Outdoor Safety Precautions for Cats
When you become a cat owner, you will need to make the decision whether to let your beloved furbaby become an outdoor or indoor feline. Some people like to keep their cats firmly indoors at all times where they can control the environment and ensure her safety. However, cats are roamers by nature and most are happy to have the opportunity to explore their territory and satisfy their curious and independent nature.
Unsurprisingly, there are a great many more dangers affecting outdoor cats – from traffic and roads to predators, parasites and even poisons.
As a caring and responsible cat owner, you will want to do everything that you can to make sure that your outdoor feline stays as safe as possible when she is exploring the neighborhood.
Here are our top tips for safety precautions that you should take for your outdoor cat.
Parasite infestations are one problem that most cat owners expect to experience at least once during their feline’s lifetime. Fleas and ticks are two of the most prevalent parasites affecting domestic animals in the U.S. Parasites survive by feeding on the blood of their host. Flea infestations are very hard to deal with since these microscopic creatures reproduce very quickly, and they are just as happy to feed on humans as animals. Ticks are more visible, and tend to attach to cats by dropping onto them from branches and leaves.
Fortunately, there are plenty of preventative treatments that you can purchase that will protect your kitty from parasites. In many cases, flea and tick preventatives are combined into one, simple to use, treatment. Most are only effective for a set period of time before they require being topped up, and it is important to adhere to this schedule of administration otherwise your cat could be left vulnerable to parasite infestations.
Make sure she is up to date with her vaccinations
Vaccines are essential part of your cat’s preventative healthcare program and most vets will speak to you about their importance when you attend your kitty’s annual health check. There are a variety of infectious diseases that can affect our felines, some of which can be serious or even deadly. Vaccinations are designed to prevent our cats from contracting these diseases, and from passing them on to other animals – a situation which, if many are unprotected, could lead to widespread numbers of pets suffering.
Speak to our veterinarian about the advised vaccination schedule for your cat and make sure that you adhere to it. Like parasite preventatives, each vaccine is only effective for a period of time before further doses are required.
Get her microchipped
If you are letting your cat outdoors, you need to open yourself to the possibility that at some point during her lifetime, she may become lost. If this happens, you can significantly increase the likelihood of her being returned to you by ensuring that she is microchipped.
In the past, a collar and ID tag was considered sufficient identification for a pet to be returned to their owner. However, this method is far from tamper-proof and someone could remove them if they so wanted. In many other cases, tags have fallen off and left an animal with no identification at all. Pet microchipping eliminates these issues by providing your cat with a permanent, tamper-proof form of identification. The microchip is implanted under her skin in a quick and painless procedure, and on it is a unique reference number that can be read when the chip is scanned by an RFID reader. This reference number can then be used to find your contact details, so that whoever finds your cat can let you know she has been recovered and where you can collect her.
No-one likes to think about their furbaby passing away, but the fact is that outdoor cats do not live as long as indoor felines – largely because of the additional dangers that they face. In the unfortunate even that your kitty passes away while outside of your home, if she is microchipped and her body is found, you can still be contacted so that you can collect her, bury or cremate her if desired and grieve for your loss. Many owners find that this closure is very important for them.
Don’t declaw your cat
There is still some debate over the suitability of declawing cats. However, what is not up for debate is the recommendation by vets that you should never let a cat outside that doesn’t have claws. The main reason for this is that your kitty cannot defend herself should the need arise. She will also struggle to climb and jump as she should, since she doesn’t have the claws to grip and stabilize herself.
Putting her outside with no claws will cause her to feel incredibly vulnerable, and she could be at risk of attack from other animals. If you intend on having an outdoor cat, do not even consider declawing her.
Make sure he/she has been neutered
Finally… there is a massive overpopulation of animals currently living in shelters. You can take a very responsible step by ensuring that your kitty doesn’t contribute to the overpopulation crisis either by impregnating another cat or becoming pregnant herself. Kittens might be cute, but they are hard work, expensive to feed and there are already far too many in the U.S. without loving homes. By getting your cat’s reproductive organs removed, you can do a small part in helping reduce the overpopulation of pets.
And if you needed another reason – spaying/neutering animals reduces undesirable behaviors such as urine spraying and aggressiveness and eliminates the likelihood of your cat suffering from certain male/female cancers.
Schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable veterinary team and contact us today to learn more!