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    • 03 Dec, 2020

    Keeping cats safe outdoors

    By taking some simple steps you can help your cat stay safe whether they prefer pottering around the garden or venturing further afield.

    Allowing your cat access outdoors is beneficial for exercise and mental stimulation. While it is possible to create a suitably enriched environment indoors, cats that have outside access are much less likely to suffer from behavioural problems than indoor cats. We spoke to our vet team to find out more.

    Neutering

    Not only is neutering your cat vital in order to prevent unwanted litters, it will also significantly reduce the risk of illness and injury when going outdoors. Neutering can reduce aggression between cats, making it much less likely that your cat will be involved in a fight. It’s important to avoid fighting as it can lead to painful injuries such as cat bite abscesses and is also the main cause of infection with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).

    Unneutered cats, particularly entire males, also tend to roam much further from home than neutered cats so are at a higher risk of getting lost or being involved in an accident on the roads.Vaccination and Parasite control

    While outdoors your cat will come into contact with other cats, so it is important that they are up to date with their vaccinations. We recommend that all cats are vaccinated against Feline viral rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus, the viruses that cause cat flu, and Feline panleukopenia. Cats that go outdoors should additionally be vaccinated against Feline leukaemia (FeLV).

    Outdoor cats are also more exposed to parasites such as fleas, ticks and worms so it is important to make sure that you are regularly using flea and worming treatments. We recommend getting flea and worming products from your vet to ensure you are purchasing a safe and effective product for your pet.

    “Ensuring your cat is neutered, up to date with preventative veterinary treatments and microchipped will give you additional reassurance whilst they are on their adventures and help keep them safer.”

    Justin Ainsworth

    Head Veterinary Surgeon

    Microchipping

    Microchipping your cat will greatly improve the chances of you being reunited with them should they go missing. If your cat were taken to a vets or rescue organisation, they would be able to scan your cat with a microchip reader and access your contact information from the microchip database.

    This is particularly important if your cat is injured as the vets will be able to contact you to allow you to make decisions about your pet’s treatment. A microchip is only of use if the contact details are correct so if you move house or change your phone number your should contact the microchip database to update your details.

    Staying safe after dark

    Cats are at a greater risk of being involved in a road traffic accident after dark. A reflective collar can help them to be more easily seen by road users but it is crucial that any collar has a safety clip that will snap open when pulled to prevent your cat from getting trapped or injured by the collar.

    It is safest to keep your cat inside overnight. Encourage your cat to come home by timing feedings with rush hour so that they are inside enjoying their food when the roads are at their busiest. You could use an automatic feeder to do these if it doesn’t fit in with your schedule. During the longer winter nights, it is a good idea to try and spend a little extra time playing with your cat indoors to make sure they are getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.

     

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