Cats' independent nature can leave pet owners worried about their safety. Read on to learn about ways to keep your indoor cat safe from outside dangers.
One of my favorite things about cats is their curious and independent nature. We’ve all heard that notorious saying about curiosity and cats. Many cat owners hesitate to let their indoor cats go outside and prefer they stay indoors. Being an indoor cat really has many benefits for longevity, safety, and health. However, when it comes to cats, these curious little rascals always keep us on our toes, so expect the unexpected! What happens one day when your curious indoor cat ventures outside? Keeping outdoor cats safe from predators is hard, but here are some ways you can keep them safe outdoors.
#1 Who is this cat?
First things first! Make sure your cat has the proper identification. An ID tag on their collar with your contact info is crucial in case your cat gets lost, and someone else finds them. A collar is an important tool in keeping track of your cat, and even though they may not enjoy wearing it at first, your cat will need to get used to the feeling. You may even need to train them. Your cat’s collar should properly fit them and have a breakaway mechanism. A cat wearing a collar also visually signals that this cat has a home and a family, which in turn, means it's less likely to be “adopted” by a neighbor or someone who thinks your cat doesn’t have a home.
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#2 Make sure they’re spayed or neutered
This one is a must before your cat goes outside. Spaying or neutering your cat helps prevent any unwanted pregnancies, diseases spread through mating, fighting with other community cats, and even running away. In some countries, spaying, and neutering your cat is mandatory, so be sure to check local laws before letting your indoor cat explore the outside.
#3 Is your cat up to date on their vaccines?
Wondering why cats need to be vaccinated? Domestic cats who go outside are more likely to be exposed to gnarly viruses like the flu and nasty pests like fleas and worms. Sometimes these viruses can be fatal, so having an up-to-date vaccination record is very important before you let them venture outside! Be sure to discuss what vaccines for kittens and additional protections your cat may need with their veterinarian to address any potential concerns.
#4 What is the environment like?
Before opening that door, have you considered the environment beyond and what your cat may encounter? Are you about to let them explore your vast, enclosed backyard or a small patio with a few plants scattered about? Do you live near a busy intersection or highway? Is there a neighboring predator who could threaten your cat? Always consider the environment before opening that door.
#5 Make sure they have enough cat food and water
Whether you, as a cat owner, live in a small apartment in a big city, in a quiet suburban home, or even on a farm with tons of land for your domesticated cat to roam free, make sure you provide them with enough cat food and water. Cats who explore the outside will definitely get more physical activity than those who stay indoors. Make sure they have a well-rounded and balanced cat diet that adequately suits the amount of energy they burn on their outdoor explorations. PrettyPlease cat food is a great option to ensure your feline friend gets the minerals and nutrients they need to stay energetic, healthy, and strong - indoors or outside!
#6 Watch out for toxic plants!
The outside world is full of surprises, and to avoid unnecessary, scary surprises, beware of any outside (and indoor) plants and their possible toxicity to community cats. Many toxic plants and toxic foods for cats can cause damage to the liver and even death. Some toxic plants to watch out for include: azaleas, rhododendrons, oleanders, tulips, narcissus, Spanish thymes, and English ivies.
#7 Where is your cat?
Just as essential as spaying and neutering your domesticated cat is, so is keeping track of them. Getting them a GPS tracker for their collar will keep your peace of mind as well as keep track of where they’ve been and where they are. There are plenty of GPS trackers on the market that really get the job done.
#8 Do they know their way back home?
Outdoor cats who know their way home, stay nearby, and come home regularly are usually safer than those who don’t. You can positively reinforce this behavior by using treats, calling their name, and whistling when it’s time to come home.
#9 Build them a cat enclosure!
Another really good way to let your indoor cat safely explore the outside world is
to build them a cat enclosure or DIY cat house like a “catio.” These are usually small enclosures in a backyard that safely allow your cat to explore. When creating a “catio” or cat enclosure for your little one, consider the following: claw-resistant mesh, strategically placed scratch posts, pads, cat trees, various shelf heights for optimal views, and different sizes of enclosed spaces.
All in all, even though many hesitate to allow their indoor cats to venture outside, it’s generally safe as long you’ve taken stock of the outside environment and have taken the proper precautions against viruses and other potential risks that lurk around the corner. Check out the PrettyLitter blog for more great tips, tricks, and insights on how to keep your furry friends healthy and happy!