As Canberrans continue to adapt to cat confinement laws which came into force last month, RSPCA ACT has released its top tips for keeping cats happy and healthy at home.
The ACT leads the way in cat safety, with all cats born after July 1, 2022 now required to be kept on their owners’ premises 24 hours a day. Cats born before this date may need to be confined to the property if they live in one of the capital’s 17 cat-lockdown suburbs; These can be found on the Municipal Services website.
Keeping cats confined not only reduces their impact on our native wildlife and environment, but also helps your cat live a longer, healthier life.
Here are some ways to make sure your cat is happy in their home:
1. Hide and seek
Cats like to hide, and they also like to seek and look. A raised tower or hammock that gets some sun will allow them to keep an eye on the neighborhood. Hideouts are an important part of any cat’s day as they provide peace and quiet to recharge and perfect places to ambush their target, you. Make sure you provide enough hiding places for your cat. The RSPCA says they can be as simple as a cardboard box, a clothes drawer or a cat bed.
2. All About Snacks
Who doesn’t love a choice of snacks? The RSPCA says an indoor cat’s life can be greatly improved with separate food areas spread throughout the house, as it allows them to explore while sniffing out sources. Puzzle feeders are a great way for cats to entertain themselves throughout the day.
3. Waterfall Hunt
Don’t stick to the water bowls you’re used to; invest in a pet water fountain instead. Cats love drinking running water and the RSPCA says fountains will provide your cat with fresh water and enrichment.
4. Cover the poo
Like us, cats like to feel comfortable and safe when they do their business. Not having a place to go can lead to nasty accidents in places your cat has been, such as laundry baskets, washing machines, or under the bed. The RSPCA says cats like to be able to dig comfortably, advising them at least 6cm of cat litter to dig into, while the tray should be at least 1.5 times your cat’s length. More than one litter box will help avoid any accidents.
5. Scratch, scratch, have fun
Cats love to have a good scratch. If you don’t provide them with a place to let off steam, you can say goodbye to carpeting and the sides of your couch. Scratching isn’t just something cats love to do, it’s a vital activity that helps spread their scent to make them feel at home and helps keep their claws healthy. The RSPCA recommends providing a variety of scratching posts for your cat in different areas of the home; blend surface textures to keep them engaged. Cat trees, especially larger ones, offer great scratching options, while many also have comfy beds, soft toys, and ropes or balls hanging from them, which encourage cats to stalk, hunt and pounce as they would in the wild.
If you think your cat lacks the feeling of the ground under her feet, should you take her for a walk in the street? Although cats can be walked in public, it is not for all cats. Before you go outside, make sure your cat is properly harness trained and be prepared to take him home if he starts to get stressed.
“The RSPCA ACT were pleased with the legislation allowing cats to be walked in public,” said Michelle Robertson, CEO of the RSPCA ACT. “While not all cats are happy to be walked on a leash, these laws provide owners with a welcome option for spending quality time outdoors with their harness-trained cat.”
If, like most Canberrans, you like RSPCA ACT and cupcakes, in August you can combine the two! Canberrans are encouraged to organize a baking day in their office, at school or with friends to help raise funds for an organization that aims to prevent cruelty to animals.
Find out how to organize your own cupcake day via rspcacupcakeday.com.au
Find out how to keep your cat happy indoors at safeandhappycats.com.au
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