1 in 4 households in Switzerland have cats which make them the nation’s favorite pet.
The Swiss culture firmly believes that cats should have access to the outdoors. The following statement was taken from a Swiss cat welfare website:
“Cats are adaptable and can live in the most different of circumstances. Nevertheless, their ability to adapt should not be overtaxed in order to ensure their well being. The following radical but earnest statement of a veterinary is food for thought: It’s preferable to have a cat that will only survive for one year, if allowed to roam outdoors than to have a cat vegetating behind lock and bar for fifteen years.”
I know that’s a tough statement to swallow for most of us who treasure our cats dearly and worry about their safety. They go on to say cats may be kept indoors if the following considerations are respected:
Often, special breeds are not allowed outdoors out of fear of theft or accidents. The cat, however, could not care about its family tree but is curious by nature and does not want to spend the whole day dozing out of boredom. Not only special breeds are permanently held indoors, in houses or apartments. Many cats live along streets with heavy traffic and would thus be endangered if let outside. Such cats, however, are also entitled to change in life. If a cat cannot make experiences because it is not allowed outdoors, its owner must ensure compensation. But how?
An interesting life indoors: There are three main possibilities to keep cats occupied and entertained: 1) every form of social contact (people, cats or dogs); 2) occupational activities derived from a cat’s natural hunting instinct; 3) observing the activities in its surroundings (windows, balconies, catios, catrees).
Needless to say you will see a lot of cat ladders all over Switzerland for cats to have access to the outdoors. Here is a small collection:
You can see my the cat ramp my husband built for a neighbor here.