Outdoor cats the outdoor hazards
- Getting Lost
Cars, Dogs, and Predators
There are many outdoor dangers that free roaming cats must face. One of the most common dangers for outdoor cats is vehicles. An outdoor cat darting across the street is a perfect target for a moving vehicle, and cats that are hit by cars rarely survive. Another hazard is an unfriendly neighbourhood dog. Dogs can inflict life-threatening injuries on cats, especially those who have learned to be trusting towards dogs. Predators such as coyotes and raccoons are hazards that many pet parents forget about in the city, but predators are not just found in the country. In many areas, wild animals are not only potential predators, but also possible carriers of disease.
Cats and People
Don’t forget about dangers from other cats. Intact male cats tend to be especially prone to territorial fights with other cats. If your cat gets into a territorial fight with another cat and is bitten, it could result in the spread of disease or a painful abscess, with a need for veterinary care. Always check your cat for painful lumps and bumps. Other types of injury or cruelty may also be inflicted by a person who does not like cats. Cats have been known to have been injured by angry neighbours who dislike cats digging in their gardens or hunting birds.
Diseases and Parasites
Diseases can pose a big risk for outdoor cats. Contact with wild animals and other cats can result in the transmission of life-threatening diseases such as feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, or even rabies. Be sure that your cat is current on all recommended vaccines. Your veterinarian can determine which vaccines are recommended for your cat’s lifestyle. The risk of infestations with fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, and other parasites increases in outdoor cats.
Poisons pose a very real danger to outdoor cats. Although you may have “cat-proofed” your outdoor area, others may not have, and your cat could be exposed to toxic substances such as antifreeze or pesticides. Poisons meant to control pests such as rat poison or slug bait can also poison other animals who ingest them. It is also important to remember that if your cat ingests an animal such as a mouse that was poisoned, your cat can be poisoned by ingesting that mouse.
Weather conditions can change abruptly and become harsh with little warning. Your cat could experience frostbite in the winter or dehydration and heat stroke in the summer. If your cat is outdoors, be sure she has shelter from the elements as well as food and water available at all times.
Your cat could be trapped in a building, stolen, taken to an animal shelter, or adopted by someone who found her roaming in their yard. Many cities have laws against stray animals, including cats. Make sure you keep identification with current contact information on your cat at all times.