(Photo above) Coty inside the door watching Chanel#5--the stray kitty
Cat safety and health seem to provoke a debate among cat owners about whether it's better to let your cat come and go....inside and out...or to keep them indoors. In our case, we have 4 indoor cats that are kept inside and 2 cats that is allowed out on a controlled basis.
Max, our large black cat, is allowed out for a half hour in the morning (he sometimes stretches that to an hour in good weather) and a few 15 minute ventures outside in the evening...but he's not allowed out after dark. Giorgio, our youngest newcomer to the household, is allowed out most of the daylight hours but his curfew is 5 p.m.
It took a while to train Max by not feeding him until he returned home and being sure he hadn't eaten before he left. He pretty much has a pattern now although there have been a few times he frustrated us by not coming home when he should. For the most part, it works well for Max, Giorgio and for us. We keep cat safety in mind so we have also made sure they wear a collar with our phone number and they have microchips. Details: Lost and Found Cats.
Max and Giorgio are neutered and have had all their shots to help protect them from diseases and they get their monthly "Revolution" flea treatment. A few times one of them has come home with a dead bird they've caught or a dead mouse.
They bring them to us as gifts which freaks me out but at least that's the exception not the norm. However, whereas the other cats feel safer inside because they were all strays with rough beginnings, Max and Giorgio simply climb the walls and holler if they can't go out.
We conceded but taught them for cat safety that if they kept the outdoor visits brief, they could continue to go out. Max has been smart enough keep his end of the bargain, with a few lapses...Giorgio is allowed out longer because he's so much younger and full of energy.
Cat safety is important to all of us who have cats. You've made an investment in vet visits and the emotional bond you've formed with your buddy. Details: Cat Happiness.
One time we were waiting for a cab to take us to the airport very early in the morning. While taking suitcases onto the porch in preparation, Max managed to get past us. He's also smart enough to know the signals of our exit and he knew he'd be inside for a week or more because my girlfriend that comes to check on them and feed them daily doesn't let him out. Well, we called him and called him but didn't see him.
The cab came and we had to leave him outside. He normally sits patiently at the door waiting to be let back in after his little stroll, marking his territory, so I made a quick phone call from the airport to my girlfriend who drove over to the house to let him in.....so the system isn't perfect. Details: Holiday Cat Comfort
Outdoor cats are at risk for tapeworms, fleas, and urinary tract infections so for cat safety purposes take precautions like being alert for fleas etc. There's also a possibility of exposure to toxoplasmosis if your cat is catching wild rodents. There are an increasing number of incidents of coyotes and raccoons having altercations with cats outside.
Fighting with another cat can also happen. Once Max didn't want to go out for a few days and his appetite had dropped off so I knew something was wrong with him.
We looked him over and saw he had a running eye so we investigated closer. His cheek was sort of swollen and as I prodded at it he squealed a little. A bit of pus oozed out so... off we were to the vet. He had a claw nail from another cat lodged in his cheek that was festering.
The vet cleaned him up and he was put on antibiotics. Max is tough but probably no match for a feral cat who knows how to fight well. Max healed but it was a reminder of the dangers that lurk outside when cat safety is lacking.
Cats face additional outdoor dangers like raccoons and coyotes, to name a few. Details: Cat Outdoor Dangers. And there is always the unexpected that you are usually not prepared for, but with a little planning you could be....Details: Cat Emergency Disasters.
Other dangers are bone fractures or death from a car accident, toxins such as rat poison that a neighbor may have outside, ingesting antifreeze from a nearby driveway, and chemicals on a neighbors lawn that get ingested when your cat licks his paws.
Amazon has a variety of cat cages that help ensure cat safety so you might consider letting your indoor cat be outside in good weather. They love to sniff the air and all those small molecules in the air tell them a story of who is in the neighborhood, or who was recently.
Although we think our cats are safe inside you still have to "cat proof" your home to keep them safe. Be sure there are no breakable objects your cat can knock down and get cut by the shards. Keep all cleaning product bottles and poisons out of reach and locked up as you would for a child.
My cat, Coty, drives me crazy with her ability to open drawers on my desk and also open cupboards. Wipe up spills immediately. If your cat walks through something toxic, he's fastidious enough to lick it off his paws and ingest it. Also watch for allergic reactions to carpet fresheners. Be alert to your cat displaying discomfort when it's hot in the house. Details: Cat Comfort.
Be sure that houseplants are non-poisonous. Be sure that all electrical outlets are covered and the cords are taped down so the cat can't chew them. Keep string and yarn out of reach. Drapery cords are another form of string so put them out of reach as well.
If you plan a home renovation or are considering painting one of your rooms, please read Cats and Construction. There are a few tips to help you prepare and protect your pets.
This is a big one! Don't leave washer and dryer doors open! Cats are attracted to warm places and that's an invitation to disaster.
See Coty below...in the dryer...and a second time...in the washer! I didn't pose her there, she is just one of those cats that gets into everything. I just run for the camera.