Keeping an Outdoor Cat Healthy

Do you let your feline buddy go outdoors? Have you perhaps adopted—or half-adopted—a local kitty? While we always recommend keeping Fluffy inside, we do understand that some of our feline friends enjoy exploring the Great Outdoors. Others may have never become accustomed to indoor life. In this article, a vet offers some advice on keeping an outdoor cat happy, healthy, and purring.

Food

Like any animal, Fluffy needs good food in order to thrive. Kibble is probably your best bet, just as it lasts longer than canned food. However, you don’t want to leave too much food out, as this could attract mice and other vermin. If possible, feed your cat indoors.

Water

Clean water is a basic necessity for all animals. Your furry pal should have clean water available at all times. You’ll need to clean Fluffy’s water bowl regularly, so dust and germs don’t collect in it. 

Shelter

Fluffy may have a fur coat on, but that doesn’t provide complete protection from the elements. You should bring your feline buddy in when it’s hot or cold. However, it’s a good idea to set out an emergency shelter, in case she gets stuck outdoors. One easy DIY option for this is to get two plastic storage totes. One should fit inside the other, with a little room left over. Stuff this space with newspapers or old towels. This will provide insulation. You can add a blanket on the inside. Cut holes in the side to make a kitty door. 

Veterinary Care

We recommend that all cats be fixed, microchipped, and kept current on vaccines and parasite control. These things are especially important for kitties that live or are allowed outdoors. Outdoor pets are more exposed to parasites and germs than indoor ones are, so they should come in a bit more often. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule.

Lifestyle Change

Of course, the best thing you can do for an outdoor cat is keep her inside. Your furry friend will be both healthier and safer staying in. This change may take time and patience, but don’t give up. Offering toys, treats, catnip, and kitty furniture will sweeten the deal. If nothing else, limit Fluffy’s outdoor time, and only let her out during the day, and when it’s nice out. 

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