When you have a pet, you inevitably want what’s best for them. You want to ensure that they lead a high-quality lifestyle and are comfortable, content, healthy, and happy at all times. There are certain decisions in pet ownership that are extremely easy to make. You don’t have to put all too much thought into them when determining what’s best for your pet. We all know that you should provide the best quality food that you can afford as opposed to whatever comes cheapest. We know that a trip to the vets is necessary when your pet experiences illness or injury rather than riding the experience out and simply hoping that your four-legged friend just so happens to improve by chance.
However, sometimes issues arise where the evidence on both sides of the fence can appear equally compelling, making decisions difficult. When it comes to cat ownership, one such decision is whether to keep your cat indoors at all times or whether to let them roam free on the streets, only to return at night or in bad weather. The main arguments for letting your cat out tend to be letting them follow their natural instincts, giving them the freedom to exercise as much as they like, and allowing them the opportunity to socialize with other animals. While, at the end of the day, this decision is entirely down to your personal preferences and discretion, it’s good to be aware of some of the problems that can come hand in hand with leaving your cat to stray outdoors. Here are some to consider.
Fleas and Ticks
Cats who roam outdoors are also more likely to come into contact not only with other cats who may be carrying ticks and fleas, but also other forms of wildlife who may be harboring these pests. Fleas and ticks can pose a serious threat to your cat. Their bits can cause allergic reactions or hypersensitivity which means that as long as the parasites are living on your kitty’s body, they’re like to be in discomfort or pain. What’s more? They pose a threat to your pet’s health. They survive by drinking their host’s blood which could result in anemia, a condition where your cat is losing blood faster than they can produce new blood to replace it.
The bites can also trigger conditions such as dermatitis. There’s also the possibility that the fleas on your cat will carry tapeworm which causes further issues for your pet. When it comes to ticks, your cat can contract feline diseases that the creatures have passed on from other ill cats, such as the notorious Lyme disease, haemobartonellosis, tularemia, and cytauxzoonosis. You may initially be unaware that your cat has these parasites living on them, as they are skilled groomers and clean up mess through licking and nibbling, but this doesn’t entirely eradicate the presence of fleas and ticks.
Your best bet for protecting your cat should you let them roam outdoors is to provide them with preventative flea and tick treatments like those supplied by PetAction. These treatments have two active ingredients (Fipronil and S-methoprene) which serve as insecticides and insect growth inhibitors (or IGRs) that rid your cat of live fleas and ticks and stunt the growth of eggs or immature parasites too. They are even effective for pregnant or lactating cats! Just remember to check with your vet before use if you have any concerns, or after use if you believe that your cat is experiencing some sort of negative effects or reaction.
This one tends to go for female cats in particular. When you allow your female cat out of the house, it’s highly likely that they will end up mating with male cats from the local area. While this isn’t necessarily problematic in and of itself, the trouble that comes hand in hand with an unwanted feline pregnancy can be dramatic. Every year, thousands of cats are brought into shelters because the mother cat has ended up having kittens that the owner is unable to support or simply doesn’t want. This often results in euthanasia. If you don’t want kittens but want your female cat to go outdoors, the solution is simple. Neuter your cat as soon as possible! This will prevent problems in pregnancy and birthing for your own cat, as well as reducing the number of strays or homeless cats looking for homes. If you have a male cat who goes outdoors, you can also help to tackle this problem by neutering him too. Not only will this aid the general situation, but it will reduce your tom cat’s chances of injury through fighting for female cats’ attention.
There are many more threats in the outside world than there tend to be within your own home. While house cats tend to be relatively safe at most times, cats who roam outdoors are prone to coming into trouble with traffic, people, wild animals, dogs, and other cats. The world can be an extremely dangerous place. While there’s not a whole lot that you can do to prevent injury unless you have an eye on your cat always, there is a way that you can be contacted should your pet come into harm’s way. This could help you to find them and get them the help that they need as quickly as possible. First, you should ensure that your pet has a collar and name tag on at all times. The name tag should detail your pet’s name, your address, and your telephone number. This means that if someone finds them, they will be able to get in touch and decide for you to pick your kitty up. Name tags, however, aren’t always necessarily reliable. Collars can break or nametags can drop off. So you should also ensure that your pet is microchipped. This microchip can be scanned to reveal your contact details.
As you can see, there are various problems that come hand in hand with allowing your cat to roam outdoors. However, with proper preparation, you can help to reduce the risks that are posed to your cat’s safety, happiness, and wellbeing when spending time outside of your home. While you relinquish some control over your pet when you leave them to their own devices, you can help to reduce risk by taking in the above advice and following the suggested precautionary steps
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