How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Healthy & Entertained

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At Equipaws, a lot of our pack is comprised of pups (and a few bipeds), but we also have kitties in the family! As such, this blog is for our feline pals and their parents, who know that bringing a cat into their home is a significant commitment. We want  to help you provide a happy and healthy environment for your cat, not only for the cat’s sake, but for yours as well. A happy cat is a calm cat that will kick destructive habits to the curb; an indoor cat is a happy, safe cat! Read on for tips on keeping your indoor cat healthy and entertained.

Why Should I Keep My Cat Indoors?

Simply put, the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 2-3 years, whereas the average indoor cat can live 15-20 years! Some cat parents feel guilty about restricting their cat to the [truly] great indoors, but considering what’s out there in the not-so-great outdoors, cats have a much better life inside their cozy homes. Cars, other wildlife, diseases, traps meant for other critters, unsavory humans, poisonous chemicals, parasites – cats are at the mercy of all of these things when left to roam free on their own. Keeping your cat indoors offers them (and many birds and other small outdoor animals) a chance at a long and happy life.

How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Entertained

However, despite a cat’s independent nature and general disposition which is often read as “aloof,” cats need lots of interaction and stimulation to keep them fit, healthy, and happy.

  1. 1. Make sure your indoor kitty has a lot of toys. You don’t have to go the expensive route – cats love paper bags, boxes, twist ties, shoelaces, long strips of fabric (an old t-shirt you can cut, perhaps), a feather attached to a string, etc. Cats are great at making their own fun and can entertain themselves for hours with the most seemingly insipid house objects. Hide some of these around your house for your cat to find. They are not so different from us in that they appreciate the variety.
  2. Cats love climbing! Cat trees, kitty condos, cat gyms – whatever you want to call them, they are wonderful for cats, who have a penchant not only for climbing, but for elevated vantage points. Many of these also have a roped or otherwise rough material binding in the center that cats can claw at. Scratching feels great for cats, and it is part of their natural behavior. Scratchers (which are available in many varieties, not just as part of kitty condos) also help to curb destructive furniture scratching. (Please do not declaw your cat!)
  3. Let the sun shine in! Cats love windows. They like the warmth of the sun and they like to look at what’s going on in the outside world. Make sure your cat has access to a few window sills throughout the house. If you are leaving the windows open for some fresh air, make sure your screen is secure!
  4. Herbs. If you have a cat and have had an indoor plant at some point, you have probably figured out that the plants don’t last long in your cat’s wake. Many cats take to chewing on plants, and many household plants can be toxic for cats. If your cat has shown interest in destroying your plants, but you want some green around the house that is safe, many pet stores and hardware stores sell cat-friendly herbs (such as catnip, wheatgrass, and oat grass). It’s a surefire alternative to trying to place your favorite plants out of the cat’s reach (since we know what clever climbers they are).

We saved the best for last:

Playtime! Make sure to engage your cat often. They appreciate their toys, but like them moreso when you are on the other end of them. One thing everyone knows: cats love laser pointers. Even at a pet-owner’s laziest, they can still press a tiny button and move their wrist around. It keeps your cat mentally stimulated as well as physically active.

Your cat will surely be responsive to many kinds of toys – it is all a matter of learning what s/he likes best. When stimulated, your cat will run around and pounce. It’s important for your sedentary feline to get moving, as indoor cats don’t get nearly as much exercise as their outdoor counterparts. Fat cats may be cute, but obesity poses severe threats to all living things, such as heart disease, joint problems, and a shorter lifespan, among other complications.

We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about cat care, cat sitting, or cat exercise! Give us a call at 305-794-3733, or email us at info@equipawspetservices.com, today!

 

IMPORTANT: Pet Food Recall!

We shared this voluntary recall with our pet sitting and dog walking clients earlier last week when we first heard about it. There is yet another Salmonella contamination scare for dry cat and dog foods, this time from Pro-Pet LLC. These foods were distributed in Florida, so there may be a chance that you or one of your friends have come across them. Please read the FDA’s press release, and spread the word with your fellow pet lovers and owners.

We always stress the importance of great nutrition; that includes knowing where your dog and cat’s food comes from, and choosing as high a quality of nutrition as you can afford. As always, it’s so important to stay abreast of these recalls, be it on our Facebook page, our blog, or the FDA’s website.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 5, 2014 – Pro-Pet LLC, St. Marys, Ohio, has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited number of Dry Dog and Cat Foods for possible Salmonella contamination. A single field test indicated products manufactured during a two day period, on a single production line may have the potential for Salmonella contamination. Pro-Pet LLC is voluntarily recalling the potentially impacted products made during this timeframe. There have been no reports of illness related to this product to date.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Product Best By Lot Code UPC Number
40 lb Hubbard Life Happy Hound Dog Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 2A 1219033878
40 lb Hubbard Life Happy Hound Dog Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 1A 1219033878
18 lb Hubbard Life Cat Stars Cat Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 1A 1219033873
40 lb Hubbard Life Maintenance Dog Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 2A 1219033875
15 lb Joy Combo Cat Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 1A 7065407721
40 lb Joy Combo Cat Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 1A 7065407713
40 lb Joy Combo Cat Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 2A 7065407713
20 lb QC Plus Adult Dog Food 05 07 14 097 13 SM L2 2A 2351780103
40 lb QC Plus Adult Dog Food 05 07 14 097 13 SM L2 2A 2351780104
40 lb QC Plus Adult Dog Food 05 07 14 097 13 SM L2 1A 2351780104

 

These products were distributed through select retailers, distributors and on-line consumer purchases in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia

No other products/lot numbers are affected by this recall.

Customers should immediately discontinue use of any impacted product and contact Pro-Pet at 1-888-765-4190 for disposition.

For more information on the recall, customers can contact the customer service line for Pro-Pet at 1-888-765-4190. Customer service representatives will be available Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm CT.

 

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