Think your cat doesn’t need sun protection?! Think again!
For outdoor cats, spring and summer are the best times to explore the wilderness outside, let their inner feral cat out, or just laze around in the warm sun.
The warm seasons can also pose all kinds of dangers for your explorer cat. You can’t control everything outside but there’s still plenty you can do to reduce the risks. Here’s how:
1. The Sun
You may think that your cat’s fur protects him from the sun, but just like humans, cats can get sunburn. Overexposure to strong sunlight can give your cat red, itchy spots, and can increase the risk of skin cancer.
Prevention: Limit the time your cat goes outside to the morning and late afternoon, when the sun is not directly overhead. Believe it or not, there are a few waterproof kitty sunscreens, but consult with your vet before trying anything new!
2. Poisonous Plants
The effects of a poisonous plant depend on the plant, and can be anything from vomiting to changes in behavior. You’ve probably taken care to keep your house free of plants poisonous to cats. But what can you do when your cat is outside?
Prevention: Even if you can’t prevent your cat from wandering to other areas, you can do your best to keep your own yard and surrounding area clear of toxic plants. You can find a full list of the plants to beware of here.
Fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides… summer is full of chemicals that are bad for pets.
Prevention: If you plan on using any of these substances in your garden, consider natural alternatives first. When you use any chemicals in your garden or yard, cover anything your cat is likely to come in contact with like water and food bowls, bird baths, or kitty toys. Afterwards, keep your cat indoors for a few days, or at least 12 hours.
4. Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are itchy pests that carry diseases, feast on your pets (and on you), and are a pain to get rid of once they get a taste for your delicious blood.
Prevention: Groom your cat and your lawn. Comb your cat’s fur with a flea comb and mow the lawn regularly - these parasites love tall grass. Give your cat regular baths (even if he hates it!).
Be cautious with flea and tick prevention creams and medicines: some are actually unsafe for cats.
Cats have some sharp claws and teeth, and have excellent self defense skills. But even the most ferocious kitty is no match for some of nature’s predators.
Prevention: Know your area’s wildlife and birds of prey. If coyotes roam where you live, install a coyote-proof fence and don’t let your cat out once it starts getting dark. Keep your cat’s food indoors so you don’t attract unwanted attention from wildlife.
- by Yuliya