The summer means being outside! As avid bicyclists we get out as often as we can. In keeping with prudence and safety, we take some precautions when we go out. Helmets, sun screen, plenty of water, extra tire tubes are always part of the plan. Our kitties that spend time outdoors also need extra protection.
While everyone knows that fleas are a nuisance and worth preventing, it’s actually far more significant than that. Fleas carry other parasites that can cause considerable health risks to both cats and people. Tapeworms transmitted by fleas can cause poor health and weight loss cats. Destruction of red blood cells with resulting anemia is another problem for our kitties with fleas.
Researchers have shown that a disease most everyone has heard of “cat scratch fever” is actually caused by fleas carrying an organism that affects humans and not cats. It should be named something else because it sounds like the cats are at fault. People scratched or bitten by a cat carrying this bug from fleas can have severe infections, sometimes landing in the hospital. Preventing fleas removes the risk of this illness in people.
Cats that spend time outside often learn to hunt quite readily. It is a natural behavior for them. Hunting exposes cats to all the parasites commonly found in wild animals; intestinal parasites of many varieties, fleas and ticks and more. Mosquitoes are everywhere. Protection from them prevents heartworm disease.
Unowned or poorly cared for cats can transmit viruses that can be life threatening. Cars are an obvious threat. All this may sound as if no beloved cat should be allowed outdoors. Like me, outdoor cats take risks. I ride my bike in full sun and mostly in the mountains. Descents can reach speeds over 40 miles an hour. Like cats allowed outdoors, I always take precautions by NEVER leaving without the tools I need to stay as safe as possible. So it is with kitties that spend time outdoors. We need to make sure they have the tools they need to be safe and healthy. Flea and other parasite protection, a collar and microchip for identification as well as returning to the safety of the home they love between dusk and dawn are some of the safety measures we can provide to keep them from harm.