Generally speaking, it is better to keep a cat indoors rather than outdoors. However, there are some cat owners out there who insist on keeping their cat outdoors for one reason or another. As a result, said individuals should make sure that they have made the preparations needed to keep their outdoor cat safe. Here are some suggestions for protecting an outdoor cat:
Provide the Cat with Proper ID
There is no guarantee that the cat owner’s efforts will be enough to prevent the cat from wandering off. As a result, it is a good idea to provide the cat with proper ID so that strangers will know who the cat owner is. This means both a safety collar and an ID tag because redundancy provides extra assurance if the cat wanders off. Something that is particularly important because cat owners should be using breakaway safety collars to prevent strangulation as well as other potential injuries.
Microchip the Cat
On a related note, the value of redundancy cannot be stressed enough, which is why cat owners should have their cat microchipped. By doing so, they ensure that whoever comes upon their cat can get in touch with them. Of course, if cat owners choose to microchip their cat, they need to make sure to keep their contact information up-to-date to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
Don’t Declaw an Outdoor Cat
One should never declaw a cat. After all, it isn’t comparable to cutting a person’s nails. Instead, it is much closer to amputating a person’s fingertips, which is why a declawed cat can exhibit a wide range of problematic behaviors. For example, a declawed cat has a higher chance of developing arthritis because the declawing forces them to change the way that they walk, thus putting increased pressure on places that shouldn’t be pressured. Likewise, a declawed cat can become averse to using litter boxes because it is going to associate it with the pain that they feel whenever they dig in the litter. Having said that, the worst part is that a declawed cat loses its main source of defense. Yes, they can still bite. However, biting requires them to get into much closer range, thus making it a much more dangerous option than clawing.
Outdoor cats are exposed to more pathogens on a more regular basis. Due to this, it is a good idea for cat owners to make sure that their cat is up-to-date when it comes to their vaccinations. Fortunately, interested individuals should have no problem getting a recommended schedule from their veterinarian, thus making it that much easier for them to remain up-to-date. Some cat owners might be tempted to skip the vaccines because they assume that their cat will be protected by herd immunity. However, they can’t guarantee that their outdoor cat won’t come into contact with feral cats without regular access to healthcare. For that matter, they can’t really count on their neighbors keeping their cats up-to-date with their vaccinations because people just aren’t as diligent with this issue as they should be.
Remove Potential Hazards in the Yard
A yard can contain a surprising number of potential hazards for outdoor cats. For instance, there is a fair number of plants that are harmless to humans but not so harmless to cats. One excellent example would be lillies, which are quite capable of killing an outdoor cat if they are careless enough to consume such flowers. Besides toxic plants, interested individuals should also be careful about their choice of fertilizer as well as the tools and supplies that they leave lying around. Suffice to say that cats have been known to swallow loose nails, which can have very bad consequences for their internals.
Don’t Give an Outdoor Cat Free Rein
It might be better for cat owners to put their outdoor cat in a controlled environment where they cannot do as they please, thus reducing the risk of them running into something dangerous. For example, a harness with a bungee leash can be a good way to provide a cat with a measure of freedom without letting them wander off. However, since cats can be averse to wearing harnesses, cat owners might want to spend some time getting them used to doing so indoors via treats and other forms of positive reinforcement. Likewise, other cat owners might want to build some kind of enclosed space to prevent cats from escaping. Generally speaking, this means that the barrier should be strong enough to keep out animals that can threaten the cat as well as prevent the cat from getting out. Furthermore, there should be a solid bottom so that the cat can’t get out that way.
Befriend the Neighbors
Friendly neighbors can do a lot to help interested individuals keep their outdoor cats safe. As a result, it is a good idea for cat owners to befriend their neighbors so that said individuals will help them keep a watchful eye on their cat for them.
Should You Be Keeping Your Cat Outdoors?
On a final note, cat owners really shouldn’t be keeping their cat outdoors unless they have to for whatever reason. To a considerable extent, this is because cats face a wide range of dangers in the outside world, with examples ranging from predators to moving vehicles. As a result, it isn’t a coincidence that outdoor cats tend to have shorter lives than their indoor counterparts, which can stay safe and sound in a protective environment. Besides this, it should also be remembered that cats can have a very negative impact on the local environment. Basically, they are very good at killing small birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, so much so that their presence can cause the numbers of local species to plummet. In the long run, this can have catastrophic results because every niche in an ecosystem is connected, meaning that the devastation of one niche can have serious consequences for those that are either reliant upon it or connected to it in some other manner. Something that can be very problematic in the long run because we are not immune to the problems that can arise from such occurrences.