THE WORLD’S BEST GUIDE TO CATIOS
Want a safe way for your cat to enjoy the outdoors? Have you considered a catio? Learn why a catio may be a great option for your outdoor-loving cat.
Country Cats: What to Know About Owning a Rural Cat
Homes in rural areas serve as an ideal place to raise cats, but how do you know that you’re doing all you can to enrich your country cat’s life? Keeping your cat connected with nature, stimulated, and safe are key to providing them the life they deserve.
Whether you’re thinking of adopting a cat companion to share your country home with, or if you’re just looking for ideas on how to make your homestead a litter more cat-friendly, we have some thoughts for you!
But first things first…let’s cover your country cat’s wellbeing.
HOW TO SHOP, CLEAN, AND CARE FOR A country CAT!
Having a cat in the country can pose different challenges than pet parents in the big city face. Everything from getting litter to keeping them safe becomes more complicated when you’re dealing with a country setting.
Living in a rural environment often means you have a home with more storage space, which is a must for cat owners – especially those who care for multiple cats. The challenging part can be figuring out how to get the goods into your home.
Some owners swear by buying their favorite litter, food, and treats in large quantities in local stores and then storing for months so they don’t have to worry having to head out each month to buy more. But, if you’re a little more online shopping savvy, consider signing up for a subscription service online so re-ordering is simple and easy and involves no trips to the store.
If you live in the country, chances are your home comes with a tub. That’s purrfect because cats don’t typically enjoy being cleaned in a shower. When it comes to bath time, if you’re lucky enough to have a tub, fill the bottom with a few inches of lukewarm water. But for those with only a shower, you’ll want to invest in a handheld showerhead with a long enough hose to reach your cat, instead of trying to force them under a faucet.
Also, be sure to groom your cat daily to reduce shedding and help them keep a healthy coat, and make sure they have regular nail trims for their health and the health of your furniture. Also be sure to routinely keep an eye out for any signs of ticks, fleas or worms that your country cat could’ve picked up.
Allowing your feline to live outdoors part-time can come with benefits such as exercise, mental stimulation, and less destruction to your own home, but it’s important to weigh out the risks as well. Housecats who spend unsupervised time outdoors are at risk of getting lost, consuming something hazardous, getting hit by a car, attacked by another animal, or contracting disease, fleas, ticks, or worms.
The ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, and the American Association of Feline Practitioners all advocate for keeping your pet cat indoors to protect them from these hazards. A full and enriching life can be achieved indoors, especially in rural environments where owners may have more space at their disposal. Even if your cat is kept indoors 100% of the time, getting them a reflective break-free collar with an identification tag and getting them microchipped can act as a safety net if they ever do get out.
TIPS FOR A CAT-TASTIC COUNTRY LIFESTYLE
Feline confident about the basics of country-cat care? Don’t stop there! There’s so much meow to cover when it comes to enriching your cat’s lifestyle in a rural area.
Offering your country cat an outdoor screened enclosure or porch will supply them with hours of up-close nature watching, especially if it includes a cat tree or a variety of ledges to perch on. If a permanent enclosure is too big of an investment for you, outdoor cat playpens can give your feline a similar experience at a fraction of the price.
Nevertheless, outdoor time is a must for some cats and even a few minutes a day spent outdoors on a leash and harness can give your feline plenty of stimulation. If your cat is comfortable on a leash, try exploring new places with them– imagine how exciting the woods, the garden, and natural water features are to your furry friend.
Another great idea that could fly with your feline – hanging birdfeeders outside windows that your cat prefers can supply them with hours of entertainment, and cozying up to their favorite windowsills with a blanket or cat bed can ensure the comfiest cat naps possible.
Keeping them Comfortable…Especially When it Gets Cold.
As the colder months creep upon us, you’ll likely be keeping windows shut to save on the heating bill. Your feline may miss listening to the birds chirping and the wind rustling the leaves and it may be worthwhile to consider playing them subtle nature audio clips over the TV or a speaker.
The sound of a babbling brook, squirrels chirping to one another, or gentle rainfall will both soothe and stimulate your feline. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Mitcham Homing Centre in London, England followed this practice and reported: “We have noticed that the cats, and especially kittens, seem to flourish and become more confident after the introduction of sounds.”
Give Them a Fur-ever Fur-end!
If you have the space and resources, adopting a sibling for your existing cat can enrich their life socially; this is especially true for active cats who’s owners are gone for work during the day. Be mindful of your feline’s personality and temperament before adding any new members and be sure to introduce any newly adopted family members slowly. Before long, they should be best friends. More info regarding adoption can be found here, in our A to Z Guide.
If you have excess space outside your home and have noticed stray or feral cats roaming around, setting out one or two plastic tote bins that have a small entrance cut in the side and are filled with straw could offer them a safe, dry, and warm place to rest during the winter months. By lifting the tote off the ground with a wooden pallet and insulating it, visitors will likely stay nice and warm. Just be sure to stay mindful of your own cat and their personal territory and boundaries.
Your feline is already lucky to be living in such a big and wide open country setting, but there’s always more small changes you make in their environment that can make a big difference in their quality of life. Making sure to always provide your feline tender love and cat care, as well as giving them enriching activities and cozy places to birdwatch can ensure that they’re making the most of the active, happy home they deserve.