Outdoor cats face inherently more risk than indoor cats. They’re exposed to many more threats, both natural and man made.
Summertime is a particularly risky time to be an outdoor cat. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your free-roaming feline stays safe this summer.
Did you know accidental poisoning in cats hits its peak in summer? For outdoor cats, the world’s a playground. Unfortunately, all kinds of exciting (and tasty?) plants are blooming, and in some cases a mere snack can prove fatal. Summer is also pesticide season which means unwashed plants of any kind can be a risk.
A number of household poisons are more likely to affect your cat in summer, even if they’re not in your house. Permethrin, an insecticide commonly found in canine flea medications, pool cleaning supplies, and even car soap can all be dangerous to a curious cat.
2. Overheating & Dehydration
Yes, cats can overheat. Heat stroke actually isn’t uncommon, especially for outdoor cats, and it can happen in temperatures a lot lower than you think. Although cats are usually pretty good about moving themselves to a cooler location when possible, they can (and do) get stuck in hot circumstances, like when exploring the recycling bin or outside with no indoor access when the temperature soars.
Staying hydrated goes a long way toward staving off overheating. Always be sure your cat has plenty of fresh, cool water and consider switching her to a canned food if she’s reluctant to drink. (Canned food contains more natural moisture than dry.) On particularly hot days, bring your cat inside or set up an area in the shade with water where she can retreat.
3. Insect Encounters
Summer is prime-time for pests! As the weather warms up, so do the activities of all manner of insects, parasites, and small animals. Keep an eye out for bee stings to your cat, and know the signs of a worm infection. Also be aware that many parasites thrive in the bodies of “prey” such as small birds. If your cat eats or catches them, she could become infected too.
Of course, summer is also when fleas and ticks are at their worst. Outdoor cats are particularly likely to come down with fleas, and ticks aren’t just a dog-specific threat. Both pests can carry all kinds of diseases that can make your cat – and your family – sick. The best thing you can do is keep your cat’s flea and tick preventative medication up to date.
4. Getting Lost
Your cat seems like she could find her way home blindfolded, right? Unfortunately, even independent outdoor cats get lost. They can wander too far, hitch a ride on the back of a vehicle, or simply become disoriented in a new and unusual area. In some cases, unfamiliar noises such as fireworks or screaming children can scare a cat away.
The extra daylight hours we enjoy in summer means your outdoor cat is more likely to stay gone for longer stretches this time of year. Be sure she’s microchipped and that your information is up-to-date in the database.