Best Review - Top 5 Risks for Outdoor Cats

M

illions of cats are kept indoors to avoid the many health risks that exist for them outdoors. However, not all cats can be kept indoors so it's important to learn more about the risks and how to reduce them. While in urban and suburban areas cars are probably the biggest threat, here are some of the other big dangers.

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Top 1

Feline Leukemia Virus


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Feline Leukemia Virus is a potentially fatal, cancer causing disease for cats. They can contract this disease from other cats through a variety of means including, but not limited to, licking, biting, grooming, sharing food dishes, and litter pans. While indoor cats can be exposed to this through other cats in the household, outdoor cats share a greater risk since they are potentially exposed to more cats, and especially stray and feral cats. There is an annual vaccine that is available although it is not 100% effective.


Top 2

Harsh Winter Conditions


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For cats that are outdoors for long periods of time, there is the risk of death or serious injury due to hypothermia, frostbite, and so forth. Of course properly preparing for this harsh weather can help. Buying or constructing an inexpensive insulated cat shelter can provide the necessary protection from the elements.


Top 3

Fleas, Worms, and Ticks


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Fleas can carry a variety of diseases, including feline distemper or Feline Panleukopenia Virus which destroys the immune system. Both fleas and worms are especially common with outdoor cats due in part to the consumption of small rodents and so forth. Regular flea treatments, worming, and head to toe checks for ticks are important for an outdoor cat. There are also annual vaccines for some of the specific diseases (such as FPV) related to these parasites.


Top 4

Predators

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Cats are predators but they can also be prey. Coyotes, hawks, dogs, and other animals present a danger to them. Fenced in yards can help keep coyotes and dogs out, but probably won't keep the cat in. Keeping lights on and offering an elevated shelter gives the cat someplace to go that provides some small degree of protection.


Top 5

Loss


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A pet outdoor cat also runs the risk of getting lost. Cats don't necessarily have an impeccable sense of direction nor can they see for long distances very well due in part to their limited height. This often means it's up to the owner to find them. To do this, microchipping can help, assuming someone finds them and takes them in to have the microchip read. A collar is more readily recognized by anyone who finds them, but of course having a breakaway collar is important to assure the cat can't get caught on something and be unable to free itself.


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