Keep Cats Safe and All Happy

2014-03-13
Art by Karen Schmidt

Art by Karen Schmidt

If you share your home with a cat, here are a few ideas that can help add peace to your home and your life. Also hats off to today’s artists Karen Schmidt and Lisa Jacobs and their gorgeous works of art. Click on the image of either painting to visit their sites.

As a birder, gardener, city dweller and cat lover, I can get pretty passionate on the topic about letting cats roam free outdoors.

Their needless yet impulsive hunting can wipe out a seasons’ worth of nestlings. Bells don’t help. Songbirds have plenty of obstacles from habitat loss, pollutants and window kills without having the added and unnecessary challenges of suffering from highly effective predation by cats. (see info below)

However I also feel strongly about the quality of life for all animals and as a cat lover, having them join me in my garden is delightful and amusing company. And they adore the fresh air and outdoors time. Our three cats are contained within our back yard. It helps that they’re getting older. In the future if we have young ones again (as opposed to adopting an older cat; our home will never be without a cat) we may have to add reinforcement to our fencing containment, or consider building a screened outdoor cat space.

Art by Lisa Jacobs

Art by Lisa Jacobs
‘Bit O’luck’ this painted bluebird needs more than luck to protect it from cats

If I lived on an acreage with room for my felines to roam free without worry of cars, I still don’t think I’d let them. Firstly for their own sake, since we have lots of hares where I live, and hares mean coyotes. A free ranging domestic cat equals an easier meal for a coyote than a speedy hare. And secondly: Back to the safety of local fauna! Cats are impulsive and ruthless killers of small creatures such as birds, frogs, and salamanders. It’s been proven that being well fed has zero deterrence for a cat’s powerful killing instinct.

There are better options! Yard containment, and if you live in a more populated area than the ‘burbs where I am, and find yourself in an apartment, balconies have great fresh air potential for kitties, but please protect them by enclosing the area. The number of fatalities from cats falling off balcony railings is heart breaking. Don’t let it happen in your family!

Indoors there are lots of ideas we can do to increase their entertainment and help reduce bad cat behaviour that often results from boredom. Definitely encourage window viewing. In a house with a cat a window without a viewing shelf is a missed opportunity. Install them wherever you can.

And for some ideas, here’s today’s slideshow of clever shelf placement, fence topper containment, indoor tree houses for cats, and ways to hide the necessary litter box.

“To some blind souls all cats are much alike. To a cat lover every cat from the

beginning of time has been utterly and amazingly unique.” ~ Jenny De Vries

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Statistics: “According to a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, studies now show that in many suburban areas, pet cats make up 42% of the diets of coyotes. Allowing cats to roam freely outdoors, not only puts cats at risk, but it is also taking a toll on wildlife. Another study entitled ‘Mesopredator Release and Avifauna Extinctions in a Fragmented System’, which appeared in the journal Nature, was written by two ecologists, Kevin Crooks and Michael Soulé. The study tracked numbers of kills by free-roaming cats in San Diego County. The study showed these cats brought home an average of 24 small mammals, 15 birds, and 17 lizards per year. The study did not include kills that were made and not ‘returned’ to the owner, so they are most likely way understated.” ~ Source prweb.com

Links for additional information:
http://www.ikeahackers.net/search/label/pet%20furniture
http://www.petstrends.com/2008/10/07/unique-cat-furniture-kittyloft/
http://absoluteleigh.com.au/build-your-own-cat-furniture/

10 responses to Keep Cats Safe and All Happy

  1. 

    Love this post and the clever, indoor tree houses. I’m also a cat lover and the proud human of three cats. My kitties would go crazy for any of those cool climbing toys. Much more fun than my furniture. (LOL) Also, love the artwork. Hugs, SS Lorlinda

    • 

      Hello my friend, and thanks for your wonderful comment! You also have three felines? Ah it’s delightful to be ‘outnumbered’ isn’t it? A furry purring friend always within reach. Glad you enjoyed today’s Artwork too, my talented artist-friend. Hugs, SS Gina

  2. 

    Fabulous post my dear! I totally agree and will share with all my cat pals…and some neighbors who allow their cats to roam, get killed on the road, and who defecate in my gardens…grrr.

    Thank you, thank you! Diane

    • 

      Hello Diane! Yes, it’s interesting how with my own cats they have their ‘areas’ which I screen with tall plants, clean out regularly and don’t mind, but I do NOT like other cats coming in my gardens.. especially the front perennial beds (where my cats can’t access anyways). Thanks so much for your cheer of support my friend. 😀 Gina

  3. 

    Now I’m wishing I were more “builderly!” I have two cats and they have a small outdoor enclosure – which protects them from the aggressive crows while they chew on grass and dream of songbirds.

    • 

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It made me smile! I chase away magpies who try to ‘gang up on’ any unattended cat. I’m not that ‘builderly’ but we’ve had great success with the wirecloth (as in pics) stapled around the top of our 6′ backyard fence. And indoors we’ve got well placed bookcases and window shelves (One with a heating blanket for our wiry thin Siamese!). No trees yet. Great to hear from you. Gina

  4. 

    The felines that rule Coral Cottage say thank you for thinking of them in this lovely post. Meow!

  5. 

    Ohhhh… cats!! My heart is melting. Smart tips, too! xo

    • 

      Me too! They are all so sweet, like the young one on the yellow stairs, and the tabby in the tree, and the look on the lying cat on the top shelf! Like… No way man! xo