What are the basics in taking care of a cat that spends time outside?

I don't have any cats - never have. (love them, but too many family members allergic). I'm watching my friends' cat who spends nights outside and I was wondering if the basic preventive measures used for dogs are also standard for cats? Do you give cats heartworm and stuff like you do dogs? I don't think they give Smokey any preventive med and I don't even know if he's been to the vet (maybe, I don't know). I wanted to make some recommendations to them when they get back but I don't know enough. Please fill me in on basic preventive cat care measures. Thank you!

Best Answers

  • Amanda SundbergAmanda Sundberg TulsaMember Posts: 257
    Accepted Answer
    Kitties need many of the same preventatives as dogs do. Flea prevention and heartworm, but many people choose not to use any on their cats because, unfortunately, many people have the "its just a cat" mentality. I do not choose to use any sort of prevention on Bella because I groom her once a week and don't have flea problems and because she and I are both allergic to the meds you put on the cats neck for heartworm prevention (revolution). It is possible that they treat their cat monthly and didn't tell you because you wouldn't have to treat their animal while they were gone. It would be okay to ask them, but don't push it too hard as it is a sensitive subject and may seem like you are accusing them of not taking proper care of their pet.
  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    Accepted Answer
    Frankly, you are trying to do a vets job. If you have no experience with cats and the basics of their care I would not give the owners of the cat any recommendations. You don't know what they are already doing and it really is not your place to tell them what they should be doing. If you are concerned about his health you should recommend a vet for them to see. Just to answer you questions...it is not standard to treat cats for heartworms. First, it would depend on your location. Some areas are low risk for heartworm disease. Also, cats are at less of a risk than dogs. Cats can be treated monthly for fleas. Outdoor cats (which I would never recommend) should be tested for FeLV/FIV and if positive not allowed to roam outside. Outdoor cats should be up to date on vaccines and spayed or neutered. These are the basics...
  • Lisa DaversLisa Davers SacramentoMember Posts: 3,642
    Accepted Answer
    Here are the basics based on my experience. A lot of this is the same for indoor or outdoor cats. 1) Make sure the cat is neutered/spayed. That helps keep them from straying too far and less likely to get into fights. 2) Keep their vaccinations up to date. That will include FIV, FeLV and Rabies if you are in the USA 3) Make sure they always have access to shelter/food/water. Either via a cat door or in a shed/garage. 4) Annual check up at the vets - this can happen at the same time they go in for their vaccines. 5) Monthly flea meds - Frontline or Advantage are good. There are also heartworm meds but as the other poster said I think that depends on wheer you live so check with your vet. As the other posters said be careful how you bring this up with your neighbours in case they are offended/think you are questioning how well they care for Smokey. Maybe you could say you've been doing some research and do they do this with Smokey or something. Anyway good luck!
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