Most cats love to wander when given the opportunity. Where do they go? What do they do? Stealthy cats can get into all sort of trouble when they wander outdoors seeking adventure. One study done by students at the University of Georgia discovered what kind of trouble by attaching kitty cams to 60 pet cats by way of break-away collars.
Their videotaped discoveries allow the rest of us a cat’s eye view of a long, hot southern night. Take a look at the risky behaviors observed:
1. Crossing roads (45%)
2. Encountering strange cats (25%)
3. Eating and drinking substances away from home (25%)
4. Exploring storm drain systems (20%)
5. Entering crawl spaces (20%)
By meandering into close quarters, behind walls and other dangerous places, cats suffer wounds ranging from bites to traffic encounters to degloving injuries. (A degloving is an avulsion or injury in which part of the body is forcibly detached. For a cat, the extremity that’s most likely to be involved is his tail. OUCH!)
Other encounters may introduce exposure to infectious diseases like feline leukemia and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) or the annoying possibility of internal or external parasites. Eating or drinking on the run presents dangers like access to poison or simply taking in too much food which negatively affects health.
So what’s a responsible, cat-loving owner to do?
Keeping a cat inside when it’s accustomed to the great outdoors can be challenging but not impossible. Here are a few creative ideas:
1. Prepare indoor cat structures. Your cat loves closed in places and places to scratch and climb. (Take look at this one.) Or if you’re crafty, you could put something together like this one on PInterest. Even cardboard boxes stacked and taped could work for you.
2. Harness that energy. Walking your cat on a secure harness might be a solution for you both. It’s easier if you start with a kitten.
3. Prepare enclosed outdoor cat structures. These contained areas can be attached to a window or cat door so that your cat has access. Cages by Design has a huge selection of these! If you’re an avid do-it-yourselfer, take a look at this video for inspiration…
Keep in mind that indoor cats live longer than strictly outdoor or even partially outdoor cats. It’s no secret…we want to keep your cat healthy and happy, so if you have questions about the best care for your Walter T. Kitty, give us a call.