Do you let your feline companions go outside on a regular basis? Perhaps you adopted – or half-adopted – a local kitten? While we always recommend keeping Fluffy indoors, we understand that some of our feline friends love to explore the great outdoors. Others may have never been used to living indoors. In this article, a veterinarian offers tips for keeping an outdoor cat happy and healthy.
Like any animal, Fluffy needs good food to grow. Kibbles are probably your best bet since they last longer than canned foods. However, you don’t want to leave too much food out, as this could attract mice and other vermin. If possible, feed your cat indoors.
Clean water is a basic need for all animals. Your four-legged friend should always have clean water available. You’ll need to clean your cat’s water bowl regularly so dust and germs don’t accumulate there.
Fluffy may have a fur coat but that doesn’t provide complete protection from the elements. You should bring your cat in when the weather is hot or cold. However, you should still set up an emergency shelter in case she gets stuck outside. An easy DIY option for this is to purchase two plastic storage bins. One should fit inside the other, with some room left. Fill this gap with old newspapers or towels. This will provide insulation. You can also add a blanket inside. Then simply cut a hole in the side to make a door for the cat.
We recommend that all cats be cared for, microchipped and up-to-date with vaccines and parasite control. These are especially important for kittens that live or are allowed outdoors. Outdoor pets are more susceptible to parasites and germs than indoor pets, so they should see a vet a little more often. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an appointment schedule.
Of course, the best thing you can do for an outdoor cat is keep it indoors. Your furry friend will be both healthier and safer. This change can take time and patience, but don’t give up. Providing cat toys, treats, catnip, and “play” furniture will make the deal easier. If nothing else, limit Fluffy’s time outdoors and only let him out during the day and when the weather is nice.
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