Cat owners debate over whether letting their cat out is the right choice. Outdoor cats are exposed to wild animals (prey species like fisher/coyotes/fox), disease, and automobile traffic. It’s important to think through how you can best protect your adventurous cat so they can be as safe as possible in the great outdoors.
Risks for Your Outdoor Cat
The outdoor environment is unpredictable and exposes your cat to additional risks. In deciding whether to allow your cat outdoors, it is imperative that you consider the risks. Many people create a screened enclosure that gives their cat the best of both worlds without the risk of unrestricted access to the outdoors. If you choose to allow your cat outside, or they simply will not stay inside, consider the following important information:
- Current vaccination status (against Rabies, Feline Distemper, Upper Respiratory viruses & Feline Leukemia virus)
- Parasite control (Heart Worm, Intestinal Worms, Fleas, Ticks & Ear mites)
- Identification (collar with ID and, ideally, microchip) in case they lose their way
Access to shelter, food and water are vital. Whether this be by admittance to the house through a cat door, or with outside food and watering stations. Be mindful of the time of year. Weather is not the only factor. In the spring, neighborhood cats expand territories and females come into heat. This can put your cat at increased risk for cat fights.
Spaying or neutering your outdoor cat is highly recommended. Cats that are not altered likely will reproduce, and are a huge contributing factor to pet overpopulation.
For more information about feral cats, visit the Humane Society’s website HERE.