How to Convince Your Parents to get a Cat: Simple, Include a Catio| Blog 2 |

If your parents have wondered what pet is easier to handle, cat or dog, I believe cats win. However, like all animals it’s important to understand the obstacles of cat ownership before making the full swing. One thing to expect from cats is cat spraying. However, don’t be lured away from convincing your parent to get a cat. Let me explain how catios can help…

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By Lance Harding

Inappropriate Cat Urination

Internal Cat Care states “in the neutered population it is estimated that 10% of males and 5% of females engage in urine spraying.”  While this issue isn’t prominent in domesticated cats, it’s important to showcase how a catio can help this problem if you come across it.

Cat spraying can be caused by a number of things, but let’s assume you are planning to convince your parents to get one cat and not multiple. The common factors that are known for cat spraying are listed below. Let’s depict each scenario stated in Internal Cat Cares’ article, Spraying, and discuss how a catio can improve these situations.

  • Invasion of your home by a strange cat (coming in through an open window or a cat flap)
  • Decorating or extending your home (disrupting your cat’s territory)
  • New additions to the family (new baby, lodger, dog)
  • Owner absence or change of work schedule
  • Excessive or intrusive contact from humans

Invasion of your home by a strange cat

If your parents want a cat but want to give them access to the outdoors without a safe enclosure, your cat is prone to a higher risk of spraying indoors. The likelihood of another cat invading a home increases. If this were to happen, your cat will indulge in their territorial instincts by marking their territory into prevent another strange cat to enter again. However, it has been said that these territorial markings don’t keep other strange cats from coming back. “Socially, cats who greet often handle things like two neighbors in an argument—although one might back down if he thinks he might get injured—neither individual will ever perceive himself as having lower status than the other” says ASPCA.  So if your parents want to let your cat outdoors, but don’t provide them with a safe cat enclosure that blocks other cats from entering the house, then cat spraying can continue.

Decorating or extending your home

As most parents like to do with their house, it’s remodeling. Whether it’s redoing a bedroom or painting kitchen walls, decorating can be long, loud, and sudden for a cat’s environment. These changes, while they improve our lifestyle as humans, may alter a cat’s personality which can result in inappropriate cat urination. How Can You Reduce Your Cats Stress At Home, by Dr. Nancy Kay, suggests a physical environment can stress a cat out. In fact, ASPCA backs this proposition in their article, Urine Marking in Cats, “when things change, cats can become stressed. Urine marking behavior can be triggered by… building a room, remodeling the kitchen…”  While a cat is a great companion, they shouldn’t alter your parents long waited building plans. Proper cat ownership is about a stress-free bond between cat and owner. With a stress-free environment, your parents can remodel their house without worrying about the risks of cat urination. So, if remodeling a home encourages inappropriate cat behaviors, what do you do to convince your parents a cat is still a great option for a pet?  They shouldn’t put a cat outside, as it would increase the chance of cat urination. This is why a catio would fix this scenario.

Cats need their space. Equally, cats need their “place.” If unexpected changes are being done to their territory, they will search for a secluded spot that they are familiar with. Yes, you might keep a cat inside during this process, but by having them confined to the indoors, they are likely to mismanage their stress levels, resulting in improper cat urination. By giving a cat their “place,” an outdoor cat enclosure, cats have the correct space to feel safe, especially if indoor stress is long lasting. Catios give cats a way to escape to the outdoors in a safe manner, which is where they naturally want to go when stress is present.

New additions to the family, a dog

While there are multiple additions a family can include in a household, let’s talk about the most important-a dog. I’m sure you have seen a reoccurring theme when it comes to me talking about outdoor cats, but another reason why it’s important to keep a cat indoors, with the exception of a catio, is because an outdoor cat is known to be seen as a threat for dogs. This puts a cat in danger. Living with Both Cats and Dogs by Jacque Schultz says “outdoors is another matter completely. Many otherwise cat-friendly dogs view outdoor cats as prey to be chased down and dispatched – a strong case for keeping cats indoors and dogs on a leash!”  This alone can cause a cat to spray in inappropriate spots around the house. Their intention is to mark their territory which states a warning sign for a dog to stay back!

This can be fixed by keeping the cat indoors. But what happens when a dog and cat are confined together in an indoor space? This form of living can also result in cat urination. “Your cat may sense that it’s too dangerous to access the litter box if the other animal is out and about,” says Jenna Stregowski, RVT in her article, How to Stop Your Cat From Peeing Outside the Litter Box.

However, an outdoor cat enclosure balances both worlds. If a dog and cat are living together and both reside indoors, it’s important to give them proper space. If a catio is a part of a cat’s life while living among a dog, it’s seen as a secure place a dog can’t access. I believe this is crucial because if a cat can’t feel the need to properly separate themselves from a dog, they will become territorial and stressed, leaving unwanted cat spraying around the house. For example, cats love to spend time under beds, but it’s not hard for a dog to access this area if they wish to pest a cat. Therefore, a catio is not only secluded but it’s also outdoors. It’s properly adjusted to sustain a cat’s interest when times are needed. As a result, by including a catio, a dog and cat can live a well-balanced life together, and in turn will reduce a cat’s stress, eliminating their need of improper urination.

Owner Absence

Let’s face it, unless your parents are retired, most parents have a work schedule. Some may be busier than others, and that’s okay! However, leaving a cat at home for long hours should be done properly, and this is with the use of a catio. If not, owner absence can drive a cat to misbehave and result in inappropriate cat urination.  Is Your Cat Lonely? Here’s How to Tell! by Julia Williams states, “Felines in a “one cat household” may sleep more than those in multi-cat homes. They also tend to misbehave more often, simply because they need to do something to pass the time.” Cats get bored too, and we all know what it’s been like to be locked up in a house for days on end due to the recent corona virus outbreak. Therefore, it’s important to provide a cat with the solution of the outdoors, but through a catio. The outdoors provides a perfect amount of stimulation to keep them busy for hours on end! Giving a cat a closed off glass window inside a house isn’t that exciting, and a lot of the times cats will look around the house to search for other entertaining options. If these options aren’t met, they have no problem expressing it through cat spray across the furniture.

Excessive or intrusive contact from humans

Finding the perfect balance to satisfy a cat sounds hard if you or your parents are doing all the work to keep them happy. Actually, there might be times when the opposite of “owner absence” happens and you or your parents find themselves too involved in a cat’s life. This too has its downsides since cats are solitary animals and prefer to make the decisions when it comes to affection. If you forget this and they don’t have a place to be themselves, then your cat can experience frustration and result in cat spraying. Tree House Humane Society states “just like humans, kitties can need some time away to recharge. It’s important to provide hiding spots and vertical height so your kitty can choose to take a break when they need to.” Therefore, give them what they need, their own place for their own space. A catio is a perfect remedy to separate intrusive contact from humans if that’s what the cat wants. Therefore, cat urination from excessive human contact will be reduced when they have their own place to be alone. A catio opens up more freedom so they can decide how and when to interact with their surroundings. A catio is like a home for their emotions, it gives them the breathing room to be themselves! 

Conclusion

Cat urination, though uncommon in neutered domestic cats, can be resolved by using the catio system. At Cat Topia we have a wide range of catios. From large outdoor cat enclosures, to window catios that can be shipped nation wide. Next blog post I will introduce cat scratching and how catios improve this habit.   

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