6 Ways to Protect Your Cat Outside
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Outdoor cats face many dangers when roaming the streets, which may be a major threat to their health and even result in death. An indoor cat spends most of its time in the confinement of a home. While keeping your cat inside may seem like the safest choice, it may underwhelm the animal as compared to the outdoors. Luckily, there are ways to ensure your cat’s safety outside your home, to help meet their physical and developmental needs.
Thinking about the safety of your pet is crucial, especially in the outdoor environment. Let's go over some of the possible solutions you may consider towards letting your cat roam outside your home.
1. Walk your cat on a leash
Some cat owners have opted for this option and are ready to take some time out of their day to go for a walk with their beloved feline. For best results, you should select a fitting harness instead of a collar to make sure that it is secure and does not hurt your cat when you pull on a leash. You might also consider an adorable outfit that will protect your cat from different weather conditions.Many cats will not enjoy being limited by the leash. For the owner it is also not the most entertaining option. Unlike dogs, a cat has a different agenda when outside. Cats are natural hunters and may stay put without moving for hours waiting for prey.
2. Build a catio
This option will provide your cat with its own outdoor mansion. The cage gives your cat access to fresh air as well as the comfort of an indoor atmosphere. The best catio solutions are usually adjoined to the outside of the house with the entry point available directly from the house where your cat could use a window or a kitty door to get into the enclosure. Some more luxurious options include ropes to climb, ladders, hammocks and shelves. Although a catio may seem like a safe choice for letting a cat outside, it is still limited by the four walls of the cage. Just like inside the home, the catio will lack the variety of smells and surfaces that nature has to offer.
3. Install an open-air cat enclosure along the perimeter of your fence
It is a balanced solution that provides a combination of security and open-air access to your cat. Unlike a catio, an enclosure installed on top of your existing fence does not take any additional space from your yard. At the same time, it provides your cat with maximum amount of the outdoor freedom while keeping it in a safe space. Cats can enjoy nature by chewing on grass, catching unfamiliar sounds, and chasing butterflies around the yard. This will keep them busy, excited and fit. Although this solution might be a larger investment, yet, in the end, the cat will thank you for it.
4. Attach a pet GPS to a collar
Yes, we now live in times where cats have personal electronic devices. This technology, previously limited to dogs, has been significantly reduced in size to make it small and light enough for cats to wear. Watching a red dot on a GPS map is entertaining, but the pinpoint accuracy is limited to a size of three backyards. With this option, a cat is still roaming unprotected. While it improves your chances of finding your pet, if you think it is lost, it does not eliminate any dangers that are waiting for a feline in the freedom of the outdoors. Cats that roam the streets freely have 4 times shorter lifespan than the indoor cats.
5. Try to create habits in your cat
• You should maintain a supervised open-air time in a safe zone. For instance, let your cat go out for a stroll inside your backyard under your supervision. Interact with your cat and let it know of your presence when you see an attempt to leave the yard.
• If your cat receives meals on a specific time schedule, you can let it out between the meals, which will create the need for the cat to return for food. It is best to give the cat smaller portions than usual to ensure it will be hungry by the next mealtime.
While this option provides your cat with maximum freedom, there is no guarantee that your cat will not run away.
6. Microchip your cat
It is a quick and painless procedure which includes inserting a chip with some basic ownership information under a cat’s skin. If your cat ends up in the hands of animal services, they will scan the chip to access your contact information. While an ID plate on a collar is the fastest way to get your phone number, there is no guarantee that the cat will still be wearing it when found. Microchipping is useful both for indoor and outdoor cats. Even if you are not ready to let your cat out of the comfort and safety of your home, it can slip out into a door or window left open by accident. It may take you some time to notice that your pet is not home. Therefore, you can never be too careful.