There are plenty of ways to make your cat’s outdoor adventures safer and happier for all involved. Having your cat wear an elastic collar or a break-away safety collar with a tag is a simple way to let your neighbors know your cat has a home and does not need any extra food. Most cat owners put their phone number and cat’s name on the tag, but many who let their cats outside also engrave phrases like “Special Diet-Do Not Feed,” “I like to be outside,” or “I live near Railroad Park – Please leave me alone” on the other side of the tag.
To keep them safe from traffic and predators at night, you can train your cat to come home when called by using high value treats. This way you can get them inside during high traffic times and before it gets dark. The best way for your cat to have the best of both worlds is to walk your cat on a harness, or to build an enclosed “catio.”
Cats are born to hunt, but unfortunately that can have devastating consequences for local wildlife. Having your cat wear a “CatBib” can reduce their kills by 87%. It is still entirely possible that they can catch their prey with this addition to their collars, but it is the only product likely to reduce the number of successful hunts.
As a neighbor to outdoor cats, you may have had the urge to befriend the local feline population by feeding them. It’s fun when they visit, but unless you have talked to the owner to check for special diet requirements such as allergies or other restrictions it’s best to leave feeding food and treats to the owner of the cat. Feeding a cat without owner permission could make the cat sick or obese and the owners will not know why. This practice can also lead to cats straying.
As an animal lover, you may run into a situation where you consider trapping a cat. When planning to trap a cat it is important to check with people living in the area to make sure the cat does not belong to someone. Once the trap is set it is possible you could end up trapping an unintended cat like a feral cat, a nursing momma, or a stray cat who needs medical attention. It is important to have a plan for every instance which might mean paying for care out of pocket and fostering it yourself until you can find its home, or after making a report with the Jackson County Animal Shelter and waiting 30 days, finding it a new home. Please also take into consideration that, especially after the fires, local animal rescues’ resources are stretched so thin that they may not be able to take in cats.