10 Tips To Keep Your Outdoor Cat Safe
People love cats! More than 95 million cats in the United States have places to call home. Though cats have been honored throughout history, domesticated cats didn't really become house cats until the middle of the last century. Most cats still love the outdoors, and they'll do what they can to get outside as much as possible, even if it's not safe. Here are 10 tips to keeping your outdoor cat safe, healthy, and happy.
1. Fix Your Cat
Spaying or neutering eliminates a cat's need to wander off and mate. This should reduce the time and distance he or she spends away from home.
2. Chip Your Cat
Every outdoor cat should have a collar with your contact information in case they get lost. But not all cats are willing to keep a collar on. Your next line of defense is to get him "chipped". A microchip with your contact information is inserted under your pet's skin (it's tiny and won't hurt him). If your cat wanders a little too far or he's in an accident, a vet or shelter will be able to scan the chip and call you.
3. Vital Vaccinations
Make sure your cat has his vaccinations updated regularly.
4. Important Appointments
Because outdoor cats are exposed to more elements than house cats, make sure your cat sees your vet fairly frequently. They're sneaky creatures, and there's a whole world of danger they're getting into that you don't know about. A vet will screen him for parasites (fleas, ticks, and worms) and infections that aren't detectable at a glance.
5. Harness Help
An alternative to an outdoor enclosure is to let your cat out on a leash. It takes time and training for a cat to get used to a leash, but once he does, you can take him on walks to satisfy his need to explore the outdoors and you'll be in control.
6. Day on the Town
If your cat is bound and determined to be outside to roam freely, only let him out during the day. Though they are nocturnal animals, our human world at night isn't suitable for our furry friends. They run the risk of being hit by cars or attacked by other nocturnal animals. Quick tip: make feeding time at dusk so they have a reason to come back before dark.
7. Combine The Indoors And Outdoors
If you have the means, create an outdoor enclosure for your cat. Ideally, it would be big enough that he doesn't feel trapped and can still enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. You can leave his food out there and give him comfortable cushions to make it cozy. If you can't do a full habitat, try putting his crate outside so he can still get the outdoor sensory stimulation he craves. This is the best of both worlds?he gets to be outside and you get peace of mind.
8. Pest Protection
Make sure to give your cat regular pest protection for things like fleas, lice, and heartworm. You can get these medicines over the counter, but ask your vet what's right for your cat.
9. Keep The Claws
Declawing cats is common because owners want to save their furniture and household items, but for fierce outdoor cats, it's what they rely on to defend themselves from other critters. Even if they are declawed, they won't know it and could end up unarmed in a fight with another animal.
10. Weather Restrictions
When the temperatures hit the extremes, keep your cat indoors. Though he thinks he can handle the heat or has a grip on the glacial temperatures, he may not be able to survive when it's too hot or too cold for an extended period.
We love our pets and while we want them to be happy, we also want to keep them around as long as we can. To do that, we have to keep them safe and use as much precaution as possible.