1st Pet News

Six Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Cat Healthy and Happy

If you own an outdoor cat, you may not realize that outdoor cats tend to face more risks than indoor cats. Outdoor cats face several risks when they explore the world beyond their home. Predators, traffic, and even other cats can pose significant dangers to their safety. Additionally, outdoor cats are at a higher risk of contracting diseases, such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia virus (FeLV), which are spread through contact with infected cats. They are also more susceptible to parasites like fleas, ticks, and worms. While these dangers seem scary, you shouldn’t be afraid for your outdoor cat because there are steps you can take to help keep them safe while they enjoy the great outdoors. Read on to learn about six ways you can help your outdoor cat stay healthy and happy.


Regular Vet Checkups

Just like indoor cats, outdoor cats need regular checkups with a veterinarian to ensure they are healthy. Outdoor cats can easily come into contact with various parasites and diseases from their environment. Three common concerns include:

  1. Fleas: These tiny parasites can cause itching, irritation, and in severe cases, anemia. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms to cats.
  2. Ticks: Ticks can transmit several diseases to cats, including Lyme disease, which can cause fever, lameness, and swollen joints.
  3. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): This disease affects a cat’s immune system, leaving them vulnerable to other infections. It is primarily spread through bite wounds from other infected cats.

Outdoor cats may be exposed to more parasites and diseases, so it’s important to keep up with vaccinations and preventive medications. Your vet can also provide tips on keeping your outdoor cat safe and healthy.


Provide Proper Nutrition

Outdoor cats are typically more active than indoor cats, so they may have different nutritional needs. Make sure to feed your outdoor cat a high-quality diet that meets their specific needs. Don’t leave food out for too long.  After a short time, bugs such as flies and ants may get into the food, Additionally, make sure your cat has access to fresh water at all times, especially during hot weather.  Be sure to keep the water in places that will remain cool or at least shaded throughout the day.


Provide Shelter

Outdoor cats need a safe place to rest and seek shelter from the elements. Make sure your cat has access to a warm, dry shelter where they can curl up and relax. You can provide a shelter specifically designed for outdoor cats or create a cozy spot in your garage or shed.


Monitor Their Behavior

Keep an eye on your outdoor cat’s behavior and look for any changes that may indicate they are not feeling well. Cats excel at concealing illness, making it crucial to monitor any alterations in their eating patterns, litter box behavior, or general disposition. Should you observe any worrisome changes, make an appointment or walk in as an emergency at your nearest 1st Pet location.


Provide Environmental Enrichment

Outdoor cats thrive on stimulation and enrichment, so make sure your cat has plenty of toys, scratching posts, and other forms of entertainment. You can also provide a cat-friendly garden with plants that are safe for cats to nibble on. This will keep your cat mentally stimulated and help prevent boredom and stress.


Stay Up-to-Date on Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks are common parasites that can pose a threat to outdoor cats. Make sure to stay up-to-date on flea and tick prevention medications to help protect your cat from these pests. You can also use natural remedies, such as diatomaceous earth, to help keep fleas and ticks at bay.


Keeping your outdoor cat healthy and happy requires a combination of proper care, supervision, and preventive measures. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can help ensure that your outdoor cat stays safe and enjoys their time outside. Remember, regular vet checkups, proper nutrition, shelter, monitoring behavior, environmental enrichment, and flea and tick prevention are all key factors in keeping your outdoor cat healthy. If you notice that your cat isn’t feeling well, reach out to 1st Pet Veterinary Centers and schedule an appointment for your cat today!