My Pet World: How to keep an indoor cat happy and content
I have an indoor cat under a year old. Can you tell me how I can and where to socialize her? I'm a 62-year-old man. It's just her and me in a studio apartment. I work nights. I'm not supposed to bring her to my job. I do not have any other pets. I don't want her to be alone without any recreation. I let her sit in the hall. She won't let me put the harness or leash on her. Otherwise, I would walk her. I took her out in a Sherpa several times and walked her around town. I have toys for her and play with her a bit. What else can I do?
— Wayne, Queens, New York
Cats don't need to be socialized like dogs. They are generally fine being the only cat in a family, especially if their humans give them lots of attention and playtime. You don't have to take her anywhere, but walking her around town in a Sherpa carrier with its see-thru mesh sides is great if she enjoys it.
I don't recommend leaving her in the hallway of your apartment building though. You never know how passers-by might scare or mistreat her. Instead, keep her in your apartment and expand her environmental stimulation there. Get her a window hammock, which she can nap in or enjoy the view. Get a tall scratching post for her to climb and scratch on. Leave the television on a nature channel when you're at work. Buy toys — like a laser pointer, feather dancer, or a reel-type fishing toy — that encourage her to run and pounce. Consider buying food dishes that you can program to turn on or open automatically, which might give her something to look forward to when you are at work.
In addition, play with her three times a day for 10 minutes each time. If you do all this, she should be a very happy and content feline.
You recently had a letter about a dog who was afraid of going into the house. It’s possible there is a noise in the house that the dog can hear, but humans cannot. As you probably know, dogs can hear frequency ranges that are out of the human range.
I suggest turning off the main power circuit breaker to the home and seeing if the dogs' behavior changes. If so, turn one circuit breaker on at a time and watch the dog’s reaction. It can be a problem with a piece of electronic equipment, appliance, or possibly an ultrasonic rodent repelling device, causing the dog to hear an alarming sound.