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Throughout history, cats have always lived outdoors. It is only recently, within the last 50-60 years, that indoor cats have become the norm. This became possible with the introduction of kitty litter, cat food and the prevalence of sterilization. While the new housing arrangement has strengthened the bond people have with their cats, life within four walls is not always ideal for them. In fact, many cats live within very un-cat-fur-able surroundings devoid of fresh air, sunshine, grass and entertainment. However, with a little effort and creativity, it is possible to enrich cats’ lives easily and affordably. The focus of this lecture is to present ways to bring the outdoors inside to create more suitable environments for our captive furry feline friends. Strategies for creating the “purr”fect environment will be discussed and include how to grow grass for cats, the proper way to feed them, providing suitable areas to scratch, play and exercise, as well as opportunities to experience fresh air and sunshine safely. The goal of the lecture is to recognize that living exclusively indoors is restrictive, unnatural and many times undesirable from a cat’s point of view, but that we can do many things to make the surroundings more comfortable and enriching with simple solutions that make their lives better. Learning Objectives: Recognize the changing lifestyle of cats within the past 50 years from living life outdoors to often being housed exclusively indoors, and the impact it has had on their lives and ours. Discuss the effects of this relatively new lifestyle on our furry friends as it relates to their overall health and well-being. Medical conditions like obesity, inflammatory diseases and depression may be linked to living in environments lacking suitable enrichment, and more attention is needed to prevent these ailments from occurring. Identify common problems that exist in feline households that lack suitable outlets for cats to exhibit normal behavior. Focus on basic and necessary elements that are essential for all cats housed within four walls to ensure that their mental and physical needs are met. Discover ways to bring the outdoors inside to create more natural and stimulating habitats that contribute to improving the quality of life of indoor-only cats.
Speaker(s):Dr. Lynn Bahr