How To Keep Your Cat Safe Outdoors?
While many people consider their cats to be perfectly happy house pets, some cats do enjoy the outdoors. If your cat is one of these, it’s crucial to understand the risks involved in taking your cat outside. Here are a few things to think about before cracking that door open!
Risk of injury:
Injuries can range from the minor (getting caught in a bramble bush or contracting worms) to the more serious (being hit by a car, attacked by another animal, or injured by a human).
Risk of disease:
If your cat isn't vaccinated, it's risky for them to venture outdoors. They could contract something like feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus from other cats in the area. Both diseases can be fatal.
Risk of parasites:
Even if your cat is vaccinated against major diseases, there are still many other health concerns. Fleas and ticks can carry several dangerous diseases like Lyme disease. Heartworms, which are transmitted through mosquitoes, can also affect felines.
8 Tips To Keep Your Cat Safe Outdoors
Now that you are aware of the potential dangers when letting or taking your cat outdoors, there are some precautions you can take to make sure your cat is safe.
Use a carrier
When taking your cat to the vet or moving to a new home with your cat, it will help if you put your kitty in a carrier as they might get scared or overstimulated in a large crowd or strange place. Your kitty can get spooked and run away, so keeping them confined is the safest way to prevent them from getting lost or hurt while outside. Even if you’re just taking your kitty out for a short walk, you should keep them in a carrier.
Microchip your cat
If your cat goes missing, microchipping is the best chance you have of getting them back. When someone finds your cat, they can take your kitty to an animal shelter and have them scanned for their microchip number, which contains all of your contact information. Most animal shelters will also check for microchips as part of their intake process.
Check the weather forecast
It is also best to avoid taking your cat outside if the temperature drops below freezing or rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). Make sure to avoid excessive heat and humidity because cats are at risk for heatstroke. If you plan on traveling with your cat in a car during warm weather, bring along bottled water or ice packs to cool the carrier when needed. Never leave your cat alone in a parked vehicle.
Supervise your cat when they roam around
There is a whole world of wildlife out there that will be new and exciting to your cat. But some creatures may pose a threat to your cat, such as dogs, foxes, or larger cats. Keep an eye on your kitty wherever they go so you'll know if any danger approaches.
Leash train your cat
Leash train your cat if you want them to enjoy the outdoors. Walking your kitty on a leash can give them fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and mental stimulation. It also keeps them away from potential dangers such as cars or other animals. It's best to start with short walks at first until your kitty is comfortable with it. Also, choose a harness over a collar since collars could get caught on things and strangle your cat if they try to bolt or climb up something.
Keep your vet records up-to-date
If you plan on traveling with your cat, make sure their vet records are current. You'll want to make sure that they've been vaccinated against common cat diseases like rabies and FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia). It's also a good idea to have your vet double-check the vaccination status if it's been more than a year to ensure all vaccinations are up-to-date.
Protect your cat from fleas & ticks
One of the best ways to keep your cat safe is by preventing fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks can carry illnesses like Lyme disease or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). They can also cause internal bleeding and other health issues. Talk to your vet about using a topical medication or chewable tablet that kills fleas before they bite your cat.
Keep toxic plants out of your cat's reach
Many plants are toxic to cats, and you must keep them out of reach. Even if your cat doesn't eat the plants directly, they could still ingest some toxins through their paws after stepping into the soil where the plants grow. Toxic plants can cause serious health issues, so if you suspect a plant may be affecting your cat negatively, remove it from their reach immediately.
There are risks that come with taking your cat outside. However, this should not be a reason to deprive your feline friend of the pleasurable activity of outdoor life. Instead, simply take the precautions necessary to ensure their outdoor excursions remain a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.