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So I have an indoor cat that is very shy and timid and I live in a very small apartment – in the process of moving to my new/old house by the river.
We’ve been living this way for 6 years now and in all this time I’ve tried a few times to walk my cat outside but it has always been such a huge stress for her so I stopped. Just the sight of the leash would make her crawl under the bed.
The only time she would get out of the apartment of her own will is to do short research of the hallway inside the building.
And this way of life has been working for us for quite some time. In the summer especially since the balcony door is opened and she enjoys the outside sounds – which brings diversity in her cat life.
But in wintertime, it gets harder as the weather is cold so I close the balcony door and the door to my small hallway so the space is reduced only to one single room.
Maybe my cat has become more conscious about her surroundings or maybe she has grown – 6 years, she is a lady now – but there are days when she is totally unbearable. I don’t blame her, she’s just a cat, like a little child who wants to play all the time, she gets bored in this confined space.
So what happens is she wants in and out all the time, paws at the doors all day long, jumps on the chair over my head while I work. I understand, she needs to spend her energy but in this room, I just can’t help her and I have work to do.
It’s even more sad when she sleeps all day – I suppose out of boredom.
No matter how much and how many times I wanted her to join me outside she was just too scared. A total creature of habit – she hates new places without having the ability to quickly return to a safe known home.
I’ve watched many youtube videos of cats living even on sails boats, cats traveling with their owner in a van, cats hiking…. my cat is a far cry from those fearless cats. Not that I love her any less because of it!
So one week it so happened that she could not find any peace, she would pace back and forth in the apartment all the time.
So I decided firmly: she is coming with me to the supermarket no matter how scared and stressed it may be for her!
I grabbed her, put her in the cat bag which has one strap over my shoulder (so it is easy to carry her weight) and off we went.
Yes, she meowed most of the time while going down the building stairs, and in the car but it was a new sensation for her, unfamiliar. I left her in the passenger seat in my car while I did grocery shopping and when I came back, she was still there, unharmed, a bit shaking but experiencing something different than the everyday routine.
And when she got home she was totally exhausted! No energy left for jumping on my head, for meowing or pawing the doors. She went straight for the food and water and within 10 minutes she fell asleep. What bliss!
What a quiet evening that was, I watched some videos while she was sound asleep by my side.
The next day I repeated the same in the evening and you know what: she even meowed less – which means she was getting used to the process.
People say cats can’t be trained but they do learn new things and they do adapt.
And I think I’ve found the perfect way to calm my bored indoor cat with a simple short ride around the block when I buy groceries. It’s short enough not to cause her deep fear and trauma (although she does shake whether from cold or fear I’m not sure) and still it’s something different than being inside 4 walls every day.
So basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that even though a cat is not a dog and can’t be taken for a long walk or a run, a short walk outside the apartment once a day has proven to be very efficient for curing boredom in an indoor cat.
My plan is to do this every evening after work, a short trip to the grocery store or just a quick walk in the neighborhood will be so refreshing for her and great for my nerves, allowing me rest after we come back. She just doesn’t have the energy to be annoying after this walk outside, while I try to rest from the day.
It’s really nothing hard to do, it doesn’t require much extra effort – you need to go to the grocery store every day anyways (or every second day) so why not take your cat in an easy-to-carry cat bag and find a relief for both of you: your cat will get a new sensation and get tired from it and you will have your peace of mind when you get back from your everyday shopping.
It’s truly a very good solution to a common problem for an indoor cat: being bored which in turn can get very annoying for the cat owner.
Anyways I hope my experience helps you with your cat and here is a random pic of my precious girl:
Oh, how I love these eyes and this look!
I once read on Facebook : EVERY CAT IS THE BEST CAT AND THAT IS SCIENCE – and it is the absolute truth 🙂