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11.9.14

Explorer to House Cat

Before I met my husband I was not a cat person, whatsoever. I don't think I am now really. I am just someone who owns a cat who I adore.
We got Jasmine in 2005, a couple of months after we got married. We had another cat at the time who was sadly hit by a car in 2009. We briefly had another cat in 2010 but he was only with us for a couple of months as he was very poorly and we had to get him put down, which was devastating.

We decided to not get any other cats and to just enjoy Jasmine. She was always an explorer, although not so much a hunter. She would instead find something already dead and bring it home and pretend she had caught and killed it.
She's always been very wary of people and only in the last 3-4 years has she acknowledged my husband.
So when our neighbour told us that Jasmine kept just walking in her house and sitting on her bed we knew this wasn't the complete truth.
This went on for a long time. We would go over there to see if the neighbour had seen Jasmine but no, she hadn't, and 15 minutes later there would be a knock on the door and who would it be?! The neighbour, with Jasmine in her arms fighting to get away.

After a while we got frustrated with the neighbour not listening to us, we had to take Jasmine to the vets because she developed a poorly tummy and we now have to keep her on a controlled diet. Of course, telling the neighbour this didn't help whatsoever and she continued to feed her.

The day came when we had had enough. We decided that from now on Jasmine would be a house cat. It was a big decision and we did feel guilty because we were taking her freedom away, but we had to be selfish and we had to think of the pros and cons.

We did do a bit of researching online just to check we were doing things right and that we weren't neglecting her in anyway.

We basically had to go back to the days when she was a kitten and start from scratch.  I find in situations like this it is much easier to buy online at specific pet shops, such as Swell Pets, because I find it easier to search for products, to research products and prices, and also to make sure I have everything I need and haven't missed anything out.

Thankfully she took to it quite well. She has her routine of sleeping in the kitchen/playroom or more recently upstairs somewhere, and in the daytime she will go into my room and hide under the bed.
It took a lot of adjustments and still even now we forget about the litter tray sometimes and a late night dash outside to grab it in is needed.

Not only did we have to get used to having a litter tray, but when Harry was a baby we had to get another type of litter tray, one which was almost like a cat box, and this was proof to us that we have to constantly keep an eye on Jasmine's needs, more so than when she explored outside.
We have to make sure we give her enough things to keep her stimulated and to prevent her being depressed. Thankfully she is quite a bizarre cat and doesn't really like toys, much preferring to play with an emery board or giant nail file.
Her food was something we had already looked into because of her being poorly on and off and she was restricted to dry food. We have to watch that she doesn't have any fish or meat that we do as she will get poorly again, so for us a positive of her staying in is that we can control her diet easier.
We can also ensure that she is getting enough water. Again, because of her tummy we are unable to give her milk. To make her diet a little more exciting we simply just change the flavour of her cat food every fortnight.

We've also now got into a routine with her which has been good for all of us. She has never been keen on the boys and prefers to shut herself away in the daytime and sleep so she will go and sit in our bedroom. At night, one the boys have gone to bed (or when they are at school in the afternoon) she will leave the bedroom and come and sit downstairs with either my husband or me and have cuddles and fuss.
We knew from the beginning to respect her needing her space and wanting to be away by herself during the day. We didn't want her to feel she was forced to have the boys fuss over her and for her to get so fed up about it that she would run for an open door at any given opportunity.

If you are considering a house cat you may want to also think about:
Vegetation e.g. a source of grass
Beds
Scratching posts
Scent stimulation e.g. catnip
Fresh air e.g. keeping a bedroom window open slightly for the cat to sit near.

Although we were unsure at first we soon realised what a positive change our decision made to Jasmine.
Not only was she not poorly anymore, but she seemed happier, she let my husband fuss over her more whereas before she didn't want to know him at all (even after 7 years!), her weight seemed better as at times her tummy would be quite round where neighbours had fed her. And in general she looked a lot more healthy.

If we ever got another cat, we would definitely go for a house cat again.



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