Have you ever wondered how far a cat can roam outside?? The distance is pretty small, it’s like 40 to 200 meters (on average) from home. Perhaps this is why they are called indoor animals or pets.
Views from the outdoors are a vast wonderland for your feline, that doesn’t mean indoors are less amazement. Even your simple, small paperweight can also make them wonder. Cats are born curious and exploring new things run through their genes.
So, Should cats have free-reign of house just to roam around and investigate every nook and cranny of your home like Catlock Holmes? Or should you set some boundaries and rules? To find that out, continue reading…..
Why do cats need free-reign in the house?
Despite being independent and aloof creatures, cats do have social and emotional needs that require stimulating and enriching surroundings. And there’s one way you can provide them with such an environment is to let them have a free-range of houses.
What are a cat’s natural behaviors and instincts?
Hunting, exploring, marking and defending territory, hiding, or even bringing objects or toys to the owner is a cat’s natural behavior and instincts. All of these traits are descended from their wild ancestors, and still present in most of the domestic felines.
Cats with free access to the house can express these behaviors by roaming around, sniffing new smells, scratching surfaces, hiding in cozy spots, and marking their scent. These activities can help a cat feel more safe, confident, and happy in their home.
Why is providing vertical territory important for cats?
Another instinct of a cat is to seek high places, such as shelves, cabinets, windowsills, or perches that mimic trees. Being up there gives them comfort and security. When cats roam the house, it allows them to observe their territory from one secure place.
And height can help establish dominance over other pets without having World War 3, hence lessening aggression and unwanted interaction with each other. That’s why it’s important for them to provide vertical territory to avoid conflict and maintain peace under the same roof.
How does free access promote exercise and play for cats?
Cats are naturally curious and playful creatures. They need plenty of exercise and play to stay healthy and happy. Unfortunately, many of them can be confined to small apartments or homes, which can lead to boredom and obesity.
Therefore, cats with unrestricted movement in the house can find more opportunities to explore their surroundings, chase prey, run up and down stairs, jump on furniture, pounce on bugs, and engage in other natural behaviors. These activities can help them burn calories, strengthen muscles, improve coordination, and prevent boredom and depression.
What are the advantages of allowing cats free-reign of the house?
Now we know why our felines need free-range to roam around the whole house. Let’s see what are the benefits of allowing cats free dominion of your home.
How does unrestricted access stimulate a cat’s physical and mental well-being?
When you let your pet explore your house, you are giving them a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and textures to excite their senses. Your cat can find a new spot to hide, climb, jump, nap, and leave no stone unturned. Moreover, they can also discover new objects to play with, such as cardboard boxes, paper bags, or toys that you leave around for them. These activities can provide physical and mental stimulation for cats, and other much needed activity, like improving their balance, or sharpening their hunting skills.
In addition, letting your cat roam freely in your home can challenge their mind and keep them mentally alert. They can learn new things, solve problems, satisfy their curiosity, as well as be able to do whatever they want to relieve stress, boost their confidence and maintain their well-being. For example, they can scratch, mark, snooze, or groom. Overall, an open-ended area can give exercise and play opportunities for cats.
What are the benefits of strengthening the bond with your cat through shared spaces?
Another advantage of letting your cat have free-reign of your home is that it can strengthen the bond between you and your furball. As they are social creatures, most of the time they prefer and enjoy spending time with their human companions.
So, whenever you let your cat share your space, you are showing them how much they mean to you, adore and trust them. Moreover, you are creating a bridge for your pet to communicate more with you, giving them more opportunities to get close to you, and firming bonding with your cat through shared spaces.
Furthermore, it makes them more secure and comfortable with your presence. Letting them choose where they want to be and what they want to do. These actions can help your cat feel more at home and more attached to you.
What challenges should be considered when giving cats free-reign?
Allowing your adorable pet to have free-reign of the house can have many benefits for both of you, such as providing stimulation, exercise, and bonding opportunities. However, it can also pose some challenges that you should be aware of and prepared for. For example, it is not recommended to let kittens that are under 6 months roam freely in the house, especially at night. It can be unsafe for them until they are fully litter trained and familiar with their surroundings.
How to create a cat friendly environment that ensures safety and minimizes hazards.
One of the first challenges that you should consider when giving your cat open reign is how to make your home safe and suitable for them. They are always inquisitive and adventurous animals. Because of that, they may get into trouble or harm themselves if they encounter any dangerous or inappropriate items or areas in your house. Some of the things that you should do to create a cat friendly environment are:
- Cat-proof your home by removing or securing any potential hazards, such as wires, cords, chemicals, medications, poisonous plants, or small objects that your cat may chew, swallow, or knock over.
- Provide your cat with appropriate outlets to satisfy their specific needs and stimulate their natural behaviors. Such as resting places, cozy beds, scratching posts, litter boxes, toys, and hiding places.
- Respect your cat’s preferences and personality and do not force them to go to places or do things that they do not like or feel comfortable with.
- And one thing you can do is bring the outdoors in. It’ll help them stay protected from outside dangers. You can add some fun greenery like catnip or cat grass where they can doze off, relax, and chew. Just like having a small cat-friendly garden!
How to address territorial marking and scratching behaviors.
Another challenge that you may face is how to deal with their territorial marking and scratching behaviors. They may mark their dominion by spraying urine, rubbing their scent glands, or scratching surfaces. Doing these can make them feel secure and confident, but on the other side they can also wrack your furniture, walls, or carpets.
Some of the ways that you can address these behaviors are:
- Identify the root cause of these traits, whether it is due to anxiety or boredom. Try to entertain them to relieve their stress. (click here to learn to keep your indoor feline entertained).
- Spay or neuter your cat to reduce their hormonal urges to mark their territory.
- Provide different types of scratching posts or pads that are made of different materials, such as sisal, wood, cardboard, or carpet and enough litter trays.
- Discourage your cat from scratching or spraying inappropriate areas by using deterrents, such as double-sided tape, foil, or citrus spray.
- Reward your cat for showing positive behavior, it’ll encourage them to lessen their territorial marking and scratching behavior.
How to manage allergies or other household members’ concerns.
And the final one is how to manage allergies or other household members’ concerns. Some people may be allergic to cats or may not like having them around. This can cause conflict or discomfort in your household and affect your relationship with your cat. That doesn’t mean you have to isolate your feline in a room. So, how to deal with that?
- Consult your doctor or allergist and follow their advice on how to reduce or treat your cat allergy symptoms, such as taking medication, using air filters, or washing your hands after touching your cat.
- Keep your fur ball out of certain rooms or areas that are off-limits for them, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, or kitchens. (click here to find out how you can prevent your cat from entering these places.)
- Choose hypoallergenic cats that are less likely to trigger allergies than others, and also if you are concerned about serious allergies of your family members.
- Vacuum your house every day to remove your pet’s hair from your home. You can also use a HEPA air filter to help to remove allergens from the air.
- Set some ground rules and boundaries for your kitty and household members, and find a balance that works for everyone.
How to find a balance by creating designated spaces for cats?
Finding a balance while creating a designated place for cats, you need to consider their temperament, preference, or habits. Some of my cat always want me to pet her all the time, some may prefer more privacy. Or some may enjoy high places, while others may enclose spaces.
What are effective ways to design cat friendly areas within the house?
- Offer them with different types of beds, such as cushions, blankets, baskets, or cardboard boxes. (click here if you are concerned about their sleeping under covers).
- Provide different types of hiding places, such as tunnels, caves, shelves, or cabinets. Also, some vertical spots or cat trees.
- Give them various types of toys, such as balls, feathers, mice, or puzzles.
- Don’t only think about fun activities, but also to make sure they have plenty of places to eat and drink. Place it near their rest areas.
- Make sure to play with them regularly. It’ll help to fulfill your kitty’s exercise and stimulation needs, keep them happy and healthy as well.
How to optimize litter box placement and management techniques ?
- Place the litter boxes in quiet and easy to access locations, away from food and water sources.
- Provide enough litter boxes for your cat’s needs. You know that it’s advisable to have one litter box per cat, plus one extra. By doing this, it’ll prevent them from using others’ litter and maintain hygiene.
- Keep the litter boxes clean and fresh. Scoop the litter boxes at least once a day and change litter completely every week. Make sure to replace them every year if they are not usable anymore.
- Use a type of litter that your cat likes and tolerates, such as clumping, non-clumping, scented, unscented, or natural.
- Avoid changing the litter type often, as it may confuse or upset your cat. If it becomes necessary to change, then mix the old with the new one together until your cat gets used to it.
Can training help in allowing cats free-reign?
What training and positive reinforcement techniques can be used?
- Treats & Praise: This is the main form of positive reinforcement. Also, it’ll help them to understand which areas are restricted for them and where they can roam freely.
- Clicker training: It involves using a device that makes a clicking sound to mark and reward the cat for their desired behavior. You can also use your hand and verbally to train your cat.
- Desensitization: When you are allowing them to wander your whole house, there are a lot of places or objects that can be unfamiliar to them, making them scared or anxious. So expose your feline gradually to them in a safe and controlled way.
When is it advisable to seek professional help for cat behavior issues?
Giving your furball wide range dominion will satisfy their curious, adventurous mind. But it can also cause behavioral issues in them. Some problems may be induced by underlying medical, emotional, or environmental factors that need to be addressed by a professional.
- They are exhibiting aggression, excessive vocal, biting or scratching harmfully.
- They are hiding or avoiding you, urinating or defecating outside the litter box.
- Their behavior is sudden, severe, or persistent and does not improve with your training or changes in the environment.
- They are consistently in fear or stress, unusual movement or antics from the previous day.
You should consult your veterinarian or a certified cat behaviorist who can diagnose the problem, rule out any medical causes, and provide you with a suitable and proper treatment plan to solve the behavioral issues.
Ultimately, your cat’s well-being and comfort are what matter most. By following our tips, using positive and effective techniques, and seeking professional help when needed, you can help ensure that your furry friend’s behavior and environment stay harmonious and happy.
So, do you have any stories or experiences about giving your cute feline free-reign of your house? We are curious to know how it went for you and your cat. Feel free to share them with us in the comments below.