I’m on the outside, I’m looking in…
I want to write about the importance of why, if you choose to let your cat outside, a cat flap (or access of some kind) is a necessity.
Cats establish in their homes, it’s their core territory. All their favourite things are there; their food, their beds, their toys, their humans. Limiting access to the resources you provide when a cat becomes a member of your family is likely to disrupt your cat in a couple of ways. The first being that your cat will potentially become a little confused about the lack of access and determine they need to find another “main home base.” The second is that they may decide another cat’s main home base looks appealing and the situation develops into a very much unwanted turf war, especially in built up areas.
Some cats are extremely reluctant to use litter trays. If your cat is one of them and this is one of the reasons you decided to allow your cat access to the great outdoors, it has to be mentioned that if the cat in question isn’t able to access their toileting area easily there are again, a couple of possible outcomes. The cat could simply designate an area they are comfortable toileting in within the house. Another more severe possibility is that the cat may hold in whatever he or she needs to do and potentially cause themselves extremely serious health issues.
I appreciate that some cats have wonderful homes, but their humans are unable to provide a cat flap. In some rental properties, for example, landlords simply won’t agree to that aesthetic change. When this occurs, it’s important to remember that the garden is in effect an outdoor extension of your cats core territory, and if you have to leave your cat outside that it’s sensible to give them access to a shelter of some description. If at all possible, it might be prudent to fit a microchip cat flap on the shelter, so if you leave your cat resources outside, they’re the only cat able to access them. Cats do form bonds with people, but unlike some animals, their fondness isn’t unconditional. They’re generally pragmatic and practical in their approach and self care is, to a degree an instinct to them.
By recognising this aspect of a cat and their thinking, you’re more much likely to have a feline family member who feels secure with the degree of dependence they’ve developed on you, and is likely to result in a much happier cat.