Is it safe to let your cat roam free?
Have a kitty that loves the outdoors? Here are a few dangers to be cautious of when letting your feline roam free.
If you are one to leave your kitty roaming free outside, you may want to be a bit concerned for him walking the streets. Since cats are smaller in size, and some in dark shades, a car may not see him sprint across the road in time. If your cat must be an outdoorsman, teach him to stay in your yard or on the sidewalk. Catbegood.com has an excellent guide to train your cat to behave well outside.
The environment can be a very dangerous place for a free-roaming cat. The ingestion of dangerous chemicals, poisons, and pesticides can prove fatal to any animal, especially a cat. Chlorine, a regular substance in sewer water, can cause many health problems, including infection and lowered immune systems. Rats and birds are also very dangerous to an outdoor cat as they are the carrier of many diseases and viruses.
Another danger for your cat when walking outdoors is the concern of other animals. While your cat may be a very good hunter with built-in defense mechanisms, she may not be able to overcome an animal that is stronger and larger than her. Not only can another feline be dangerous for your cat, but dogs and wild animals may have a vendetta against a free roaming kitty. The injuries sustained from another animal can be fatal, so ensure that you're checking on your outdoor kitty often.
A large concern with an outside cat is your neighbors. Some may not be very cat friendly, while others may be a little too friendly. If you want your cat to live outdoors, have a chat with your adjoining neighbors and other people on your street. Make sure they won't have a problem if the cat goes in their yard, garage, or home, and ask if they've heard about any animal cruelty in your area. Also, think about getting a microchip in case your cat gets snatched.
Perhaps the largest concern with an outdoor cat is the possibility of catching a fatal disease. Feline Leukemia Virus is caught through bite wounds or when sharing food or water with a cat who is already infected by the disease. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is amongst the most popular diseases for tomcats and outdoor cats and is spread through the bloodstream. Both are fatal and can be easily prevented by keeping your kitty's vaccinations current.
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Want to keep you kitty inside and free from dangers? The Humane Society has a few tips on training your kitty to stay home.