SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority) has released a list of tips to help cat owners keep their cats safe from wild animals. As communities grow and expand into previously undeveloped areas, wild animals (coyotes, raccoons, snakes etc.) are losing much of their natural habitat. As a result, they are becoming more acclimated to urban and suburban surroundings and can navigate access into residential areas and back yards.
This encroachment of wild animals can be a problem for domesticated pets including cats and dogs. Wild animals can easily hurt, maim or even kill household cats that do not have the survival skills or temperament to defend themselves from wild animals.
To help cat owners, SEAACA has provided some guidance to keep domestic cats safe from wild animals. Some of SEAACA’s tips include:
• Do not leave food outside. Wild animals can be expert foragers. If you leave food outside (leftovers, pet food or anything else), it can be a magnet for wild creatures, which then can create an unsafe encounter with your cat.
• Do not let your cat roam outdoors. If you live next to hills or more natural terrain, you might have many wild animals nearby. When domestic pets roam in these areas, they can be targets for attack.
• Get your cat vaccinated. Wild animals can be a mode of rabies transmittal. Ensure your cat is vaccinated just in case he or she is attacked and infected.
• Notify the authorities. If you notice a wild animal or animal tracks near your home, immediately contact your local animal control or wildlife service agency. They have the resources and skills to handle these situations and make your environment safer for your cat.
• Protect your home. Make sure wild animals cannot get into your home through open doors or windows. Many wild animals roam in the nighttime, when you and your cats are sleeping and may not hear them enter your home. Lock and secure your doors and windows before you go to bed.
• Clear your surroundings. Excessive debris, vegetation, fallen trees and hillside brush and shrubs can be enticing hiding places for snakes and other wild animals. Clear the areas around your home to avoid unwelcomed surprises for you and your pets.
“As our population continues to grow and we encroach upon wildlife, we need to be extra vigilant about pet safety,” noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. “With a few smart precautions, we can protect our much-loved pets from dangerous encounters with wild animals,” he added.