If you’re like me, your cats aren’t just pets, they’re family and the thought of anything happening to them doesn’t just break your heart – it shatters it. Obviously, the same is true of any furry or feathered family member – cat, dog, bird, rabbit, guinea pig… For that matter, some beloved pets don’t even have fur or feathers. Iguana parents can relate to that.
We provide our pets with clean water, healthy food, warmth, comfort, and love. We also want to make sure that our pet doesn’t wander off, get lost, or “taken” from us. Below are a few tips to, hopefully, keep you from ever having to search for your pet – because finding a small animal in a large world is as tough as it is painful.
Tips for Keeping Your Inside Cat INSIDE!
Cats, by nature, are uncommonly nosy. If they hear, smell, or see something intriguing, there’s just no way they can keep from investigating. My experience with cats has taught me that if you have an inside cat, it’s best to make her exclusively an inside cat – as in NO trips outdoors. Over the years, we have always had one (sometimes two) cats who live indoors and at least one who calls the yard and carport home.
If your cat (or dog) is an inside pet, your chances for ever needing a LOST PET sign are just about as low as they can possibly get. To make the odds EVEN more in your favor, here are a few suggestions.
- During warm weather, double check all window and door screens, then double check them again. Look for tears and looseness. Be sure that a pet couldn’t budge the screen by leaning against it.
- Before bringing in groceries (or anything that’ll take both hands), make sure your pet isn’t just on the other side of the door. When one of a cat’s “parents” returns home, she’s instantly excited. Most will meet their humans at the door – and when the door opens, their excitement might just cause them to dart outside. One of the scariest moments of my life was when one of my inside cats did just that. She ran out the back door just as I opened it. Luckily, the sights and sounds of the outdoors caused her to turn around and run right back inside (just as I was about to drop every bag of groceries on the back steps!). The first thing I do, now, when I come home is open the door, greet Alexa (our inside cat) and place her on her favorite window perch – right where she can see me bringing in all of the groceries. She loves nothing more than overseeing a great adventure like that.
- Be sure everyone who comes and goes knows to look out for your pet. Be sure everyone knows that – whether they’re coming or leaving – the door needs to be promptly closed behind them.If you have to say something along the lines of, “If you let my cat outdoors, I’ll break both your kneecaps…” so be it.
- Even if your cat is an inside cat – and has no contact with other cats – strongly consider having him or her spayed or neutered. Pets who have not been spayed or neutered always have breeding on mind. They will be more interested in getting outside than a “fixed” cat will be.
Tips for Keeping an Outside Cat In Her Own Yard!
- The most important tip for keeping your outside cat from running away is the tip we just looked at in the group above – get your cat spayed or neutered. A cat who has not been spayed or neutered will – not just might – WILL wander off in search of a mate. Especially males. You may think, “There aren’t any other cats in the surrounding area…” but there simply are no exceptions to this rule. Un-spayed and Un-neutered cats will wander off in search of their number one urge – breeding. It’s how they were designed and it doesn’t mean they don’t love their home and love you even more – it simply means they’re a cat! If you want your cat to stick close to home, make an appointment with the veterinarian today. It’ll also cut out the visits your female cat would otherwise receive from “Tom.”
- Provide your outside cat with everything she needs for comfort and safety – clean and fresh water, food, a comfortable bed, and plenty of places she can climb or jump on to feel safe from unexpected visitors.
Special Tips for Kittens!
If you have kittens, outdoors, pay VERY special attention to where each one is at all times. These little buggers WILL crawl up into your vehicle and – if they live through the trip – may end up miles away from home. I had this happen once with a beautiful little kitten named Bo and I’m pretty sure it took years off of my life, my husband’s life, and at least one daughter’s life. The story had a happy ending – but he rode about 5 or 6 miles away from home while (somehow) up inside my Dodge Caravan. Late that night, as it was beginning to storm, I went out to make sure the momma cat “Carly” and her babies were all in their carport bed safe from the storm. When I saw that one (“Bo”) was missing, panic set in – just as the storm did. We began looking everywhere around the property, only to realize what had happened. We drove to where I’d gone earlier in the evening and asked everyone in the vicinity (each store, each restaurant…) if they’d seen a tiny white-ish kitten. FINALLY, someone said they’d seen one earlier beside Taco Bell. I found him crouched down, scared out of his wits, beneath a tree beside the Taco Bell. I was scared he’d bolt – because his nerves were shot out (we live in a “rural, country” setting far different from all the lights and sounds he now found himself in). I begged my heart to quit racing so he’d think I was calm and I was able to 1/2 crawl, 1/2 walk to him and scoop him up. My youngest daughter didn’t put him down for a week.
If you have kittens in your family, give yourself at least 10 extra minutes before leaving and do a “head count” before ever starting the car. I also tapped on the hood of the vehicle before pulling out as well. Crazy thing is, that particular night, I tapped and banged as usual and no kitten came out. Apparently “Taco Bo” was sound asleep!
Keeping pets safe and keeping them from wandering off is a lot like keeping children safe. You pretty much have to look at every possible scenario, then do everything in your power to prevent it. You have to think like they would and look at the world from their viewpoint.