Being a responsible cat owner is an important part of being a good neighbour. It keeps your cat safe, helps reduce the number of unowned cats in our community, and it’s better for wildlife and the environment.
Responsible cat ownership involves giving your cat the food, water, shelter and veterinary care your cat needs, as well as:
- Keeping your cat from roaming outdoors unsupervised (for example: on a leash or in an enclosure or carrier if they are off your property)
- spaying or neutering your cat
- picking up after your cat if it defecates on or off your property
Outdoor dangers: Wandering alone outdoors is dangerous for cats: just like dogs, cats need supervision to be protected from traffic, other cats and animals, toxins and poisons, and the many diseases and parasites they can catch.
Despite popular belief, cats do not need to go outdoors or roam. The District of Sechelt recommends keeping your cat indoors because indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. Indoor cats can live up to 20 years and the average lifespan for an outdoor cat is two to five years.A harness and leash or a cat enclosure called a catio can be used if you want your cat to go outside.
Diseases affecting outdoor cats include feline leukemia, FIV
and distemper, among others. Parasites include fleas, ticks, earmites and
intestinal worms. Many toxins, such as antifreeze and rat poison, taste good to
cats, and they can be poisoned if they simply drink from a puddle.
Protect wildlife: Canada’s bird populations are under enormous stress from the impacts of climate change and habitat loss, and it’s important that we do everything we can to help them, including protecting them from our cats.
Your cat can have everything they needs to be safe, happy and fulfilled, without having to face the dangers of the outdoors alone.
Spaying or neutering: Responsible cat owners ensure their cats are spayed or neutered to prevent overpopulation and make healthier pets.
Guidelines for happy indoor cats:
- Play with your cat to give him exercise.
- Provide safe cat toys, scratch posts and cat trees.
- Groom and have your cat’s claws trimmed regularly.
- Provide cat grass for your cat to chew on.
- Set up a place where your cat can sit to look outside.
- Consider the companionship of a second cat.
- Clean litter boxes regularly.