Every cat owner worries about something unthinkable happening to their feline friends at some point or another. In addition to the dangers cats tend to get themselves into by their own curiosity, you also need to contend with human threats, such as thieves. Whether you own a rare purebred cat or a kitten born behind a dumpster, they could become targets for theft. Here are 10 tips to prevent your cat from being stolen.
The 10 Tips on How to Protect Your Cat from Being Stolen
1. Keep Your Cat Indoors, Especially at Night
Being outdoors at night is always dangerous for cats, and the threat of theft is one of those perils. Yes, a thief could still break in and steal your cat, but crimes of opportunity are often the easiest. Without easy access to a cat who’s unprotected outside at night, thieves may move on to easier targets.
If your cat is partly-feral, or if you can’t let them into your actual house due to allergic family members, consider using a barn, shed, garage, or another outbuilding to get them safely behind closed doors at night. Animal predators are also more likely to attack your cat at night, so it’s not just human dangers you’re protecting your kitty from by keeping them indoors.
2. Put a Collar On Your Cat
Outdoor cats should always wear a breakaway collar with your contact information on it. Not only will this precaution help keep your cat from getting lost, but it may cause a thief to think twice before targeting your kitty. The collar lets potential thieves know that if they take your cat, someone will be looking for them and may potentially get the police involved. With so many stray and feral cats on the streets, thieves may opt for an easier target if they see the collar.
3. Microchip Your Cat
In addition to a collar, your cat should also be microchipped as protection against being stolen. For safety, cats need to wear collars that break loose with pressure in case of snagging. Unfortunately, this means your cat can also easily lose their collar.
Microchipping provides an extra layer of protection. If a thief steals your cat and sells them to someone else, the microchip still provides a link to you that any vet can find with a simple handheld scanner. Keep your contact information up-to-date in the microchip registry anytime you move or get a new phone number.
4. Spay or Neuter Your Cat
Especially if you own a purebred cat, thieves may target your pet to be used for breeding. If you spay or neuter your cat, you’ll decrease their potential value to these thieves. Consider including this information on your cat’s collar, or as a note on their microchip information. If you are a cat breeder yourself and can’t spay or neuter your pet, we’ll have some tips for securing your home later in this list.
5. Use a Cat Tracker
For extra protection against theft, consider adding a GPS tracker to your cat’s collar. Several different options are available that can usually be linked to your phone, allowing you to monitor your cat’s location in real-time. You’ll be able to catch suspicious movements early. If your cat is stolen and the thief removes the tracker, you can still find the last known location, which may help the authorities find your pet.
6. Be Extra Cautious When Moving
Moving can be stressful for both cats and humans. It’s also a common time for indoor cats to slip outside and potentially get stolen. Doors are often left propped open and unsecured while movers are coming in and out. Keep your cat safely locked away on moving day to prevent escape.
Once you’re settled in your new house, it may take your kitty a few days or even longer to accept the new location. Until they do, even a previously content indoor cat may try to slip outside, thinking they can travel back to their old home.
7. Secure Your Home
Protecting your cat from being stolen often means taking security precautions around your home. This could be as simple as never leaving doors or windows unlocked, to installing a full home security system. Consider placing motion-activated lights outside to catch any thieves in the act of sneaking up on your house. Video doorbells are now a common sight in many locations. If your cat only lives indoors, keeping them safe means keeping your whole house guarded.
8. Don’t Let Your Cat Outside Unsupervised
If your cat won’t stop pestering you for outside time but you don’t want to run the risk of them being stolen, try offering supervised outdoor playtime. Get your cat a leash and harness to keep them close and spend time outside together. Another option is to bring your cat out in a fenced yard or patio, but only when you can keep an eye on them.
Even if you think your cat can’t get out of your yard, don’t leave them out without supervision. They can probably climb higher than you think—or worse, a thief could climb in. Make sure to keep gates closed and locked as well.
9. Use a House or Pet Sitter Whenever You Leave Town
Unoccupied houses are prime targets for all kinds of thieves, including those trying to steal your cat. To help protect your kitty and your other belongings, use a house or pet sitter whenever you leave town. If you don’t have any friends or neighbors to perform this task, look into local petsitting services, or you can even ask if any of your veterinarian’s staff sit as a side job.
Sitters not only keep your kitty company, but also keep an eye on your house, water plants, and collect mail to keep your home looking occupied. Some petsitters will even stay overnight if you’re comfortable with that.
10. Keep Outdoor Spaces Covered and Contained
Another option to keep your cat safe from being stolen is to make sure any outdoor spaces they occupy are completely covered and securely contained. For example, an enclosed cat patio, or “catio”, makes a great solution for your cat to enjoy some fresh air without being vulnerable to theft. A security fence and locked gates also help keep your kitty’s outside time secure. Only allowing your cat to use enclosed spaces also helps keep birds and wildlife safe from your pet, the super predator.
While it’s not possible to protect your cat from every possible danger, you can still do your best to avoid as many threats as possible. These 10 tips offer an excellent guide for how to prevent your cat from being stolen and also give yourself some peace of mind at the same time. Knowing you’re already prepared can help ease some of the anxiety and worry you might feel about your cat’s safety.
Featured Image Credit: MINDSTEEL, Pixabay