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4 Summer Safety Tips for Cats

The scorching summer heat isn’t the only danger cats have to contend with. Here are four summer safety tips to keep your cats happy and safe on a trip to the country.

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Summer Safety Tips For Cats: Cat sleeping on carPhoto: Shutterstock

How do I take the drama out of the drive?

“You want [your cat] to be secure, in a large enough carrier that they can stand up, and with something on the bottom so they’re not sliding around,” says Nicole Baran, owner of the Sudbury Regional Cat Hospital. When it comes to summer safety tips for cats, tuck in a favourite blanket or a soft towel for comfort. “Certain cats also like the crate covered because the sight of things whipping past can be stressful.” And think twice about serving breakfast. “Some will get motion sickness,” Baran warns. If your trip is long, opt for a crate that can accommodate a small litter box and some water.

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Cat sitting outside of cottagePhoto: Shutterstock

Should I let my cat outside at the cottage?

Most vets suggest containment, or at least curtailment. By contrast, Margie Scherk, a Vancouver-based feline-veterinary specialist says, “I’m a big believer in letting cats out at the cottage, but I think you have to be out there with them.” You can also blend the safety of the indoors with the excitement of the natural environment by building a safe enclosure or a screened-in porch at the cottage. A leash and harness work well for controlled outings, she says. But the leash needs someone on the other end. “I cringe when people just stake their cat outside,” says Scherk. “They can’t protect themselves.”

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Cat sitting on tree branchPhoto: Shutterstock

What are the dangers my cat could face?

There are a range of diseases and predators in the country, where cats can be targets for coyotes, fishers and owls. Even if your feline is confined indoors, rabies is a concern. “Make sure your cat’s vaccines are up to date,” says Baran. “You could have a bat in the cottage that you’re not aware of.” Mice might keep your pet entertained but they can pass on parasites such as tapeworm and roundworm.

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Cat bird watching on windowsill Photo: Shutterstock

Are cats a threat to birds?

A big one. In Canada, cats kill about 200 million birds per year-more than all other human-related causes of death combined. “Birds are pretty good at sussing out predation risk, but if the cat isn’t there when they’re choosing where to nest, they might be more naive,” says Richard Elliot, a scientist emeritus with Environment and Climate Change Canada. He doesn’t believe putting a brightly coloured collar or a bell on a cat effectively warns birds. In addition to keeping cats indoors, he suggests supervised outings on a leash.

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