How to keep your outdoor cat safe

Despite the increasing evidence that cats should preferably be left indoors, many cat owners, whether by personal choice or after observing their cat's behavior, choose to allow their cats outside.

Many cat owners complain their indoor cats are lazy, or that outdoor cats suffer a lack of physical exercise if they're forced indoors during the winter.

Living outside the house

Gregory Hammer, DVM, former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, told Paw Nation that infections are the highest risk facing outdoor cats.

"The most common diseases to watch out for are distemper, leukemia and upper respiratory infection from contact with other cats," Hammer told the site.
Typically, outdoor cats face dangers within three categories: infection, trauma and parasites. The primary source of exposure is contact with other cats, which could lead to respiratory illnesses and feline leukemia. Rabies should not be overlooked either, also highly dangerous and potentially life-threatening for cats.

Keeping them safe

If you have an outdoor cat, it is imperative to maintain their vaccinations up to date to keep them safe, according to Hammer. Infections like distemper, rabies and leukemia are usually preventable with simple vaccines.

  • You can also try bringing your cat indoors at night to prevent them from running the risk of getting hit by cars or fighting with other wild animals.
  • In the winter, remember to knock on the hood of your car to make sure your cat – or your neighbor's – isn't snuggled up inside for warmth.
  • The best of both worlds ideally, you can train your cat to live both indoors and outdoors.  Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to train a cat with a leash and harness, according to Paw Nation. It's easiest to train them when they are kittens, but any cat can be trained.
  • Transitioning your cat to living indoors is also possible, if you provide her with scratch post and toys to play with, as well as taking time to play with her yourself. You could also bring home a second cat that she can play and hang out with.
  • The best way to give your cat what she wants while keeping her safe is to create a cat enclosure. This gives the cat an enclosed area where she is protected from wandering cats or other outdoor threats.  With enough space to move, climbing options and a rest area, your cat will be able to indulge her outdoor desires while you can rest assured she is protected from harm.

This content post is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.