While it’s preferable to keep a cat indoors for their health and safety, some owners may choose to let their furball have a little freedom in the great outdoors. If you are weighing the options of indoor vs outdoor cats, East Valley Animal Hospital (serving Gilbert, Chandler & Mesa) would like to help educate you on this decision. Here are a few of our pro tips on how to take care of an outdoor cat:

1. Microchip your kitty

Proper identification is crucial for all pets, but especially those that may live some of their lives outdoors. Since a collar can easily fall off, a pet microchip is an excellent backup should your feline wander and not come back. 

2. Fully vaccinate your feline

It’s a simple fact that outdoor cats are at a much higher risk of disease exposure. Feral cats and other wild animals are common carriers of diseases like feline leukemia (FeLV), feline AIDS (FIV), FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), feline distemper (panleukopenia), and upper respiratory infections (URI). If you choose to let your kitty roam, she should be kept up-to-date annually with lifesaving vaccinations. 

3. Stay on top of parasite medications

Indoor cats are certainly susceptible to parasites. Outdoor cats, on the other hand, are guaranteed to come home with a parasite at some point. Giving your cat preventative parasite meds will go a long way in keeping her healthy. Some of the harmful parasites your furry friend can pick up include: fleas, ticks, ear mites, intestinal worms and ringworm (a fungal infection). 

4. Don’t declaw

The practice of declawing cats is declining. But if you are considering letting Fluffy outside, she should absolutely have her claws in order to defend herself and climb trees to get away from predators. If you’ve already declawed her, then she’ll need to live a happy life indoors. 

5. Visit your vet regularly

In addition to keeping a close eye on your outdoor cat’s behavior, you’ll want to schedule more frequent vet visits. Regular checkups will ensure that your pet is living happily, healthily and parasite free. 

6. Spay or neuter

Considering the substantial health benefits of spaying and neutering, you’re probably already convinced that it’s the right choice for your cat. If you have a male cat, you might not be concerned about him coming home pregnant but he will definitely mate with any unspayed females he comes into contact with. Cats that aren’t fixed are also much more likely to roam farther away from home, increasing their likelihood of getting hit by a car or getting lost. 

Veterinarian in Gilbert

If you have further questions about how to take care of an outdoor cat, or if you’re still weighing the options and risks of having an outdoor cat, let our team at East Valley Animal Hospital know. When it comes to purchasing your medications and other pet supplies, our clients enjoy using our convenient online pharmacy, which ships directly to your doorstep. 

Image by sspiehs3 from Pixabay (12/5/2019)