How To Keep Outside Cats Safe: #Pet360 Wants to Know!

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Can you see the fine-webbed fencing that keeps these kitties safe? There CAN be options–if you make the effort! Image Copr. Sanskrittlady/Flickr

This post is sponsored by Pet360. I am being compensated for spreading the word about Pet360.com, but I only share information that I feel is relevant to my readers.

What a small world…I’d already planned a post about outside cats, including the ASK AMY video, below, because I received a note asking about transitioning an INSIDE cat into an OUTDOOR kitty. Now the topic has also come up at the Pet360 cat discussion board because one of the folks reported a tragic story of a cat killed in his own fenced backyard by loose dogs that somehow got inside.

Do your cats get to go outside? How do you keep them safe from harm? How would you go about transitioning an exclusively INDOOR ONLY cat to life on the outside? What can you do to make certain your kitties are always safe? Pet360 wants your tips–you can  GO HERE and add to the discussion.

Seren sometimes stands at the door or window, meows, and digs against the glass with her paws as if she can’t wait to escape the plush indoor lifestyle. Folks who live in the UK think we Americans are cruel for not allowing kitties the joy of grass between their toes–many cat lovers in the UK have back gardens and the whole neigborhood of cats comes and goes.

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Ready for an outdoor stroll, or would he rather lap-snuggle? Image Courtesy of Pet360.com

Here in North Texas, coyotes come and go from my back patio and turn into land sharks patrolling for kitty treats. Although in her younger days Seren went out on a leash to sniff roses, I’d never feel comfortable letting her out without that safety net. Instead, I offer her lots of indoor enrichment like multiple cat trees and condos.

I do offer some options for creating safer outdoor environments in my Cat Competability book like cat-specific fence products such as the Cat Fence-In, and my colleague Marva Marrow has a great how-to DIY design for safe outdoor cat enclosures.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not invest in an “electric fence” type of product that purport to protect cats (or dogs) using shock collars. Such things are not the plug-and-forget-it answers you want–it requires training to use correctly and even then can result in the pet “breaking through” the invisible barrier and then being prevented from returning home. Such products also don’t keep strange dogs or cats (or other critters) from invading your pet’s home turf. You gotta hope that your kitty has proper identification (is your cat microchipped?) to help the pet get home. Pet360 has some interesting articles and discussions on pet microchipping here.

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The blue color would match Seren’s eyes! Image courtesy Pet360.com

I do agree, in the best of all possible worlds where cats could be safe, the best thing in the world would be for them to chase butterflies and sleep in the sun-puddle on the back patio. When you can’t provide a safe outdoor environment, maybe you’d want to take Kitty for a safe outing in a cat stroller–I saw some of these in action at BlogPaws convention and they are paw-some! The next best thing is to bring the outdoors inside with lots of hidy-holes, climbing ops, kitty grass for munching, and fun toys that float your cat’s boat.

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Even exclusively indoor cats may escape out the door…Image courtesy of Pet360.com

Today’s Ask Amy video is a heart breaker. It’s a composite of some of the consults that I’ve dealt with over the past several years. Every home and person’s circumstance is different and I’m not in the writer’s shoes so can’t judge–and only seek to offer some insight and help. I hope you’ll share some of your suggestions (positive ones, please!) for any lurkers out there who have ever found themselves in such a dilemma.

How would you transition an indoor-only cat to the outside? And then, how would you transition an outdoor cat BACK into an inside cat? You can  GO HERE and add to the discussion or post your suggestions in the comments. I know this is a controversial subject–but we all want the best for our cats so let’s see what creative ideas we can develop!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!


Comments

How To Keep Outside Cats Safe: #Pet360 Wants to Know! — 8 Comments

  1. I have a barn cat who was adopted from the shelter as a feral cat. I didn’t know when I adopted her, but I am pretty sure that she must have been an indoor only cat before I got her. She was an owner surrender. I guess the cat gave her to me with their feral barn cat program because she was going to be euthanized and not adoptable. For a few weeks, she stayed only in the barn. Then we had to get her used to the outdoors so we let her out. For at least a month, she hid in a shed. Now she is very social and comes in and out of the barn as she pleases and has different napping places. I think providing safe places to hide is a good idea.

  2. Amy I know that subject and video was difficult for you to do. It brought me to tears. Under no circumstances could I ever take one of my three indoor cats and put them outside. It just seems cruel to me. I kinda think the problem with that young ladies cat was something fixable of why her cat was peeing outside the litter box. I feel certain the issue was one of the things you mentioned.

  3. Um, well, it’s really dangerous for outdoor cats where I live. The local shelter has heart wrenching stories of frost bitten cats every spring. We gets stretches of winter where the temperature is below -40 for weeks at a time (yes, I live that far north).

    Then there’s foxes, coyotes, wolves, and bears. I’m a five minute walk from the deep woods, and bears in town aren’t unusual. Wolves far less so, but we see foxes nearly every day.

    So our feline fur friends aren’t allowed outdoors.

    Wayne

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