KEEPING CATS INDOORS KEEPS THEM HEALTHIER

Housing cats exclusively indoors is the best way to keep them safe.The average expected life span of an indoor cat is 13 to 15 years,while outdoor cats may live only five to seven years. Unfortunately, cats are fascinated by the outdoors and some try to sneak out at any opportunity. Some cats like to just bathe outdoors in the sun;others like to hunt and visit neighbors.Once a cat has had a taste of living outdoors,it is harder to keep her inside,but it is possible if you are determined. Giving cats inside window perches and plenty of interactive playtimes will help keep them stimulated and eliminate the need for them to go outside.If you want to let a cat out,but at the same time protect her, you can build an outdoor enclosure that is securely screened to keep her in and to keep danger out.You might also consider training her to walk on a leash or personally supervising her outdoors for short periods of time. Dangers cats face when they venture outdoors include cars, wild animals,territorial cats,unfamiliar dogs,unkind neighbors,bad weather,fleas and ticks,more risk of exposure to toxins and disease and getting lost.Where I practice in Southern California, the most common cause of death to outdoor cats is coyote attacks.If you are prepared to take these risks with your cat, then let her go outside. If you are not, then protect your cat by keeping her inside. If you allow your cat any access at all to the outdoors,it is important to get the cat on a routine where she comes inside from dusk to dawn to limit her exposure to the increased dangers of the night. It is also crucial to place some kind of identification on her such as a collar, tag, microchip, ear tag, tattoo or a combination of these. Nationwide, only 2 percent of the cats picked up by animal control agencies are ever reclaimed by their owners.Without identification these cats are considered strays. Unfortunately, most unclaimed cats face death. If you are concerned about the safety of a collar,breakaway styles are available and work well.

SAFE TRAVEL

Cats should always be transported inside a carrier when you travel anywhere with them.Although the cat may cry and scratch in the carrier,it is for her own good as well as yours.You may feel like you have good control of the cat when you are carrying her,but if she’s startled,her claws digging into your arms may cause you to release her.There is also danger if you are driving in your car and the cat is not in a carrier.If you slam on the brakes and the cat goes flying,she could end up under your feet or be injured.She might also decide to walk in front of your face or under the brake pedal while you are driving.