Pet Info

Fun for Indoor Cats

Article brought to you by Dr Robert Holmes
Animal Behaviour Clinics
35 Sunnyside Avenue
CAMBERWELL  VIC  3124 Australia

More and more cat owners want to keep their cats inside some or all of the time to reduce predation of wildlife, offence to neighbours, and the risks of injury, disease and theft of their pets. To the surprise of many people, cats can adapt successfully to continuous confinement with daily environmental enrichment. This replaces the complexity, unpredictability and choices they would have encountered every day as wild-living animals.

Tips for Confinement

Untreated Sawdust as Litter

I have found untreated sawdust to be an excellent litter. Please note that treated sawdust contains arsenic and should not be used. At around $6.00 per potato bag it is cheap and it has a very pleasant smell. It soaks up urine well, sticks to the surface of the faeces and seems to contain the smell. A cover or high sides for the litter tray are definitely useful as some cats will empty the tray with vigorous pawing. It is biodegradable and can be put around non-edible plants to cut down weeds, water loss and snail attack. For supplies see Yellow Pages "Sawdust and/or Shaving Suppliers" (Sydney edition).

Cat Herbs & Grasses

Catnip, Catmint and Cat grass can be grown in pots inside the house for cats to visit, chew and eat. Catnip used to be thought of as an aphrodisiac for cats because of the oestrous-like behaviour shown by many after sniffing it. However it is a none specific central nervous system stimulant that may affect cats of any sex or sexual status. Some cats choose to chew these herbs rather than other more valuable plants.

Laser Pointer

For cats which chase small fast moving objects, a red laser spot of light can really get them going with its brightness, speed and erratic movement. Our Abyssinians have us in stitches chasing it around the house, up walls, along shelves, and waiting for it to come out from under the fridge.

Incidentally the pointer is also useful for lectures and demonstrations.