Cat caretakers are constantly attempting to keep outside cats safe. But let's face it; it's dangerous outside!
Whether you stay in a city or somewhere rural, cats with outdoor accessibility have a lower average lifespan than indoor-only cats.
However, some cats can't or will not live inside with humans. So what do you do? You learn how to keep your cats safe! Or rather, safer.
So if keeping a cat fully indoor is not an option for you, here are some tips that might help!
TNR Your Colony Cats
Cats that have their reproductive organs have reproductive urges. And these urges make life outside much more dangerous. Did you know that neutering the cats you feed outdoors helps make them safer?
Which behaviors are riskier?
- Felines roam for miles to seek prospective mates. It's an obsession that can lead them to walk across many busy roads, wander the wild, or enter unsafe environments.
- Intact male cats fight. They fight a lot, and they do it viciously. Cat attacks or scrapes get infected, which might cause severe infection, sepsis, and abscesses—each one might be fatal if left unattended.
- Intact cats, particularly men, have a high chance of infection with Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV) or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Both of these viruses are lethal. Both of these infections are spread primarily by deep bite wounds and mating. Attacking and mating most often occur between unfixed cats in the nest. And intact men will spread it to the various other cats in the community.
- Kittens die. Kittens are small, vulnerable, and can easily succumb to harsh environments. 75% of kittens don't make it six months.
These behaviors are considerably reduced or eliminated when cats are fixed. TNR helps prevent many avoidable deaths!
Microchip Your Cats
Microchipping your cat when you get them neutered. This will help stop them from being euthanized as unwanted feral felines at shelters.
Microchips will also help your outdoor cats if they are ever found. Nothing is even worse than knowing someone had seen the cat you have been missing for three months, but because they weren't chipped, you never got a phone call, and it's now too late.
This will likewise shield the cat from people who randomly catch free-roaming cats to dispose of at the shelter. At the very least, the shelter will call and let you know.
Confine Cats At Night
No, I don't mean in your home. However, if that is doable, go for it!
Animals will creep around your house or building at night! A lot of predation of cats occurs at night. That's because many wild animals also avoid humans.
Animals that can kill cats include, however, are not limited to, the following:
- Birds of Prey, like eagles, hawks, and owls.
- Mountain lions
A number of these predators usually are crepuscular. Crepuscular means that these animals are most active around dusk and dawn—and yes, this includes cats! Cats are not nocturnal. They're crepuscular.
Stopping your cat from strolling about at night, you help reduce opportunities for them to get into fights! It is for barn felines, though! If you feed huge swarms of cats, there might be better choices for you.
How To Get Feral Cats to Come to You at Night
Feeding schedules are essential for this. You can feed your colony at least twice daily: one in the early morning and once at night. See to it that to include the wet food at the nighttime feeding, even if you cannot include wet food during the morning.
You can use the wet food to lure your cat colony into your structure of choice, whether it's your garage, barn, or shed.
Lock them in with comfy coverings, feline beds, and litter boxes.
Collars Can Also Help
If you're worried somebody will steal or harm the feline, collars could be a good suggestion if they are breakaway collars designed for cats. This can be helpful if neighbors are near enough to confuse your barn cats for a new colony forming. People are also more likely to look for an owner if a cat has a collar.
Breakaway collars are designed to break apart if it ever gets caught on a tree branch or something to ensure that the cat can escape, rather than strangling themselves.
However, if that is not a concern for you, I would not collar any outdoor cat.
High Places Can Help them Escape
You want your cats to have access to shelves, trees, or ledges so they can jump up off the ground to escape ground predators. You can help your cat by preparing these environments for them!
You can get shelves or make your racks or steps with timber!
Whatever location you go for, whether it's wood steps built right into a barn wall, the main thing is that it will allow the cats access places high off the ground.
Catios and Cat Houses Cat Fences
Lots of cat caretakers with yards will build or purchase fancy catios for their ferals! If you have a couple of felines living in your yard, this is a great alternative to allow them to run loose.
Another way to keep your outside felines safer can include changing the fence around your yard to ensure that cats can not go out! Or put a cat fence around your entire yard. It's also a great route for individuals who feel they can't keep their cats indoors but do not want them to roam.
Cat Sanctuaries and Shelters
Cat sanctuaries and shelters can help by providing small hiding spots for felines to sleep safely and protect against extreme climates and temperatures. It's especially beneficial in wintertime!
Cat doors will help provide your barn cats or feral cats accessibility to indoor safety. Cat doors can have flaps or without them. Some can be locked. Still, some will only open for microchipped cats!
You can set up cat doors on windows, tack room doors, garage doors, and even walls!
Cat GPS trackers will mean that your cat collar will have a transmitter. It may be bulky, so fair warning for that.
A GPS tracker is used to locate your pet. You will usually need a phone application to track where your cat is. The ranges will depend on the capacities of the tracker. Some are very advanced; some use Bluetooth for tracking, which makes it somewhat limited.
I hope this blog gave you ideas on how to keep your outside cats away from harm. Do you have other ways to make exterior cats safer? Leave a comment below, and help other cat lovers out!