When pet owners need to go to work or on a holiday, pets often end up staying indoors so they won’t get lost or end up messy for the owner when they get back. In Singapore, for instance, pets are often left indoors in condo units or in pet daycare by their owners during the day and they play with them at home at night.
As a result of this practice, the pets slowly start to get used to staying indoors and prefer being indoors rather than outdoors.
Since these pets are often indoors, a debate has sprung between pet owners and groomers if indoor pets are cleaner than others. Some would say pets who mostly stay indoors would not be as dirty as compared to their outdoor or indoor/outdoor counterparts.
Since these pets do not go out a lot and play in the dirt, some believe they will not get dirty at all and do not need to get a bath regularly. They are also not exposed to harmful elements like pollution and smoke, which can affect their health.
Others say indoor/outdoor pets are better because they get to exercise and stay active. Even if they do get dirty, they can be cleaned up easily and the pets would also learn how to become immune from the elements. Allowing them some outdoor time is also good since they would be able to swim and run in the rain to cool themselves off.
However, some experts – especially professional groomers – would be immediate in saying indoor pets are dirtier than their indoor/outdoor counterparts and it is also essential they are given a bath regularly. This holds true for indoor cats.
Why are indoor cats dirtier?
Every animal deserves to be clean since it is important for their health. If you would take notice, animals would often try going on puddles on their own, play under the rain and clean themselves on their own with the help of their tongue.
For cats, it was once said that they would seek a bath themselves to remain clean and not just rely on their spit to clean dirty areas. They would even go on rivers, ponds or tubs filled with water to swim and cool down. This belief is further supported by images or videos of cats going out leisurely on light rainy days, do some light swimming and roll in the snow. When they do this, they are trying to rinse away all the dirt in their bodies that cannot be cleaned easily by saliva and help them cool down.
Since indoor/outdoor cats would seek out cleaning themselves, they would only need to be cleaned or given a bath occasionally. Of course, they would have to be given a bath if they come across substances like oil or mud and if they have long hair.
By comparison, indoor cats can’t easily find means for them to clean their bodies aside from using their tongues. Since they are confined indoors, they cannot step outside for a bit to get drizzled by the rain or go for a swim unless you left your bathtub slightly filled with water that they can manage. They may even develop an attraction to any dripping sink since the urge to stay clean grows stronger and they like to soak the dirt off.
Without a water source to help them clean the layers of food, dirt and litterbox debris, the cat has no choice but to use his tongue to lick it away. However, saliva can only do so much for the cat’s cleanliness since it can combine with the natural oils in a cat’s hair and cause fur matting.
Aside from fur matting, indoor lighting triggers the onset of constant shedding for an entire year. Shed hair from cats is one of the most notable allergens for humans, as well as their saliva.
If this is the case, wouldn’t you want them clean so it reduces the health risks posed to you and your family?
So, what should you do?
Fortunately, even if your cat mostly stays indoors, you can easily clean them through regular grooming. While grooming your cat, you will be able to remove fur matting on your cat’s coat, release loose hair and also get rid of the grime that might have accumulated in their fur. There are now several grooming tools and guides available in pet stores, bookstores and online sites to help you get started.
If you do not have the time to groom your pets or you are not sure on where to start cleaning, fear not!
In Singapore, there are a lot of pet grooming salons, spas or clinics that offer to groom for all kinds of pets. Some of these clinics even have cat grooming professionals ready to give your cat the pampering and cleaning they need. They would also be happy to provide advice on how you can keep your cat clean even if they only stay indoors. Some of these clinics can even provide you advice on what grooming tools to get for your cats and which shampoos to get. They even sell it directly on their shop.
If there’s any chance you are unable to visit the salon with your cat, groomers can make house visits to check up on your pet and clean them there. They can even answer your questions regarding grooming and even give you a quick tutorial on how to clean your indoor cats at home.
As a pet owner, it is your choice as to whether or not you will keep your pets indoors or have them also go out and explore. However, you must remember that there are dangers outdoors that you need to consider when you do let out your pet play. The same goes when you leave them indoors.
Whether you let them play outdoors or not, it is your responsibility as their owner to schedule regular grooming sessions (see Likeable Pets) because if they are always clean and healthy, it shows that you care for your pets.