The truth is there is no 100% way to keep your outdoor cat safe from other cats. There will always be a risk to the cat when introducing your cat to an environment as volatile as the outdoors. That said, if your cat has an insatiable wanderlust, there are some risk mitigation strategies you can employ to keep your cat as safe as it can be.
The 5 Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Cat Safe From Other Cats
1. Assess the Risk Honestly
Look around outside for a bit. What’s the traffic in the area like? What other animals live nearby? What other people live nearby? Remember that a free-roaming outdoor cat will probably roam in an area of a few acres if let free, and honestly ask yourself, “Is it safe?”
Take a walk around your neighborhood and look around at your surroundings. High-traffic areas and places with lots of dogs or other stray or free-roaming cats will be inherently less safe than areas than relatively quiet residential neighborhoods.
Densely wooded areas are particularly unsafe because your cat may run into a predator like a coyote or an owl that they might not see as often in an urban setting.
Cats that roam will encounter other cats with whom they may fight, causing wounds and contracting infectious diseases. Traffic accidents are a genuine worry as well. If you do decide to let your cat outside, get them neutered or spayed first, as that will significantly reduce their need for roaming, particularly in males, not to mention it will reduce the risk of them catching disease and save you from caring for a litter of kittens if you have a female.
2. Consider Buying or Building a Catio
Catios are the best of both worlds for cats with wanderlust. The catio is a bougie introduction for people with cats who want to enjoy the great outdoors. Catio owners will buy or build an enclosure for their cats to enjoy outdoors.
The enclosure keeps them from wandering too far, protects them from the dangers of the outdoors, but still allows them some of the freedom they desire. They get to feel the wind in their fur and bask in the grass from the safety of their enclosed catio.
3. Take Your Cat for a Walk
Dogs aren’t the only animals that can walk on a leash! If a catio is too expensive or space-intensive, you can try taking your cat for a walk on a leash and see if that helps ease your kitty’s wanderlust.
When walking your cat, it’s recommended that you put your cat on a harness rather than a collar. Cat collars are often breakaway, and if your cat spooks, the collar is made to break apart to avoid choking the cat and setting the cat free.
Once you have your cat harnessed up and on a leash, you can start the walk inside the home with some treats, or in the back or front yard and see how your cat handles the noise and external stimuli. You may find that your cat’s desire for freedom is sated just by taking them out for a walk in the backyard with a leash!
Take plenty of time to train your cat on wearing a harness and having a lead attached so that they feel comfortable and confident during their walks.
4. Have a Kitty Curfew
A lot of the greatest dangers for your outdoor cat are awake at night. From other cats to coyotes to predator birds, the majority of a cat’s natural enemies are locked and loaded at night. While stray dogs can be a problem for cats during the day, it would probably be better to get a catio or take your cat for a supervised walk if your area has a big problem with stray dogs.
A kitty curfew can be a little hard to enforce since your cat will roam on their own and want to come home when they please. However, you can get your cat into a routine by feeding them on a regular schedule. If your cat is used to getting a special meal at a particular time, they’ll come and find you for it, and you can bring them inside.
5. Have a GPS Collar on Your Cat
If your cat is insisting on roaming free, you can get a collar with a GPS tracker on it. It won’t protect them from other cats, but it could help you find your cat if they went missing and could be the difference between life and death for them if they need medical attention.
Especially if your cat is free-roaming, a microchip isn’t always enough to ensure their safety but will help vets and shelter workers locating an owner if a cat is found injured or lost. You’ll want to be able to get a quick read on your cat’s location if you’re worried about them, and GPS can be a great option for some cats.
If you have a kitty with wanderlust or adopted a stray who is used to a life of freedom, you’ll have to work with your cat to see what works best for them. Sometimes letting your cat out isn’t a viable option, and that’s okay too! It really is the only way to keep them safe, although cats can get into trouble inside the home too. It’s essential to do what’s best for the health of your kitty, even if they don’t understand right away that it’s for their safety.
There are plenty of ways to ensure they get their physical exercise and mental stimulation indoors, it may just require some more thinking through and planning, but your cat will appreciate your efforts.
Next on your reading list:
- Tractive Cat GPS Review: Is Tractive GPS a Good Value? Our Expert’s Opinion
- How to Keep Stray Cats Away From Your House
Featured Image Credit: CLAUDIA BE, Pixabay