Survey provides new insights into the lives of cats

A new survey has revealed British cats prefer the comfort of their home than the great outdoors.

Thursday, 27th April 2017, 3:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:40 pm
A new survey has revealed British cats prefer the comfort of their home than the great outdoors.

More than half of cat owners surveyed (56 per cent) admitted their feline friend chose the domestic life with warm rooms and comfortable beds.

And when cats do venture outside, almost six out of ten cats never or rarely catch or kill any wildlife, while 12 per cent spend their time sleeping the day away.

The survey, carried out by Vets4Pets, looked at the changing relationship between owners and their pets and provides a new insight into the lifestyles of cats in the UK.

Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said the results of the survey demonstrated that owners look at their cat’s lifestyle, in particular the indoors versus outdoors dilemma.

Dr Stacey said: “Domestication of cats began approximately 13 millions years ago, and their lives are continually changing.

“Indoor living in today’s society affords a high level of comfort for many cats and owners often see keeping cats indoors as keeping them safe.

“While preventing cats from the obvious risks outside of traffic, fights with other cats and parasites, the indoor life does pose some problems for our feline friends.

“Frustration, boredom and health problems including obesity and diabetes are often associated with indoor cats.

“But, according to the survey, most owners needn’t worry about the letting their cat outside as the average cat tends to stay close-by to their home, not straying further than their own back garden or their neighbour’s.”

Interestingly, 18 per cent of owners have no idea what their moggies get up to day to day, and one in ten cat owners think their pet has used up seven or more of their supposed nine lives.

“The survey has clearly revealed is people spend time thinking about their cat’s welfare, which is obviously good news,” said Sam Taylor, a cat expert from International Cat Care.

“It’s worth remembering that cat litter was only introduced in the 1950s, so all cats spent time outdoors, even if just to go to relieve themselves.

“And litter trays marked another shift in the gradual changing in the cat’s status, from vermin catcher to companion.

“But cats still retain the skills that made them excellent hunters, such as sharp eyesight, hearing and sense of smell, and these need to be stimulated regularly to keep cats healthy and happy.

“Cats, just like humans, have different personalities and different lifestyles suit different cats.

“Understanding a cat’s personality can help enormously in providing the right lifestyle for them, including how much time they spend inside and outside of the home.”

Many owners, whose cats have been outside during the day, have a unique cat-call to bring their cats back to base as night-falls.

However, this isn’t always enough – as almost half (48 per cent) simply ignore their owner’s requests. But there’s no fooling these cunning creatures, 31 per cent are more than happy to play ball, if there’s a treat at stake. With a little simple training, cats can be trained to come when called.

“The majority of accidents involving cats and cars occur at night and close to their home, which is why calling your cat in at night can be a wise choice,” Dr Stacey continued.

“Cats are clever and can learn to turn a situation to their advantage, such as the treat to come inside at night, but most owners think it’s worth it to alleviate any risks of being outside at night.

“However, if a cat survives its first year and learns about the dangers in its environment, it is very likely to live a long life of 15 or even 20 years and beyond.”

Sam Taylor added: “As more and more cats are staying indoors for the majority of their time, it is important for owners to provide the opportunities for cats to express normal behaviours.

“Owners can help keep their indoor cat mentally and physically stimulated in a number of ways, for example providing cat grass to nibble on or by playing with toys to stimulate their hunting traits.

“Similarly, cats which have access to outside areas can come across risks and dangers; but these can be reduced by ensuring they are vaccinated, neutered and microchipped. Additionally, providing a reflective collar (of a quick release type) and training cats to come when called to be kept at night, may help keep them safe.”

Vets have developed an online guide to give cat owners help and advice on providing the best home for their pet