Cats may be animals, but so many centuries of serving as domesticated pets has spoiled them. Cats today have become much more sensitive to the wild than the rest of the animal kingdom. Fleas, ticks, and other critters can quickly and quietly become a serious problem if your cat is outside often.

If you have outdoor cats, be sure to discourage pests such as coyotes, possums and raccoons by bringing cat food indoors at night. Feed your cats first thing in the morning, and make sure there is no food left at nightfall. This will keep your cats safe from attack and illness.

Have your cat spayed or neutered. Pet overpopulation is a growing problem, with millions of homeless cats and kittens euthanized every year. Besides the problem of too many kittens and not enough homes, unfixed cats can have a multitude of behavior problems. Males who are not neutered at a young age often start spraying to mark their territory, and females who are allowed to come into heat yowl incessantly as they try to escape to find a mate. Kittens can begin to breed as early as 4 months of age, so get your new kitten spayed or neutered as soon as possible.

Do not assume that because a medication is okay for you to take, that it is safe for your cat as well. Many medications made for humans are lethal to cats, such as acetaminophen containing drugs and aspirin. Always check with your veterinarian before you give your cat anything.

Get a scratching post to keep your cat from tearing up your carpet. If you can, get a post that does not have the same type of carpet that is on the floor of your home, so your cat doesn’t associate the two. Instead, get a post that is covered in cardboard, sisal, or thick rope.

Animal Control

Keep track of your feline friend by having the animal microchipped. This small device is implanted beneath the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. Microchip implantation may sting for a few seconds, but the implant is otherwise unnoticeable and will not cause your pet any discomfort. This chip makes it easier for animal control to locate your cat if it goes missing.

Dog

Create a warm bed for an outdoor or feral cat by lining a banana box with a thick layer of newspaper. Cut a piece of Mylar to fit the bottom of the box. Put another layer of newspaper on top. Add a warm blanket. Place the whole box inside a dog house or under a porch where it can’t get wet.

Never use any product intended for dogs on a cat. Some can be quite dangerous, and even deadly, when used on a cat. Flea products can be especially harmful. Your cat can die when exposed to flea prevention items made for dogs. After getting the dog treated, keep the cat away for many hours.

The outside world doesn’t need to be a scary place for you or your cat. These tips should help keep your new pet safe from infections, poisonous wildlife, and other dangerous animals. If your cat can’t seem to escape some constant disturbance outside, it may need to spend more time indoors instead.