Ask Hopeful Henry: Help your pets deal with the outdoors
Dear Henry: Just moved to the Lake and have a cat. He is used to going outside. How do you feel about outside cats up here?
Dear Bill: Thank you for bringing up this important point. In my opinion this is not the environment for anyone’s cat to be an outdoor pet. First and foremost we have wild animals that like to eat cats! Coyotes are a cat’s number one wild animal threat and countless cats sadly become dinner for our local coyotes. You can’t blame the coyotes; this is their home too and they are just doing what they do to survive. In addition to that, here are some other very valid reasons cats should be indoor pets:
Cars — Cars hit thousands of cats every year. If they are lucky, they die instantly.
Car engines — Cats seek warmth. In the winter they tend to climb up inside car engines where they can be subsequently ground up.
Anti-freeze — Cats like the sweet taste of anti-freeze, and they will lick it if able. Anti-freeze is extremely toxic and your cat will die a painful death within hours of ingesting it. It can take less than a teaspoon to kill a full-size cat or dog!
Poisoning — There are people who don’t like cats and will set out poison on their property. Others may put poison out to get rid of other wildlife that wanders onto their property and your cat may accidentally ingest it. There is also unintentional poisoning by pesticides, lawn products, etc.
FELV — Feline leukemia destroys a cat’s immune system. It is transmitted through body fluids. Even a sneeze can pass the virus from one cat to another. Most people don’t know that the vaccine for FELV is only 70 to 75 percent effective. Cats infected usually die within two years.
FIV — Feline Immunosuppressive Virus also destroys a cat’s immune system. It is transmitted through body fluids and cuts a cat’s lifespan in half. There is no vaccination for FIV.
FIP — Feline Infectious Peritonitis. FIP is always 100 percent fatal. Tests and vaccines for FIP are not reliable.
Animal Abuse — Cats are often shot with BB guns; burned with lighters, firecrackers; tortured by people causing loss of limbs, eyes, etc.
Starving to death — People think that because they have lived in the same house for a number of years that their cat is too smart to wander off and get lost. Not true. People also think that because their cat has never left the front yard that it won’t go farther. Not true.
Getting Trapped — Your cat could get lost in somebody else’s garage or utility shed. He could suffer brain damage if trapped in extreme heat or could suffer frostbite if trapped in extreme cold.
Research labs — Your cat could get stolen and sold to a research lab. This practice does go on! In fact, there was a lot of dog/cat stealing going on right here only a couple years ago.
Parasitic infections — Your cat could eat something (rat, mouse, bird) and die of a parasitic infection.
Fleas, ticks, worms, ringworm — Your cat could transmit these to other pets and people in the household.
Drowning — Your cat could accidentally fall in a swimming pool and drown.
Steel-jaw traps — People who live in the country think it’s great to let cats out to roam. But many times domestic dogs and cats get caught in steel-jaw traps intended for other animals.
Spraying — When cats go outside they smell other cats’ territorial markings. This may prompt your cat to start spraying inside the house to mark his territory.
Hope you take my advice and keep your cat indoors.
Reminder to all dog lovers: Come join us Saturday at Bijou Park for our second annual Save a Pet fundraiser and barbecue. It will be a good time for the whole family, including your pup. All dogs on leash, please.
Need some pet advise? Ask Hopeful Henry. You can ask your questions via Facebook just “friend” Hopeful Henry or email hopefulhenryLTHS@gmail.com or you can write to him care of The Lake Tahoe Humane Society & S.P.C.A P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA.
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