What Cats Want: SPACE AND STIMULATION

Most cats have free access to our homes and gardens and further afield if they want, so the provision of space is not really a problem. However, it can become a consideration when cats are kept indoors permanently. They need space to exercise and to be able to get away from other cats, people or other pets if they want to. The stimulation may be an issue here too. Cats have a sophisticated sensory and motor nervous system – the means by which they see, feel, hear, taste and smell the world and the way in which they use these senses in a highly sophisticated manner to hunt and to communicate to reproduce and stay safe. It would be strange if they could just switch off all of this and live without much stimulation without some degree of frustration. Owners with indoor cats often apply the approach ‘what you don’t know you won’t miss’. However, the situation may not be quite as simple as this. Perhaps if you have never tasted chocolate, you would be spared those urges to eat a giant bar of Fruit and Nut. However, a top predator may have instincts which drive it and which it needs to enact even though it has never been outside to hunt. Owners of indoor cats must be aware of this – every cat is different and must be monitored to ascertain its particular needs in this area. Some of these may be overcome by providing an area of fenced-in garden where the cats can enjoy the smells, sounds and sights of outdoors in safety.
Cats also need space to escape and this can be provided vertically rather than horizontally. Cats that share a home, whether they can go out or not, may need to be able to get away from each other if they do not get on exceptionally well. Provision of high places can be quite a simple way to ensure a less confident cat feels secure, and may avoid problems such as spraying.

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