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Your cat’s lifestyle: in or out

Being a cat owner includes looking out for the behavioral and social needs of one’s feline friend. For some, this means their cat will live exclusively indoors. For others, a hybrid indoor-outdoor lifestyle fits better.

All pets that venture outdoors should be properly collared and tagged, as well as microchipped. A microchip is the safest and best way for a lost animal to be returned to its owner. A found cat can be taken to any vet clinic or humane society, scanned, and the owner contacted by the chip service. Talk to your veterinarian about the microchip process.

Traffic is always a concern. If you live on or near a busy street, an indoor-outdoor lifestyle is a higher risk. Additionally, most domestic cats are adapted to temperatures that we consider normal. But when extreme cold or hot weather is expected, err on the side of caution and keep your cat indoors.

Another consideration is what your cat may ingest while outdoors, such as antifreeze, rat bait, toxic plants or chemicals. If your cat shows symptoms of a poisonous ingestion, contact your local emergency vet immediately.

Finally, think about other animals that your cat could encounter outside. In the Willamette Valley, these include deer, turkeys, squirrels, birds, bobcats, mountain lions, dogs and other cats. Abscesses, bite wounds and crush injuries are common at our emergency facility.

While the safest environment for cats is indoors, for many cats, a healthy social and emotional environment includes time both inside and outside. Harness and leash sets offer a way to safely explore the outdoors with your cat, and enclosed “catios” offer the best of both worlds.


Wilvet South 24/7 urgent care 444 B Street, Springfield, OR 97477

Erica Harmon, DVM


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