Your Pet Question:
We have a house cat (not de-clawed) who always wants to get outside. We feel guilty. Should we let him out? We’re worried he’ll get hit by a car or taken into another home. He’s extremely cute and we would not want to lose him!
Julie Palmese, Hamilton, Ontario
The Expert Says:
Many house cats are intent on going outside especially when the weather is nice. But there are many health risks to cats that are free to roam. If you have a back yard I would suggest building a ‘cat run’ which is a large enclosed cat- escape-proof area. It can be connected to the house via a tunnel-a large under or above ground pipe with a cat door– or if not physically connected to the house, you bring your cat out there in its carrying case. If that’s not an option, growing cat grass, providing tunnels and interesting hiding places and using Feliway to reduce its natural need to mark territory, will make its indoor experience more rewarding. Some cats do well on a leash if trained young, but ensure that you use a body halter not a choke collar in case it gets spooked and tries to escape it. And remember, the more you let your cat outside the more it will want to go outside! So if you cannot let it out on a regular basis by some safe method, then it’s best to keep it in.”
Altina Wickstrom, DVM, CCRT, Acadia Veterinary Clinic, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan