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New Contributor
Lynnsfurrypets
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎08-16-2013

What is the best way to keep an outdoor cat safe and healthy?

I have a super sweet outdoor cat (husband's deathly allergic or he'd be an indoor cat).  We've had our cat neutered, chipped and all of his shots.  He lives on our front porch, has a bed, a fan in the summer and an enclosed shelter in the winter.  He's very loved!  But I worry about his safety and all the nasty critters he kills and brings us partially eaten...any advice from fellow cat owners, particularly outdoor cat owners, is appreciated!

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Frequent Contributor
PetCareRX-Susie
Posts: 118
Registered: ‎07-13-2013

Re: What is the best way to keep an outdoor cat safe and healthy?

Hi and welcome Lynn! :cathappy:

 

Did you rescue the cat from outside?  I assume he was tested before all his shots? I understand your concerns.

I know our awesome moderator Amy, a cat person herself, will weigh in on this as well.  

 

I just wanted to welcome you. 

I'm so happy you have joined our PetCareRx community.

 

Again Welcome,

 

~Susie

PetCareRx Community Manager
Pet Parent to 3 dogs, Belle, Beau and Eli Manning (yup, Eli Manning) And my African Grey parrot, Abby.
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Community Manager
PetCareRx-Amy
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎07-13-2013

Re: What is the best way to keep an outdoor cat safe and healthy?

[ Edited ]
Welcome! All of our cats are indoor pets these days, but I've "adopted" a few ferals/strays in the past, who have lived outside.

You mentioned vaccines, which are definitely important for protecting outdoor kitties from things like feline leukemia and rabies, but you didn't mention whether or not you use a flea/parasite control product as well. My vet recommended Revolution, since it kills heartworm and other parasites, in addition to fleas and ticks. If you're not using a parasite control product, talk to your vet.

My outdoor cats also used to contract other parasites, like ringworm, for which there is no preventative treatment. And, of course, they'd periodically get into scrapes. I adopted a stray tomcat years ago who was the love of my life. He feared nothing and hated every living thing but me. He used to chase dogs several times his size and pick fights with raccoons. He had a tail that must have been broken at some point in his life, because it was permanently bent, and his ears were tattered into shreds. But even cats less ornery than that one can be injured or pick up diseases outside. It's not possible to prevent that without keeping the cat indoors, but it is possible to inspect the cat regularly to make sure any parasites are treated and any injuries are promptly tended to, so that cuts don't become infected or appendages permanently bent.

And finally, yes, my outdoor cats would bring home mice, voles, chipmunks, birds... Again, I don't know of a way to prevent that, short of keeping the cat indoors. Aside from concerns about the local wildlife, I'd worry about the cat potentially ingesting toxins, whether by eating a harmful plant or a poisoned rodent or lapping up an antifreeze leak.

As far as snacking on local wildlife goes, a collar with a bell may help to warn potential prey your cat is coming, although cats can also be pretty stealthy, even with a bell on. A breakaway collar is safest, and you can find a guide to breakaway collars here on PerCareRx: http://www.petcarerx.com/article/the-best-cat-breakaway-collars-and-special-collars/943 Other than that, I think the best we can do is take any "prizes" away from the cat, keep a watchful eye out for illness, and call the vet if the cat becomes sick.

For further tips on specific products, see our article on supplies for keeping outdoor cats safe and healthy: http://www.petcarerx.com/article/supplies-for-keeping-outdoor-cats-safe-and-healthy/820

I hope you and your cat enjoy many more happy, healthy years together!
--Amy
PetCareRx Community Manager
Pet Parent to cats Miles, Mickey, and Paris
Temporary Foster Parent to kittens Dandelion and Snapdragon
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New Contributor
Lynnsfurrypets
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎08-16-2013

Re: What is the best way to keep an outdoor cat safe and healthy?

Wow, Amy, thanks for the thoughtful reply!! We are big fans of the flea/heartworm monthly treatment too!  Great advice, really appreciate it.

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New Contributor
Lynnsfurrypets
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎08-16-2013

Re: What is the best way to keep an outdoor cat safe and healthy?

Yes, he showed up one day about  5 months ago -  with a collar, no chip, no  contact info - we put up signs, posted to facebook - he brought us a squirrel one day, and a morning dove the next - we knew that was his way of adopting us.  

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Community Manager
PetCareRx-Amy
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎07-13-2013

Re: What is the best way to keep an outdoor cat safe and healthy?

So happy I could help! The very first cat I ever owned just showed up in our yard one day and adopted us, just like yours, only minus the collar. She stayed with us as an outdoor cat for her entire long, happy life. I love it when cats just know they humans they want.

--Amy
PetCareRx Community Manager
Pet Parent to cats Miles, Mickey, and Paris
Temporary Foster Parent to kittens Dandelion and Snapdragon
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