Raising a City Cat
City cats are a whole different breed, especially city cats who go outside.
With the added excitement and danger of a fast-paced urban existence, it’s important to be well-versed in caring for your companion in this unique environment. Licensing, safety, and general common sense will be your guide to raising a happy and healthy urban feline.
Think Twice About Going Outside
At the risk of sounding like a complete downer, it’s important that you know the potential dangers your cat faces before letting her roam freely. In urban settings, cats have to rely on more than their senses to avoid things like traffic, disease, other animals, unkind humans, bad weather, and getting lost. According to a 2012 article in The Toronto Star, a staggering 13,000 cats are killed by motorized vehicles in the city of Toronto per year.
Another risk cats face by mingling with other citizens of the urban jungle is disease. Feline leukemia, rabies, parasites, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are just a few of the health issues that pose a serious threat to your pet. Toss in the risk of being mistaken for a stray (it happens more than you’d think) or getting caught in a nasty storm or cold snap and you begin to realize that the outside world can be a very scary place indeed.
Know Your By-Laws
Depending on your municipality, there could be by-laws pertaining to your cat. Many cities require that all cats be licensed and there are often rules about how many cats can live in a single household. Spend some time brushing up on your city’s rules and regulations so that you’re not caught off guard the next time your friendly neighborhood by-law officer is passing though.
Create a Cat-Friendly Condo (or row house, or loft…)
If you choose to keep your cat indoors, you need to ensure there’s plenty for him to do to avoid boredom or depression. Most cats don’t require a lot of space, making them the perfect roommate for your 400 square foot studio. That being said, no one likes to stare at the same four walls day in and day out.
Invest in a cat tower, some cool scratching posts, and a few toys designed to keep your feline friend busy. Cats are notoriously picky so you may have to experiment before finding that perfect source of entertainment.
Learn to Love the Litter
Ah, the litter box: such a necessary evil. Unless, of course, your cat is toilet trained, in which case, you lucked out. For the rest of us, the litter box is an unavoidable part of cat companionship, try as we might to avoid it. Because city homes are usually smaller, you really want to ensure that the litter box you choose does a phenomenal job at containing your cat’s feces. A box with a domed lid can be helpful, especially if your cat tends to kick litter out of the pan. Seasoned city dwellers swear by unscented litter and those in the know top it off with baking soda which has excellent anti-odor properties. Make scooping and regular deep-cleans a priority and you should be golden.
You know the old saying about curiosity and cats. Make sure it doesn’t become a reality by taking the necessary precautions when it comes to windows. Fresh air feels great, especially when you live on the 15th floor, but to an adventurous kitty, that open window is just one more thing to explore. Install sturdy screens that can withstand the weight of your cat or create barriers to prevent him from getting too close. Remind visitors or pet sitters to keep the windows closed and monitor balcony access. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.