Keep Cat Safe and Cozy

CatChannel behavior expert Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, explains why cats should stay indoors.

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Q: I recently adopted a 4-year-old cat named Oscar. He is very loving and enjoys cuddling. During the day while I am at work, I place him inside my garage. It’s fairly large, so he has plenty of space, but should I be concerned about his psychological state considering he is alone in a relatively dark place all day? The garage has one window, but it does not get direct sunlight. I leave the window open about an inch, so he can enjoy the fresh air, and I notice he likes to hang out near the window.

I want to make sure he is safe from the dogs outside, but I also don’t want him to become unhappy. Lately, I have been keeping him in the garage at night as well, rather than inside the house. I read somewhere that cats don’t like changes in their environment, so I decided to make the garage his permanent home.
 
Am I on the right track?  Should I take my chances and leave him outside during the day?
 
A: Oscar probably prefers to hang out in the house 24/7 instead of being relegated to the garage. Even when you’re not home, your house is nicer for Oscar. It’s warm, he has windows to look out, there are beds to sleep in, sofas to curl up on, toys to play with, and the house has your familiar smells -- the garage doesn’t.

Cats are wonderful home companions and do best when they are with their people in their homes. Oscar loves to be with you and loves to be cuddled, and he sounds like he would make a warm, cuddly bed companion. As long as you have plenty of uncovered, clean litterboxes, tall cat trees, food and water and places for Oscar to scratch in the house, he shouldn’t engage in any unappreciated behaviors when you’re away from home or at night.

You are right not to let Oscar outside. Indoor cats live longer and are healthier than cats that are allowed outside. An added bonus is that inside cats don’t get sick as often as cats that are allowed outside, resulting in lower veterinarian bills.

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Keep Cat Safe and Cozy

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Reader Comments

R    R, RI

3/14/2009 10:49:31 AM

I disagree. Cats did well outside before humans got paranoid and caged them inside. Let Oscar out.

Ann    Lancaster, OH

2/7/2008 6:09:18 PM

Oscar is lucky to have an owner concerned about him being in the dark. I think they need to see the outside activity as well as the sun.

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