Strong trend in Australia to keep domestic cats inside full-time has a big DEFECT

Once again, we are told that Australia is changing the face of cat domestication in order to protect their native species, often their small native mammals which are particularly vulnerable to domestic cat predation. This is because historically they never had to deal with cat predation and therefore, they have not armed themselves against it. There has been no evolution to protect themselves against domestic cats. This makes them particularly vulnerable.

Indoor cat snoozing his life away
Indoor cat snoozing his life away. He is healthy but he is utterly bored I suspect. Image in the public domain.

I’m told that local governments across Australia are strongly trending towards domestic cat containment. This means full-time indoor cats. It doesn’t mean curfews at night because that doesn’t work particularly well because domestic cat also prey animals during the daytime.

This is an ongoing evolving story. It has been in the making for about 10-20 years. ACT, a small state in Australia has the most extreme or vigorous procedures in place to corral and keep captive domestic cats. They are the leading jurisdiction in the world in the field of keeping domestic cats captive i.e. indoors full-time.

Why do cats sleep so much. Because often their environment is sterile.
Why do cats sleep so much. Because often their environment is sterile.

Australians believe that domestic cats and feral cats together have wiped out 27 native species including the desert rat kangaroo since domestic cats were imported into the continent by the Europeans in the early 1800s.

In addition to confining cats to the home there are potential restrictions on the number of cats per household and/or rules which stipulate that domestic cats must be kept on a leash when outside their home. Apparently, six Australian states have the power to introduce curfews awful cat lockdowns.

It appears that Australian citizens are gradually coming around to the idea of full-time indoor cats. This is where the big DEFECT comes in.

The government’s constantly promote the idea of full-time indoor cats as healthy cats with long life spans. There appears to be nothing bad about keeping domestic cats indoors all their lives.

But doesn’t it strike you that this is highly unnatural? And doesn’t it strike you that within these homes there is almost nothing to enrich the environment of domestic cats. These are human created environments for human enjoyment. There is nothing in them which is designed to entertain a domestic cat. What am I talking about?

The kind of enriched environment I envisage for domestic cats confined to the home
The kind of enriched environment I envisage for domestic cats confined to the home. The picture is in the public domain I believe.

I’m talking about environmental enrichment which means building elevated highways on the walls. It means building climbing posts which go to the ceiling. It means having little dens in high places. These are secure places for a domestic cat. And they have to climb up to them to enjoy them. Domestic cats live vertically as well as horizontally.

These are profound changes to the interior of human homes. It is not what humans want to do. They don’t want to modify their home to accommodate their domestic cat. This is a gross failure in cat caregiving. What you end up with is very bored domestic cats. And they sleep most of the time. That is where this misconception about domestic cat sleeping all day come from. They are forced to do it in these homes.

My cat doesn’t sleep all day because he’s allowed outside. He is highly active. There is no chance of him becoming obese. There is an obesity epidemic and it is partly fostered or promoted by cats kept indoors full-time.

If we are to confine cats indoors there must be a simultaneous and in parallel commitment to enrich the indoor environment in the interests of domestic cat welfare. It is not happening. It is nowhere near happening.

The local authorities in Australia simply say you have to confine your cat. They leave the rest to the cat owner who often has no idea about an enriched environment. This is a massive failing and it needs to be pointed out to the authorities. I hope that this article at least chips away at the problem. We owe it to domestic cat to do much better than this.

I hate to think of millions of domestic cat lying in their beds all day bored to tears with nothing to do. It is wrong. It is unhealthy. It is in fact an abuse of the domestic cat in my view.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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Post Category: Cats > behaviour