For those who allow their cats to go outside, a catscape will enhance your cat's life, but it might be something of a luxury. For those who keep their cats indoors or whose cats spend most of their time indoors, a catscape is practically essential.
Most cat adoptions agencies and veterinarians these days encourage people to keep their cats indoors. They cite favorable life-expectancy statistics for cats that stay indoors. Contagious diseases, cars, larger animals, and more recently lethal tic bites are among the dangers that await our cats beyond the screen door.
I have also encountered "holistic" adoption agencies that refuse to adopt cats to people unless they promise to let them outside. They point out that humans are safer staying indoors too, but never going out is oppressive, and that cats are designed to be out in nature.
Not that there's anything natural about cars, and one might wonder how long domestic cats would survive as a species without humans to take them in.
At the same time, many people who want and love cats in their lives don't even have the option of letting them outside.
This post seeks not to judge or decide. I encourage people to make their own decisions from an informed place, with eyes open to the liabilities on either side. Because indeed, keeping cats indoors inhibits the utilization of their full capacities and potential for stimulation and movement.
Because my cat before Annabelle fell prey to something outside, I made the call to keep Annie and now her brothers indoors. Annie loves to play and run, and Arlo grew to his size and agility very quickly. It's not a big place either. Watching them slide on the wood floors (unable to use gripping and digging-in muscles), not having opportunities to pull their weight up into trees, even watching them try to stretch and sharpen their claws on sisal poles that are almost always too short to fully extend on was stifling!
It's my feeling that people who don't see the need for something more elaborate than a scratching post and a solitary cat tree and maybe a window sill perch are seeing their cats already defeated and atrophied. It is the unfulfilled potential in action and mental creativity that compromises the life-span of indoor cats.
Catscapes seeks to resolve this indoor-outdoor dilemma by bringing inside everything we can to engage, challenge, celebrate, and satisfy what cats want and love and arguably even need to do that human living environments and token cat furniture do not provide.
I would never have thought Arlo would crawl around the outside of the tunnels like Superman or that Annie could or would climb the ramps upside down as she does. Now I weep at the thought of them not having had those opportunities.
At the same time, we design catscapes that are aesthetically pleasing and that do not interfere with how people live in the spaces. In fact, a catscape adds space to your home by getting the bulky cat-furniture (and the cats themselves!) off of the floors. I no longer feel guilty moving Annabelle off my chair knowing she has a half dozen places in the same room where she will be even happier.
Whether they have nine to spend or one, ask us how we can make this the longest as well as most fun and fulfilling life your cat can possibly have.