Keeping your cat indoors is the best way to keep them safe from traffic, pollutants, and predators. However, most cat owners agree that access to the outdoors gives cats a better quality of life, even if they are at greater risk of accidents.
As a cat owner, it’s your job to ensure that your feline friend remains safe throughout the entire year. Fortunately, there are a few common-sense steps you can take to keep your kitty as safe as possible 365 days a year.
Some cats thrive in the winter. Their coats are designed for cooler temperatures, and they have no issue when the climate drops a few degrees. However, others need special protection and consideration to help them stay safe during the colder winter months.
Consider building an outdoor-cat shelter. Consider building a shelter that is large enough for your cat to enter and leave without difficulty but small enough for their body temperature to warm the space. As a cat owner, you can acclimatize your cat and deter others by keeping your shelter indoors for a while before eventually placing it outside.
You may want to rethink your water and food setup, too. During the coldest months, water for outdoor cats is likely to freeze. Consider swapping out metal or ceramic containers for solar-heated water bowls and do your best to bring your outdoor cat inside for lunch and dinner.
Cats are wonderful at adapting to changes in their environment. However, just like humans, cats have a heat tolerance threshold that you need to be aware of. As an owner, you need to do everything you can to keep your kitty cool and safe from overheating during the hottest months of the year.
Start by investing in a cooling system of some kind. This might be as simple as a fan in the basement where it’s naturally cooler. You can also keep your pet cool by investing in extra shading during the summer. Consider installing black-out blinds and shutters in your cat’s favourite room. You can even install a ceiling fan to keep the cool air moving — much to the delight of you and your cat.
Like humans, cats are more likely to suffer from dehydration during the summer. Keep multiple water bowls filled up around your home so your feline friend always has plenty of cool, refreshing water to lap up.
If you’re really worried about your cat staying cool, you can pick up a cooling bed. Cooling beds are small mats that are great at absorbing your cat’s body heat and displacing it away from them. Your kitty will quickly tell the difference and will choose to lounge in the cool space all summer long if needed.
Outdoor cats encounter all manner of creepy crawlies, pests and viruses. As your kitty’s human guardian, you need to ensure that your cat is fully up to date with all its shots and immunizations.
You should also keep a collar with identifying information on your cat at all times. In addition, you can look into microchips that help vets and cat sanctuaries identify your feline friend if their collar falls off or if they get into any trouble.
If you have a garden, ensure that all of your plants are cat friendly. Your cat is likely to explore every inch of your outdoor area during its lifetime, so opt for cat-friendly outdoor plants like:
- Lemon balm;
- Japanese maple;
Your cat will love getting lost in the undergrowth, and you can feel confident in the knowledge that your garden is a sanctuary for your kitty.
Having an outdoor cat doesn’t mean that you have to give your cat free rein to explore. Instead, you can opt for cat barriers and shelters which give your cat a contained outdoor area to roam and play in.
There are a few different barrier options to explore. Start by considering the following:
- Cat fence barriers;
- Cat enclosures.
Choosing between these options can be tricky. Ultimately, you want to choose a barrier that gives your cat maximum freedom to explore while limiting its ability to go beyond your garden space.
Creating an outdoor barrier can be particularly useful if you feel conflicted about letting your cat outside. Creating an outdoor space just for your cat can alleviate your worries about their quality of life while protecting local habitats. This is particularly important if you have a cat for health reasons. In general, pets are great for your health as owning a cat can lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, and ease loneliness. That’s just one of the many reasons why keeping them close and safe is preferable.
As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your cat healthy year-round. Start by ensuring you have the basics covered. All outdoor cats need clear identification and should be fully vaccinated. You should also make small seasonal adjustments to ensure that your kitty can regulate their temperature and enjoy the outdoors without becoming dehydrated.
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