If you're a pet parent to a feline that loves exploring the great outdoors, you've probably had a few sleepless nights worrying about whether Felix will come home.
While most cats will only wander a few hundred feet from their home, there have been reports of cats traveling several miles into unfamiliar territory. If you're worried about your tiny tiger getting lost in the wild, here are a few tips for keeping them close to home.
One of the best ways to keep your kitty close to home is to provide loads of indoor stimulation. Giving your cat a few quiet spaces where they can escape and providing a large cat tree will help keep your cat happy at home.
You should also try to play with your cat several times a day. Your little lion may be going outside to indulge their hunting instinct. Cats are crepuscular, meaning they instinctually hunt around dusk and dawn, so try to play with Smudge during the evening and morning. At the very least, plenty of playtime should stop your cat from bringing you as many unwanted "presents."
You can "litter-ally" encourage your cat to stay home in a couple of different ways. You can train some cats to come when called; however, this will take lots of patience.
If you're unable to train your cat to come when called, you can try stepping outside and loudly shaking Molly's favorite treats. The chances are, if your cat is in the area and fancies a snack, they'll come running.
We've all read stories about cats tricking an entire neighborhood into feeding them several times a day. Cats are opportunistic eaters, something which is instinctual. If you have an outdoor cat that disappears for days at a time, there's a chance they're chilling with your neighbor.
To avoid arguing with your neighbors over who actually owns your cat, ensure Oliver has enough food and water. Some pet parents only feed their cats twice a day, which may not be enough for a little lion with a big appetite.
If you're worried your cat is begging for food, try feeding them slightly more and increase the frequency of meals. You should also make sure food and water are accessible at all times.
You might find your cat spends very little time exploring your yard, in which case you might want to make it more enticing. Your cat will be less likely to leave if there's a lot to do close to home.
Place a few toys in your garden, and even consider planting a tree for your cat to climb. A cat condo for the outdoors is also a good idea, as it gives your cat somewhere to relax, shed their claws, and escape the sunshine.
Building a cat enclosure means your cat can roam outside without leaving your garden. Cat enclosures are usually made of mesh frames, so your cat can still enjoy a snooze in the sun and watch the birds fly by. It will also provide plenty of shade and protect your cat's paws from the hot pavement.
Another alternative is to cat-proof your garden. You can buy a barrier that connects to your existing fencing that overhangs inwards, so your cat is unable to climb out of your garden.
One of the best ways to stop your feline friend from roaming is to get them spayed or neutered. Cats who aren't neutered are more likely to stray further from home in search of a mate.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends getting your pets spayed or neutered. Not only does spaying and neutering help stop your cat from wandering off, but it also helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors in 90% of cats.
Perhaps the best way to know what your cat gets up to is by joining in on their adventure! Leash training cats is becoming increasingly common, with felines more than happy to explore the great outdoors on a leash.
If you start leash training a cat from a young age, it's surprisingly straightforward, and your cat will learn to love your daily walks around the block.