PET HEALTH CORNER: Why ‘Indoor’ is the way to go with your cat

by | Cat Care |

Photo by Dwight Sipler.
Photo by Dwight Sipler.

Why ‘Indoor’ is Better – With Dave Wilson

Does your cat like fresh air? Roaming the great outdoors? You may not realize all the dangers that could face your kitty when they step outside your home. Dave Wilson, director of Shelter Health and Wellness for the Ontario SPCA and retired vet, shares what some of these dangers are.

Traffic

Wilson says cats face a risk whenever they are unsupervised outside, and particularly at night or overnight. He says cats, especially dark coloured ones, are easy to miss and this can be a serious danger near roadways.

“There’s a good chance you’re not going to see it until it’s the last minute, or worse, until it’s too late,” says Wilson.

He adds that dogs being walked by their owners could see the cat and frighten it into running onto the street, something they otherwise wouldn’t have done.

Wildlife

Wildlife encounters pose another real threat, according to Wilson. He says in city environments, the number of raccoons and coyotes are increasing, potentially forcing your cat to need to defend itself.

“Then we’re talking about the little guy getting wounded or injured, from something that was totally preventable,” Wilson says.

Though raccoons will generally run away, he says if cornered beside your wall and a garbage can, the raccoon will defend itself against the cat that comes around the corner. As well, coyotes, if starving, could be a threat to cats, even in more urban settings.

“The cat can represent a food source for them,” says Wilson.

On top of that, he says cat fights are always a possibility, which can also leave your pet injured.

Chemicals

A typically unthought-of danger is the threat of garden or lawn chemicals your cat can run into. Wilson says if someone is using pesticides or other chemicals on their lawn to get rid of insects, the cat walking through can be at risk of getting ill, or worse.

“It’s not going to cause any problem to the fur, but then the cat’s grooming themselves and suddenly this chemical is inside their bodies. It’s a poisoning,” he says.

Right now, Wilson says Ontario SPCA shelter policy is to encourage adopters to keep their cats inside, but he says the message could be modified to: “Your cat does not go outdoors unsupervised.’

“Cats can go outdoors under supervision and have a wonderful time and you can have a great time and a great moment with your cat by using a few simple things …” says Wilson.

Stay tuned for next week’s Pet Health Corner to learn how you can do just that!