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Dr. Barbara
Dr. Barbara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 1614
Experience:  Thirty years experience in small animal medicine and surgery.
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Should I let my two rescue cats go outside, I have read lots

Customer Question

Should I let my two rescue cats go outside, I have read lots of conflicting information and am totally confused and frightened to death about the whole experience?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 3 years ago.
Dr. Barbara :

Hi, Welcome to JustAnswer. I am a licensed veterinarian and I'm happy to help you Lupo and Orso. This is a great question and several things need to be considered. First these guys need to be neutered 6-8 weeks before going outdoors. Cats that aren't neutered instinctually will seek out unspayed females and often end up in fights, are run over by cars, are exposed to different diseases, and sometimes get lost. I imagine they are already neutered, so it is very important to wait the 6-8 weeks afterward to allow all testosterone to be eliminated from the blood stream.

Dr. Barbara :

Secondly, you want to make sure that indoor/outdoor kitties are protected from ectoparasites (like fleas and ticks) and are receiving heartworm preventative if that is recommended by your vet there in your area.

Dr. Barbara :

Thirdly, you don't want to let kitties outdoors until you are 100% convinced that they call your home their home. . .that they know where their food is and are part of your family.

Dr. Barbara :

Finally, you need to consider your outdoor environment. Do you live near a busy street? Are their dogs roaming in your neighborhood? Are your neighbors amenable to having outdoor cats around? Are their wild animals that could harm or kill your cats. . .coyotes, mountain lions, etc? (I live in the mountain foothills of the Sierra Nevada, for example, so have to consider this.

Dr. Barbara :

I hope you find this approach comforting and it makes your decision less confusing. Please let me know if you have any further questions or comments. Thank you. . .Dr. Barbara

Customer:

My

Dr. Barbara :

It seems on my screen that you are trying to type without much success. I'll switch us to the Q&A mode to see if that helps.

Dr. Barbara and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 3 years ago.
Hi Julie,
Thank you so much for your kind rating. . .greatly appreciated!

Are you comfortable with our conversation? Normally a client and I chat back and forth until all of your questions and concerns are addressed. If you'd like, this link stays open for a couple of days, so if you have any more concerns, please just let me know!

My best to you,
Dr. Barbara
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My cats are neutered, chipped and parasite treated. They are both 14 months or so old. I am really not comfortable with letting them go out as I am terrified of the consequences but don't want them to be denied anything as I love them so much. I am considering having a section of my garden cordoned off to keep them safe outside. Do you think I am being unfair to them and selfish?

Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 3 years ago.
Hi Julie,

Thanks for your response! I don't think you are being unfair or selfish at all. In general "indoor cats" (and this would include an enclosed out door space) stay healthier and live longer lives than outdoor cats. I've had many clients that make outdoor enclosures for their cats, I always recommend that this enclosure be as large as possible.

One thing that greatly enriches a cat's life is a tall climbing tree. This provides scratching, climbing and laying up high for cats. Cats LOVE to lay up high! Also, for exercise, I really like laser lights that they can chase. This provides exercise for their hunting instinct.

Again, I really don't think you are being unfair or selfish at all!

Dr. Barbara