ones.
We should always, in any case, approach the issue of prevention in a common sense and ask ourselves the following question:
are any procedures necessary for my cat??
If, however, we are not sure, we should always ask the attending physician.
Diversification of the living environment of the cat living in the apartmentDiversify the living environment of the domestic cat
Cats living in the house very often they feel boredom and the resulting frustration because the home environment is relatively poor.
Because what are they supposed to do during the whole time when they are left alone, when the guardian goes to work or shopping?
Hence, an extremely important element of caring for indoor cat is to diversify his living environment.
In short, it is about creating such living conditions in which he will be able to freely present, manifest his own typical patterns of behavior and exclude abnormal behavior.
We should provide the cat with the possibility of positive contacts with the environment through stimulation of the senses or the opportunity to play, and we should ensure that the cat is able to cope with the challenges that arise.
We should also strive to create a strong relationship between the cat and the human.
All these elements contribute to the so-called ensuring the cat's welfare, i.e. the most natural, good conditions in which your cat will spend these several years of his life.
The size and quality of the cat's living spaceThe size of the cat's living space
Even in a huge apartment or house, the size of a cat's living space is definitely smaller compared to outdoor cats.
We will not provide ideal conditions for cats who do not go out like this, so let's try to make them as close to the ideal as possible.
Best when domestic cat has access to at least two rooms.
Cats, as partially arboreal animals, must have access not only to the floor, but also to higher surfaces (eg. shelves, furniture, window sills).
Their presence, the possibility of lounging there must be safe for themselves and for all equipment located there.
Cats lying higher feel safe and can observe a changing environment and everything in motion from above.
Higher places are often used by cats for resting and sleeping.
Hiding BehaviorHiding Behavior
Cat hiding is a natural survival behavior.
In nature, cats have, as I have already mentioned, the dual status of being predators and prey at the same time.
This behavior is often displayed by cats when they want to avoid contact with another animal by simply fearing it.
Thus, they do not expose themselves to potential combat injuries.Everyone then domestic cat it should have such places in its surroundings.
It can be a higher shelf, a slot behind a piece of furniture or an open wardrobe.
Claw careClaw care
This is perhaps the most onerous aspect - cat in the house and destruction.
Scratching objects not only marks your territory, but also helps to stretch muscles and tear claws.
Worse when domestic cat he chooses furniture, armchairs or sofas as his favorite scratching spot and destroys them at the same time.What to do to prevent the cat from scratching the furniture?
To make the cat's life easier, we should put in the apartment cat tree, to meet these important needs, and possibly other scratched places to be secured with a special material.
Play BehaviorPlaying with the cat
Caring for a domestic cat it is not only providing him with food, a safe place to sleep and taking care of himself, but also providing him with attractions in his living environment through the right dose of fun.
The handler should, if possible, play with the cat regularly, which provides him with stimulation and exercise.
Possession cat at home it also carries with it obligations.
Cats like moving objects resembling natural victims, such as artificial mice hanging on a string.
Setting them in motion creates a substitute for hunting and allows you to fully demonstrate your cat's hunting abilities.
Some of them cats can play alone with various cat toys (eg. ping-pong balls, artificial feathers).
Domestic cats they quickly get used to a given toy, so it is worth changing it from time to time.
Stimulating the cat's senses and the right amount of stimuli
Cats are animals with highly developed sense organs that must be constantly stimulated and stimulated.
This can be achieved in many ways.
It's a good idea to provide domestic cat the possibility of looking at the outside world by observing everything that is happening outside the window.It's worth it too secure the balcony with a net which will enable the cat to stay in this place safely.
Some individuals like to bite cat grass hence it seems a good idea to seed it in a pot.
Favorite selected places where cats mark their territory with buccal pheromones we shouldn't wash with strong detergents too often, which disturbs communication between cats.
Liquids with a lemon scent seem to be particularly unfavorable here.
Taking care of all possible needs of an indoor cat is intended to ensure its welfare, i.e. to create conditions in which your cat will feel well and live without stress.
It is, moreover, our duty to the pets that we care for.
Disease domestic catDisease domestic cat
We must make it clear to ourselves that domestic cats, although they do not go out or have only short walks to the garden, they are exposed to certain diseases and therefore require periodic and constant veterinary care.
For we cannot wrongly assume that if they do not come out, they are completely safe and will stay healthy until the end of their days.
The life of a cat at home creates incredible opportunities for the guardian to take special care of his pet.
Such a lifestyle is associated with a close and careful observation of the behavior and habits of the cat.
The guardian can see if his pet is feeling well, whether he is eating, drinking and taking care of himself, and how he behaves.
Any deviations from the norm are noticed faster and thus provide the possibility of immediate medical assistance, which is undoubtedly a great advantage.
Of course, the condition is to be concerned about the cat's health and not to underestimate the symptoms and changes in its behavior in the hope that it will pass itself.So that your domestic cat outside remained in good health for as long as possible, it is necessary to check him regularly.
The frequency of early control visits in young, healthy animals is not high.
With a healthy young cat, we do not have to come to the clinic every month - it is enough to visit once a year and always in case of illness.
On this matter, we should listen to the attending physician who, when examining the cat, will best answer the question of when to show it to him control visit.
It is good practice to test senior cats at least once every six months and each time, depending on the symptoms and the doctor's assessment, blood tests and other necessary procedures.
Some people perform screening tests to assess the general condition of the animal.
Most often these are blood counts, blood chemistry and urine tests, and indicators assessing the condition of the cat's thyroid gland.
Domestic cats are exposed to many diseases and not getting out does not reduce that risk.
They are exposed to:
- feline urological syndrome (idiopathic cystitis),
- odontoclastic resorption of the dentition,
- overactive thyroid gland,
Sitting at home and not moving much, they suffer from obesity and overweight much more often, and all related diseases, therefore:
- joint diseases,
- skin diseases,
- kidney failure.
It is also worth mentioning the genetic diseases to which some breeds of domestic cats are predisposed.
They also experience boredom and frustration more often, showing behavioral problems, such as aggression in a cat, which at home is sometimes very burdensome for owners.
They can be poisoned by eating unsecured substances, medicines left at home by the caregiver, or by an accident falling off the furniture.
The home environment protects against certain viral diseases, road accidents, injuries by other animals (if domestic cat he lives alone in an apartment), bad weather and thus usually guarantees a longer life.
How many domestic cats live?How much does a domestic cat live?
Indoor cats, that we care about more, statistically live longer.
The life expectancy of a domestic cat depends on many factors (about which you can read in the article "How much domestic cat lives ") and on breed of domestic cat.
Nevertheless, with age, they develop geriatric diseases that will not occur in wild cats due to the shorter life span.
So we can see that we also need to take care of indoor cats, observe their behavior and react to any changes as quickly as possible, which is a manifestation of our care and commitment and is our duty to the animal we own.
SummaryCat in the house
Summarizing the subject of caring for domestic cat it is worth realizing that these animals require our attention and quick reaction whenever we notice any deviation from the norm in their behavior so far.
Like any living organism, they can get sick even when they live in strictly controlled home conditions.
All issues related to the prevention and regular examination of such animals are extremely important.
An enormous advantage is living in close contact with the guardian, who sees much more while observing the cat and thus significantly increases the chances of possible recovery.
Following a few simple rules outlined in this article can significantly increase your chances of a longer and better life under the same roof with your cat.
It will not provide a complete guarantee of maintaining health and the absence of any diseases, because it cannot be done, but it will guarantee good care for the cat, which.
And this is what we owe to our cats as guardians, whether they come out or live with us at home.
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