A family of new cat-owners wrote for ideas on how to keep their cat safe. I had some ideas that might help, and might help you and your cats, too!

Q: We’re new to cats. What should we know about keeping ours safe?

A: We always hear that cats have nine lives, but my fellow veterinarians and I know that’s not true. Prevention is key. Here’s my best advice on keeping them safe and healthy.

Don’t let your cat roam outdoors. Free-roaming cats are at risk of getting lost or closed in a neighbor’s garage or shed; hit by a car crossing the street or run over in your driveway because you didn’t see them; attacked or killed by a coyote or a neighbor’s loose dog; or infection or disease from fighting with another cat. If you want them to experience the pleasures of being outdoors, build a catio.

Cats who have access to the garage may climb up into the car engine, lured by warmth and that interesting ticking sound made by metal components as they cool. Thump the hood every time before getting in the car and starting it to give a sleeping cat a chance to exit. This can also wake up a cat who’s sleeping underneath your car.

Inside the house, always check inside your dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer before starting them. Cats love to get inside enclosed spaces, especially if they’re warm, like the dryer. I know of too many instances where people started these appliances without realizing their cat was inside.

Cats love toys with a lure dangling from a string. They’re great for providing a cat with exercise, but put them away when playtime is over. Cats often swallow strings, yarn, thread and the plastic ties around newspapers, to name just a few of the linear objects that can cause obstructions and require surgical intervention. Don’t leave out knitting, sewing or craft supplies that might look like playthings to your cat — and face it, everything looks like a toy to a cat.

There’s more in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.

The post Tips and tricks to keep your cat safe appeared first on Dr. Marty Becker.

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