How to keep cats.
First and foremost: cats are not solitary animals!
Wild cats are an exemption from this. They are in fact genuinely solitary animals. In this article however, we’re talking about domesticated cats.
You'll need at least two cats.
People can’t substitute for a fellow cat. If you are thinking about sharing your life with cats, think of two.
And these two kitties should match too.
Although cats do hunt alone, which has to do with the size of their prey, they do not live alone. Individual hunting has generated the myth that cats are solitary animals. This is wrong. Cats have a highly complex social behaviour.
If kittens get separated from their mothers too early they cannot develop adequate social behaviour.
They simply don’t understand other cats. It happens more often though that contrary to their natural needs, cats are kept alone and then find themselves in a shelter or end up at our organization. Every now and again, these cats cannot be socialised again. In such individual cases we adopt our cats to guardians planning to have one cat only. Apart from that, we turn down applications for single-cat households and do not rehome cats in this form of pet keeping.
A few guidelines can help us here, which are not generally binding, but help us make decisions.
The cats’ ages should match. An old lady won’t show much tolerance to a rowdy. Although this aspect gets less important with increasing age, it needs to be taken into consideration for younger cats by all means.
ame-gender cats get on better with each other on the long run. Even cats of opposite genders from the same litter, inseparable as kittens and young cats will live simply next to each other or won’t understand each other at all when they get 4 or 5 years old.
Or even more than two?
That’s a sensitive topic. If you’d like to share your home with more than two cats you need to be aware of a few things. Here’s a list of the most important ones:
If you don’t mind, you get and understand it all, and you’d still like to have more than two – here are our tips for you:
If you’re not a “pro”, there should be no more cats than helping hands in the household
An odd number of cats will lead to issues more frequently than an even number of kitties
Call us if you need counselling.
Discuss it with your family – including possible negative consequences. You can avoid overreactions in advance this way. If you are well-prepared you’ll get lots of joy from your new flatmate(s). Good preparation is half the battle.
Outdoor or indoor cats?
Many cat guardians do not think about this question. They either don’t have the opportunity to let their cats outside or they don’t think twice because cats need the great outdoors. There is a twilight zone in-between. We aim to give you some insight here.
Cats can deal with the dangers of nature very well. The dangers that man has in store for animals are a different matter, with traffic in particular.
We consider letting cats outside justifiable where they are not exposed to the risks of heavy road traffic. Letting your cat outside is feasible in quiet residential areas – in this case, it is definitely an enrichment for your cat.
If you decide to let your cat outside, you should be aware of the following typical hazards:
We know the story all too well: kitty is sitting high up on a tree and just won’t come down. After waiting forever, the owner calls the fire brigade and a fireman brings the unhappy ball of fur down again. With a hefty price tag, of course.
Owing to the shape of their claws, cats are incapable to climb down a tree head first. It’s possible backwards only.
You can easily avoid an emergency call to the fire brigade if you teach your cat how to get off the tree climbing backwards.
Furnish a corner in your home with sisal boards or a suitable carpet floor to ceiling. Using a laser pointer or an appropriate cat toy, get your cat to hunt upwards on this wall. Your cat will finally learn how to climb back down, so there’s no need to learn it in an emergency situation.
Cellars, garages, sheds etc.
The door slams closed – what now? Your cat is sitting locked up in her unexpected jail. She can hear you calling, but she’s terrified and won’t answer you. She is waiting for you to get her out of there, but your voice is dying away until she cannot hear you anymore. That’s a quite common scenario.
Once again: practice in advance will help you both!
On a random basis, close the door of the room where your cat is. Some time later, start to call out for her. Open the door only when your cat answers you and reward her with a treat.
When it works fine after a while, you cat will also answer you outside when she is in distress.
Everyday life with outdoor cats
Compared to an indoor cat guardian you need to be better at holding your nerve with outdoor kitties.
‘Presents’ are part of the deal: half eaten mice or birds, not to speak of the ones still alive. Please get this right: if your cat shares his prey with you it is a sign of his affection.
Injuries both big and small resulting from fights on the territory happen regularly. You don’t need to rush to the vet with every single scratch; however, carelessness is just as inappropriate. We find that contact with a homeopath or an animal naturopath can be beneficial because you can avoid the preventive administration of antibiotics this way. Antibiotics are highly efficacious weapons against particular bacterial diseases in case they are administered infrequently, targeted and only when proven to be medically necessary.
Poisoned bait distributed for rats are lethal to cats too. It’s an extremely torturous death – irrespective of whether the cat eats the bait itself or a poisoned rat or mouse.
Poisoned bait is subject to notification and can be distributed only where adequate caution signs are displayed. Check for these signs and do not let your cat out for the time being! Please note that residents also distribute poisoned bait without the necessary authorisation to do so. In such cases do not hesitate to inform the police!
Your kitty is not coming home in the evening?
Sure, that will happen. The dusk and the night offer quite some excitement for your little predator.
Tired and battered, the runaway is usually back home the next morning.