Hazards Await Cats Outdoors

Warmer, drier weather and mating season put your feline housemates at greater risk
Fridays on the Homefront
Poisons, parasites, and predators are but three of the perilous predicaments that cats face outdoors. Is it time to bring these cute fellas back inside…where they'll live two to three times longer lives?

Now that spring is in full swing, out in your garden it's all about the birds and the bees.

But there's at least one creature you don't want going out and getting a seasonal lesson in sex education: your family cat.

In fact, allowing mating season to draw your cat—female and male alike—outside the house could place it in a world of hurt as we consider many of the imminent dangers that await. Here, in Northern California, mating season began in March and continues into the fall.

Fridays on the Homefront
Open spaces—including areas that rim Eichler neighborhoods in Lucas Valley, Terra Linda, and the San Mateo Highlands—are hunting grounds for coyote (as above), bobcat, and even mountain lion.

"While most of us associate spring with longer days and warmer weather, the change of season can mean big trouble for your cat or dog," notes a warning posted online by a Long Island-based animal hospital.

"Pets who have been cooped up all winter are suddenly more susceptible to environmental irritants, exposure to toxic chemicals, and overexertion, not to mention activity-related injuries, parasitic diseases, and chance encounters with critters that don't have their best interests in mind."

Poisons, parasites, and predators are but three of the perilous predicaments your pet can find outdoors, say various other experts we consulted.

  Fridays on the Homefront
The list of plants your pet should not eat is long.
 

"Spring always brings a real spike in cases for us," says Hayley Buddery, nursing manager at a West Yorkshire veterinary office in England, quoted in another online piece.

Some hazards can be avoided by simply making the decision to keep your cat indoors. As noted in an article posted at pets.webmd.com, "The consensus among veterinarians and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association is that it's wiser to keep cats indoors."