Sarahmc asked about keeping cats in flats over in the other forum, and I thought it was worth starting a thread specifically on this topic, (mainly so I could talk about my kittens for a bit).
Sarah, I got my two kittens from the Celia Hammond Animal Trust down in Lewisham. Their view is that it is fine to keep older cats indoors as long as they have always been indoor cats, and that it is also fine to home kittens as indoor cats, as long as they are homed in pairs.
I had had reservations about keeping cats in a flat with no outside access, but having spoken to many people who have cats in London, I don't think it's a problem at all, as long as they have plenty of stimulation.
Ah, one of my favourite topics - after handbags, that is - personally I'm with TLMJJ on this one.
Cats are a mass of contradictions. On the one hand, they are very territorial, and actively dislike sharing their territory with another cat unless they grew up together, or the second cat was introduced as a kitten (hence no threat to the existing adult cat). On the other hand, they are surprisingly social creatures who need regular amounts of attention, affection and companionship.
There is also a growing movement (in the US to be fair) that it is actually much healthier and fairer to keep an indoor cat than an outdoor one. Better for the cat healthwise (less risk of FIV and RTAs), better for the cat mentally (they have an established territory and don't need constantly to fight off other cats who may be bigger and stronger) and better for the local ecosystem (cats kill for fun, not for food and there is seemingly no limit to the amount of small birds and rodents they can get through in a day.
Couple of other thoughts:
It is very difficult to impossible to keep a cat who is used to being outdoors as an indoor cat. Get a kitten or a cat who has always stayed indoors.
Don't get a cat if you think you will be away from home a lot or regularly spend the majority of your evenings out. Cats need surprising amounts of company and love and affection.
Make sure there's lots of stuff for your cat to play with when you are in and when you are out. There are lots of cat toys on the market, but I have had most success with long trailing ribbons (80p a metre from John Lewis) and the paper tickets which dry cleaners put on your clothes (when pounced on from a great height, these tend to fly up as if they have a life of their own and then get chased throughout the flat).
Avoid very active or predatory breeds of cat - like ocicats for instance - which need lots of exercise.
Grow your own grass and catnip.
The only downside I can immediately think of is not really being able to have any of the cut flowers I really like in the flat any more (as a lot of flowers are poisonous to cats).
The final way I deal with this issue is actually to take my kitty out for a walk on a lead. Yes, I know, it sounds nuts, but she really likes it (I think she is a little unusal in this however). I got a walking jacket from Metpets in the US (see here).
So long as it is what they are used to indoor cats a perfectly happy. I also had two (though one has since passed on to be reincarnated as one of TLMJJs kittens) and the remaining cat is a happy little thing.
Given that cats sleep for upto 23 hours of every day there really is no problem. Be warned though - just as you're dropping off to sleep seems to be the time of night that they partake of some light exercise - such as doing the 'wall of death' around the living room. Or is that just my moggie?
Can you believe the little buggers even have a credible excuse for that ? Cats are "crepuscular" - which I always thought meant they have saggy skin, but apparently just means they only like being awake between the hours of 5am and 8am then 10pm and 1am...
My cat used to do the "wall of death" too but I think that she's getting a little old for it now (she's 14). She used to be very fond of catching birds and letting them go inside the house but I found that a bell on her collar put paid to that pretty quickly so now instead of racing round like a herd of elephants at 3am, she tinkles round & round the living room instead - slowly!
> Can you believe the little buggers even have a
> credible excuse for that ? Cats are "crepuscular"
> - which I always thought meant they have saggy
> skin, but apparently just means they only like
> being awake between the hours of 5am and 8am then
> 10pm and 1am...
Some friends moved out of London a few years ago . They adopted two moggies from a Carlise cat rescue that had been brought up as house cats and never allowed outside because of traffic. A few months later they moved to a remote rural location in the Scottish borders
Within a week, these two pampered critters were expert shrew-hunters having reverted to their crepuscular habits and natural instincts.
On Midsummer's day, I was woken by the sound of Salt and Pepper going out hunting at 4am and then returning at dawn to deposit some small furry treats for me next to the sofa bed.
What is the wall of death? Or shouldn't I ask?
I do work late Mon-Wed- I get home about 10, but to be honest after stumping up for my first flat and all the associated expenses I think it unlikely I will ever be able to afford to go out again! I did think a kitten might be the best, but a friend told me that her kittens were terribly naughty at first and quite a burden (although she loves them now).
Also, how are they on wood floors? I used to have a house rabbit at university and when i took him home in the holidays he used to skitter about on my mum and dad's wood floors something chronic.
Should be fine on wooden floors. I opted for them throughout as my cat will always choose the smallest piece of carpet to throw up on!
If you're home by ten you'll be in just in time for the wall of death! (Wall of death is the original motorcycle stunt whereby a bike rides around the inside walls of a circular structure horizontally.)
My two kittens are naughty, but I don't find them a burden at all, because they're not destructive. They do make a bit of a mess, though, but nothing a good hoover doesn't sort out. And I've learnt to put things in places the kittens can't get to. To be honest, they've probably made me tidier.....
They're brilliant on the wooden floors - you should see the looks on their faces when they're running full pelt then try to stop and end up skidding halfway across the room.