Avoiding getting a cat on the run as the weather warms
Springtime in Calgary, Alberta… it brings some sun, some rain and some weather surprises, but overall warmer temperatures. For our staff at MEOW Foundation, it brings something you may not expect: a sharp increase in calls and reports about lost cats.
One of MEOW’s services is lost cat reports. If you’ve lost your cat, you can contact us with a description of your cat and your contact information. If a cat matching that description turns up at our Adoption Centre, we will contact you to see if it could be your furry friend. More cats are reported to us as lost at the beginning of spring than at any other time of year.
Indoors is safest
Seasons aside, outdoor cats are at higher risk of injury or death by predators and traffic. As Calgary’s only cat-focused no-kill rescue and humane society, we’ve developed our policies and procedures with the goal of optimal health and well-being for cats. With that in mind, MEOW Foundation has an indoors-only policy for adopters. Indoors is much safer for cats, and indoor cats live longer than cats who are allowed to roam outdoors.
Unless cats are under full supervision on harness and leash, or on an enclosed catio or similar structure, they should stay indoors at all times. This also happens to be part of the City of Calgary pet ownership bylaw!
What happens in spring?
So why are so many cats reported lost right as the weather warms up? The answer is simple: opportunity! With doors and windows being left open more often, curious cats have more chances to get outside. Cats who are let out unattended into yards and onto balconies may also seize the chance to take themselves on an adventure.
Spring also is often the return of entertaining. From dinner parties to backyard barbecues, you might have more guests to your home who either don’t know that your cat is indoor-only or who may not understand how crafty cats can be!
Keeping cats indoors
Cats are naturally curious, so it takes some awareness and may take some effort to keep yours indoors. Here are some tips:
- Avoid leaving exterior doors open.
- Make sure any screens on your windows or doors are in good repair – or if you have a very determined cat, close the doors to rooms where you’ve left a window open.
- Make sure visitors to your home know that your cats are indoor-only.
Many adopters ask us how to keep their cat occupied and fulfilled without being let outside. There are so many enrichment activities that you can do inside to help your cat live a happy life! Check out some ideas.
It can also be fun for your cat to enjoy the outdoors with you. Consider putting your cat on a harness and leash and hanging out with them in your yard or taking them for a walk.
Bringing kitty back home
Sometimes despite our best intentions, our pet escapes. The best thing you can do to prepare for this possibility is to make sure your cat has ID!
Be sure to give your cat permanent identification. A microchip is ideal since it can be universally read and won’t fade over time like a tattoo. Tattoos are also specific to the region in which they’re given and can be hard to trace. In addition to permanent ID, consider giving your cat a collar with your contact information. It will make it easier for someone to contact you if they find your cat, and will also let people know from a distance that the cat is owned and might need help.
Lastly, be sure to report your cat missing with MEOW Foundation, the City of Calgary and at local 24-hour emergency vet clinics.
Responsible pet ownership
MEOW Foundation is a proponent of responsible pet ownership. We encourage all pet owners and anyone considering a cat to ensure that their home, finances and lifestyle are set up to keep a cat safe, healthy and happy. Visit our Resources section for more information on cat behaviour, health and well-being.