Inside Versus Outside Lifestyle For Your Cat
Know The Facts About Letting Your Cat Choose Their Indoor Versus An Outdoor Lifestyle
Whether you’ve just acquired a grand old cat or a feisty kitten, you’ve got to decide if you want to keep your feline indoors or let him roam outdoors. Learning what it takes to keep your cat healthy and happy outside can help you choose.
It’s easy to imagine kitty lounging at your feet, soaking up the sun. Anticipating the dangers outdoor cats face may not be so easy:
- Fights with other animals. You may not realize your kitty has wounds until he’s infected or possibly needs surgery. Fights often require a trip to the vet for bite wounds.
- Diseases. Outdoor cats are more susceptible to herpes (respiratory virus), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), rabies, intestinal parasites, and heartworms. They’re also at risk for serious infections like feline leukemia virus and feline immunosuppressive virus (feline AIDS). Bite wounds are not the only route of infection. Cat buddies grooming each other outside can transmit leukemia virus as well.
- Cars and other vehicles. Some studies estimate that cars strike as many as 5.4 million cats a year.
- Parasites. These include fleas, ticks, and worms.
- Poisons. These include antifreeze, bleach, fertilizers, herbicides, as well as insect and rodent bait.
Before you and your feline friend head outside, plan for your cat’s safety.
- Make an outdoor enclosure. These keep your cat safe and provide plenty of enjoyment. An enclosure can be small or large, and you can set it up to stand alone or attach to a house, balcony, or deck. The best enclosure for your cat depends on where you live, how much room you have, and how much you want to spend.
- Collar your cat. Always put a collar on your cat and attach ID tags. This helps others know your pet has a home and makes it easy for them to contact you. Be sure kitty’s collar has a “break away” feature. If your cat gets caught on a fence or branch, this type of collar snaps open.
- Microchip your pet. This permanent form of identification ensures that someone who finds your kitty can quickly return her. A vet checks for the ID embedded in your cat’s neck and scans it for your address.
- Keep vaccinations up-to-date. Discuss with our Vets which vaccines are most helpful for your outdoor cat’s health and how often she needs them. Follow through to protect your cat from diseases and infections.
- Medicate for fleas and ticks. All it takes is one flea to start your kitty biting and scratching, so apply flea and tick product before taking your cat outdoors.
Outdoor Fun for Indoor Cats
The great outdoors is a good way for your cat to get some exercise and release stress. In fact, cats that go outside sometimes have fewer behavior problems.
“Sunlight, fresh air, and outdoor exercise are important for cats’ well-being,” she says. Your indoor cat can enjoy a bit of the outdoors and stay safe with these feline-friendly ideas:
- Harness and leash training. With a little time and patience, leash training is another way to let your kitty get outside. Use a harness when leash training since cats can escape from simple collars when they’re spooked.
- Indoor window boxes and window perches . In several rooms of your house, set up window boxes and perches to give kitty some sunshine and fresh air.
- Outdoor window boxes are one of the latest crazes for owners who want their cat to have a safe outdoor experience. Many are DIY projects and can range from simple to elaborate, as the pictures illustrate. There are prefabricated versions available for purchase online that are easily installed. Cats will love them.
As you make your summer vacation plans, check with your kennel to see if they will be requiring the Canine Flu vaccine. Because of the time deadlines for Flu vaccination that several kennels have imposed, if your pet has had an examination at PSVC in the past six months and has no current medical problems, you can set up a Technician appointment to get the initial immunization and the boost injection two to four weeks later.
Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.
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