There is no more perfect pet for those who live in apartments than a cat—or two! If you have recently moved to a large metropolis from a rural area it may take a little time for you and your cat to adjust to the sounds and smells of city life, but after an adjustment period, you will both be fine. Here we’ll explain how to create a more feline-friendly apartment in the big city, to ensure your cat settles into her new home as comfortably as possible.
If your apartment is above the first floor you will want to make sure the windows are not left open during nice weather unless childproof screens have been installed on the windows. A cat has no idea that leaning into the sunlight against a flimsy, fabric screen is not a good idea; and a drop from even a second-story window can have fatal consequences. If you don’t have childproof screens you can use a pressure-mounted gate if it fits very snuggly and can’t be nudged out of position.
Kittens and cats are very good escape artists; make sure you train your cats from an early age not to bolt out the door every time it is opened. It’s simple to make the door an unfriendly place for your cat by gently misting them with water from a small squirt bottle each time they begin an escape; eventually, they will lose interest in the front door.
Related: Training Your Cat to Walk on a Leash
Sometimes, despite our best efforts a kitten or cat will run away, which is why it is essential for your cat to wear a collar with identification tags. Your veterinarian can microchip your cat; then you simply register as your pet’s owner with the microchip processing company.
If your cat is found wandering and picked up by the folks from the animal shelter, they will be able to reach you using the microchip information. Most neighbors will call if they find a cat wandering around if there is a telephone number on your cat’s collar. Almost everyone has had the dreaded experience of losing a beloved pet and because of that, they are usually happy to help reunite a furry friend with its owner.
Healthy Cat, Happy Cat
Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date, and if you live in an area where fleas or ticks are prevalent talk to your vet about preventative medications. Kittens will need to be checked for worms, but the treatment is relatively easy. Consider having your cat neutered or spayed which lessens the probability of ovarian or testicular cancers.
Even a cat that lives its entire life indoors should have routine health visits. It is also worth mentioning that a male cat that is neutered is unlikely to develop a spraying habit to mark his territory. Make sure the litter box is kept somewhat private, and that you clean it daily, and your cat will reward you by using his box instead of a corner in your closet.
Nutrition and Water
Though most cats are not fond of being in water it is essential for your cat’s well-being that fresh water is always available to drink. A lack of water can lead to serious health issues for cats, particularly urinary tract infections and kidney problems. Make sure to wash the cat’s water bowl and fill it with fresh water at least once a day.
Consider a cat fountain which can be purchased at many pet supply stores and online. The food you give your cat will depend on your vet’s recommendations and the type of cat you own – but it’s always best to go as natural as possible and feed your cat a meat diet. Likewise, if you have a kitten you should feed it meals designated for kittens. The nutritional needs of each cat will depend on age, health, and activity level. If your vet hasn’t recommended a food take a stroll down the cat food aisle of any pet store and you will find hundreds of options, just read the labels.
Cats only Pretend
Many people assume that because a cat naturally acts aloof that perhaps they don’t really need any special attention or affection. It is true that cats are more independent than dogs, but they still crave the comfort of interacting with their owner. A cat that is alone in an apartment all day needs to have some playtime and cuddle time.
If you have multiple cats you may find them trying to outdo one another for your attention, beware, this can lead to funny cat videos. Try to play fun, physical games, like chase the feather, and then enjoy a bit of snuggle time. The amazing thing is that petting a cat, or dog, can make you healthier.
Healthy Pet and Healthy Family
In his recent study Dr. Gern, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, analyzed the blood of babies immediately after birth and one year later. He was looking for evidence of an allergic reaction, immunity changes, and for reactions to bacteria in the environment. If a furred pet lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies — 19% vs. 33%.
They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals–a sign of stronger immune system activation. “Dogs and cats are dirty animals, and this suggests that babies who have greater exposure to dirt and allergens have a stronger immune system,” says Gern, whose data was published in the Journal of Allergy’ and Clinical Immunology.
“Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home,” says Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
For most people, whether you live in a high rise apartment in a city like Denver or an off-campus eight-plex, a cat is beneficial emotionally and physically, and a lot of fun to play with.