Is your cat safe? 5 ways to protect your cat

Cats can be wonderful and fun companions. Each one has its personality, and many cats just love being with their humans. They are also very curious and can quickly get into situations that can be dangerous. Owning one or more cats means that we must do everything we can to protect them. Here are some tips for keeping your cats safe.

1. Keep cats indoors

There’s no reason they need to go outside. Indoor cats live much longer than cats that are outside all or part of the time. Some of the dangers they face outdoors include collisions with vehicles, toxic substances, and attacks by dogs or other animals.

In more and more parts of the country, coyotes are on the rise, and kittens and small dogs (even Shelties) are easy prey for a quick meal. Birds of prey also sometimes carry off cats and small dogs. And, in some areas, there is the danger of Fisher’s cat – a type of weasel – which includes cats in its menu.

Spay or neuter your cat. This will not only help reduce the population of unwanted cats but will also help keep kittens from going outside and keep unwanted feline visitors meowing away.

2. Having indoor cats means securing your home

Look for anything that might be dangerous to the cat. Store anything toxic, including cleaning fluids and products, laundry detergents, insecticides and ants, rat or mouse baits, slug baits, and other toxins, in a cat-proof cabinet. Make sure your cat can’t open doors – he can be very resourceful! Also secure medications and drugs, antifreeze and foods that are toxic to pets. These include chocolate, grapes and raisins, onions, and macadamia nuts.

Other dangerous items indoors include electrical cords, which cats can get tangled in or shocked by. If you have a paper shredder, always unplug it when you’re not shredding something. Pets have had serious accidents when licking or pawing the shredder, sometimes resulting in death. If you use candles, be sure to never leave them unattended. Cats and dogs knock them over and cause fires. Fully covered candles are safer, but still, need to be monitored. Battery-operated lights, many of which are inexpensive, are a better alternative.

Keep all plastic bags out of your kitten’s reach and cut off both ends of plastic food bags that you throw away. Pets suffocated when they stuck their heads in a plastic food bag and couldn’t get it out or breathe. Also, keep children’s toys, strings, and any other small objects that can be chewed or swallowed out of your kitten’s reach.

3. Pets must be identified

The most common form of identification is a collar and tag. Cats should be equipped with a detachable collar that comes off quickly if it gets caught on something, to avoid the risk of choking or strangulation. In addition to the medals we usually see, there are now medals that contain a tiny USB tag that can be read by most computers. Since tags can get lost, you can request that your pets be microchipped for permanent identification.

4. Have your cats been vaccinated?

Rabies vaccinations are required for both felines and dogs. There are also other deadly diseases, many of which are highly contagious, that can be prevented by vaccination. Kittens should begin receiving vaccinations at about 6 to 8 weeks of age, and these should be repeated every 3 to 4 weeks until they are about 12 to 16 weeks old. Your veterinarian will set up a schedule for you. The vaccines they should receive protect against feline distemper and two upper respiratory diseases: herpes virus and calicivirus. Your veterinarian may also want to vaccinate against feline leukemia and possibly other diseases that are a problem in your area. Subsequent booster vaccines will be given as needed.

5. Know where to go in case of an emergency

You probably already know if your vet has emergency hours and what those hours are. Also, find out the nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital and test drive for directions. Keep phone numbers handy. Also, make sure your cat’s carrier is in a place where you can retrieve it quickly if needed.

You are the one who observes your pets and knows what their normal behavior is. This is why you can get help quickly when an animal is sick or injured. By taking precautions to avoid problems and providing proper care, you can give your cat many years of happiness and health.

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