On the Prowl: Improving Cat Safety When They Want to Go Out at Night
If you have a fluffy, furry, whiskered friend, you may find that they sleep all day. Contrary to popular opinion, cats are crepuscular, not nocturnal, and are most active around dawn and dusk. They are both recovering from intense activity at sunrise, and preparing for their evening romp.
Depending on the cat, nightly activities may simply involve a patrol around the fenced yard. But they may also take in a roof walk, a crossing of a busy road, a fight with another cat, or even an entry into another home. Either way, cat safety is at stake.
Back in 2012, researchers at the University of Georgia studied over 50 domestic cats to chronicle their evening exploits. Wearing cameras and GPS tracking devices, these cats were found to hunt and capture prey of all kinds, including reptiles, insects, and small mammals. Cats were found to be more adventurous on warmer evenings.
What This Means for Cat Owners
Responsible cat owners want to make the best choice for their cats. Sometimes, if you live on a busy street or live near a feral cat colony, this could mean restricting all outdoor activities. Otherwise, an owner can choose to allow access to enrich their cat’s life.
Some cats will continue to expand their territory, while others will stay relatively close to home. Either way, there are very clear dangers to cat safety when they’re out at night:
- Strange animal encounters
- Eating or drinking unknown substances or items
- Crossing roads
- Getting caught in serious weather
- Exploring tight spaces they cannot escape from, like storm drains or crawl spaces
They definitely don’t go out looking for trouble, but cats of all ages tend to find it when they least expect to.
A Strong Foundation
Indoor cats live longer than strictly outdoor kitties, but they are also much safer than indoor-outdoor cats. It can be hard to curtail a cat’s determination to get outside, especially if they have not been spayed or neutered. Once they’ve undergone this straightforward surgical procedure, the drive to go out is significantly reduced.
An Added Layer
Microchipping your cat is an excellent investment in their future . You may never need to rely on the microchip, but if your cat becomes separated from you it might be the only way you’re reunited.
On a Cautionary Note
If you and your cat reach an agreement concerning the privilege of outside time, they should be fully protected against contagious diseases. If you have questions about their vaccinations, please let us know. Fights with other animals can not only result in injury, but many infectious diseases can be transmitted without any defenses.
Track That Cat!
A GPS collar can track a cat’s location. You might be surprised regarding how far from home they might get, or how long they remain in the same spot.
To the relief of many, cat trackers can help reunite a cat with their family when they don’t show up.
The Real Value of Cat Safety
Preventing illness, injury or separation is as easy as limiting their exposure to the outdoors. Uphold cat safety through supervision while outdoors. Alternatively, build your cat a catio (an enclosed cat patio, or screened-in enclosure) for them to experience the best of both worlds.
Above all, if you have further questions about cat safety or feline behavior, Blue Valley Animal Hospital is always here for you.