Some cats, despite our best efforts, demand to go outdoors. While we know that outside can hold some additional worries for kitty caregivers, things are even more dicey when darkness falls.
Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital can think of a few night time dangers for cats that make it a little easier to insist that your pet stay in at night.
Night Time Dangers for Cats
Cats love to exercise their freedom and show their independence. While allowing your cat access to the great outdoors may make them happy in many aspects, it also opens them up to a whole new world of danger.
Outdoor cats are at higher risk of injury by cars or other animals and are more susceptible to diseases like feline immunodeficiency virus or parasites.
Night time is particularly risky for cats who are outdoors. Night time dangers of concern include:
- Cars – Your cat is harder to see at night and at higher risk of meeting the wrong end of traffic
- Predators – Nocturnal predators like coyote, fox, and even owls are a risk for cats
- Other cats – Other outdoor cats may be prowling their territory as well, making fights more likely
- The elements – Cold winter temperatures or summer storms may be harder to protect your pet from while you are sleeping
Protecting Your Pet
It is always safest to keep your cat indoors. However, if you have made the decision that letting your pet have outdoor time is the best decision for your family, there is certainly some protection against night time dangers for cats.
Consider the following suggestions:
Structured time – Making sure your cat is indoors for certain parts of the day can lower risk. Try to be sure that you feed your cat indoors each evening to encourage them to be indoors during the higher risk night hours.
Supervised time – Some cats are perfectly happy getting their outdoor hours in on a screened in catio or outside supervised in the backyard.
Gear up – Cats who are spending time outdoors should be outfitted with a well-fitting breakaway collar that will release if it becomes caught in a fence or other obstacle. You might also consider a fluorescent or reflective collar if your cat is out at night. An up to date microchip can help to get your kitty home should they become lost.
Take hormones out of the equation – Spayed and neutered pets are much less likely to get into tangles with other cats. We typically recommend spaying or neutering your cat between four and six months of age.
Prevent problems – Being sure that your cat is adequately vaccinated and protected against parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms with a product like Revolution Plus.
When night falls and your cat wants to get out and explore, think twice before you comply. Just like children, our pets don’t always know what is best for them. Night time dangers for cats are real and should be seriously considered.