Dangers to your pets

October 29 is National Cat Day. Let’s talk critters!

cat box under stairsSingle family houses have no restrictions to your life with cats. Almost any house has a spot for the litter box. But, the neighborhood could pose some threats, if you allow your kitties to go outside. If you have outdoor cats, consider checking on these things:

Busy roads nearby: Annually, 5.4 million cats are killed by cars. According to Earth Caretaker, cats act unexpectedly around cars. They know to wait until the headlights pass, but they confuse the lights with the whole car, and will dash across the street and under the back wheels as the car goes by.

Wildlife: Wildlife is moving into suburban and urban areas. Over the course of the past ten years or so, coyote and turkey have joined skunk, raccoon, opossum, and squirrel as common critters found in populated areas.

Coyotes are night-time animals and pose a threat to your cat. They prey on small animals, including domestic cats. If you have an outdoor cat that does not reliably come home at dark, find out if there are coyotes in the areas you are house-hunting in. If you move there, you may need to have a power-struggle with your cat, for his or her own good.

Turkeys won’t bother your cat unless they are nesting. Same is true of raccoons. They do not hunt cats, but if the cat approaches raccoon kits, the mother could attack. Most outdoor cats are naturally smart enough to avoid these animals.

Opossums are about the size of cats and will fight if food or babies are threatened. Cats are faster, see better and are unlikely to get hurt.

squirrelSquirrels: Cats are more likely to hunt and hurt a squirrel than a squirrel is to voluntarily have anything to do with your cat.

Skunks will spray a cat, if the cat is too curious. This is not life-threatening, but annoying. There is a quick fix that I was taught by a grooming place some years back. Instead of tomato juice (which stains white fur to pink), a cat can be cleaned with baking soda, dish soap and peroxide. My cat annoyed a skunk; I tried it; it worked.

Condos can have restrictions in the Condo Association rules that limit the number or size of pets. If you have a beloved pet or intend to adopt after purchase, this is a rule you need to check before making an offer.

cat ignores miceNote about critters indoors: Do not assume that your cat will instinctively catch mice. Some don’t even try. Some try and fail. Some try, then bring the wounded critter inside to play. Some leave their hunting trophies on your doorstep.