What to Know for Your Springtime Outdoor Adventures

With the onset of longer days, warmer weather and the call of the wild, many of our cats are inclined to venture outdoors. While this is a natural instinct, it is a dangerous venture if they are allowed to roam free.

In the city, cats who are allowed outside of their backyard may be hit by a car, lost, or attacked by a dog. There’s also the potential for contact with predatory wildlife, including coyotes and now a lynx population within the city. Bats are also present and are the main carrier of rabies, which is fatal to both cats and humans. Cats who roam may also be abused by people who do not like cats or who do not want them on their property. Cats can consume toxic substances such as anti-freeze and mouse poison, and may raid garbage bins where they can be exposed to a huge array dangerous items.

Outdoor cats will be inclined to hunt mice and birds. This will result in parasitism of the cat, with roundworms, tapeworms and possibly fleas or ticks.

Cats will also naturally establish a territory, and will fight to protect it. Cat fights result in wounds from scratches and bites that will require veterinary visits for antibiotics, wound care and surgery. Cats will usually also disturb indoor cats in neighboring houses by going into yards and approaching windows of other cat’s homes. This will cause stress for the indoor cats who are having their territory invaded, and can result in behavioural  problems such as fighting between indoor cats and urine marking within the home. Letting your cat roam into other people’s yards will not gain you any popularity with your neighbors, and is against Calgary bi-law. Outdoor adventures may win your cat a surprise trip to the city pound or a local shelter, with you paying the “Get out of jail” fee.

If you have a cat who insists on going outside, here are some possible solutions to keep your little tiger safe:

  • Consider building an outdoor cat run. These can do wonders to satisfy the need to have fresh air and exercise.
  • Train your cat to wear a harness and leash so that you can take them outside in your backyard or even to a park safely.
  • If you must have your cat outdoors off leash in your yard, be present at all times to ensure that they do not try to escape, and that no other cats or wildlife come into your yard while your cat is outside.
  • Vaccinate and deworm your cat according to your veterinarian’s recommendations to prevent disease and parasitism
  • Licence your cat with the city
  • Ensure that your cat has identification, preferably a tattoo or microchip, as collars can be lost
  • Spay or neuter your cat to prevent overpopulation and reduce the desire to roam when outdoors.

Let’s all enjoy  spring and keep our cats and humans safe!


Written By:  Tiffany Lennox, DVM