There’s no denying it: cats have an independent spirit. Recent study suggest about 45 percent of pet cats in America spend most of their time outdoors. Pet owners who have cats that like to roam need to take these tips seriously to ensure their fuzzy friend always makes it home safely.
Get the Right Vaccines
Since outdoor cats are more likely to come in contact with bugs, toxins, bacteria, and other animals, it makes sense that they require more vaccinations than indoor cats. Which vaccinations your cat needs depends on many factors, including your location, your cat’s overall health, and how long your cat stays outdoors. Regardless of these factors, however, all cats should get vaccinated for rabies, feline calicivirus, and feline viral rhinotracheitis. Outdoor cats usually require additional shots for diseases like chlamydia, leukemia, and bordetella. Of course, talk with your vet to better understand what your cat needs to stay healthy wherever they are.
Spay or Neuter Your Cat
You’ve probably already heard how important it is to spay or neuter your pets. This is especially true for cats that like to roam outside. Cats who have this procedure done tend to stay closer to home and don’t take as many risks as cats who aren’t spayed or neutered. As long as your cat is over 5 months, you can schedule a spaying or neutering procedure with a local vet.
Invest in a GPS Tracker
You’ll never fret about the location of your furry friend if you implant a microchip into him/her. Nowadays, these incredible microchips are smaller than a grain of rice, yet they can contain all of your contact information in case your pet gets lost. There are even a few companies that offer GPS tracking with these microchips. Since these microchips are becoming increasingly common, most animal shelters can scan for them. If you don’t feel comfortable implanting a microchip into your pet, then at least be sure s/he always wears a collar with your contact info on it. Additionally, there are many GPS trackers that can attach to collars. With a little research, your cat’s location can be accessed anytime.
Trim Tree Branches
Usually, cats have no problem climbing up a tree—it’s the getting down part that confuses them. The best way to prevent this from happening to your cat is to invest in tree care including pruning, trimming, and so on. With fewer branches to latch onto, it’s more unlikely your cat will ever get stuck up a tree.
If, however, you discover your cat one day nervously meowing on a branch, the best thing to do is remain calm. Oftentimes cats can physically get down, but they are too afraid to try. So, if you’re nervous in front of the cat, it’s less likely s/he will have enough confidence to climb down. There are many ways you can convince your cat to climb down. Common strategies include leaning something against the tree, like a ladder, for the cat to use to climb down; sending a cat carrier up into the tree for the cat to climb into; and tempting them with fragrant treats they enjoy. If these strategies don’t work, consult a nearby vet’s office or rescue for help and advice.
People who live in colder areas need to provide their cat with a warm, outdoor shelter or ways to return indoors. Just like humans, cats that stay outside for long periods of time run the risk of suffering from hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration and more. If you can’t afford a fancy outdoor home option for your cat, then you could use a wooden box with plenty of insulation. For those who live in warmer areas, provide your cat with a safe, shady retreat so s/he won’t be tempted to sit under the car to cool off.
If your cat splits their time between the outdoors and indoors and enjoys moving freely between the two, you may want to consider a cat-friendly door flap or opening. Many high-tech options these days come with collar attachments that can help make sure only your cat can enter your home.
While there are risks to owning an outdoor cat, if your cat enjoy the great outdoors, it’s worth it to invest in their safety. By following the strategies listed above, you can let your cat wander around your neighborhood without fear.