Our region sparkles with the natural beauty of green forests, hills, and lakes. We treasure our opportunities to get out and enjoy it, and shouldn't our cats have the same
pleasures? Absolutely, but pleasure could have its own price. You may want to consider why indoor cats live longer than cats that go outdoors. Besides vehicular trauma, there are a multitude of dangers regardless of where you live, and some more present in our area.
One group of dangers to outdoor cats are infectious diseases, including parasites, viruses, and fungi. Cats that step outside are much more likely to get fleas, which can transmit tapeworms, an
internal parasite. Many cats are excellent hunters, and studies have shown that even well fed cats will hunt, driven by predatory instincts. Hunting increases their risk of intestinal parasites. Left
untreated, parasites deprive cats of
nutrition and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and even anemia. There
are several important viruses affecting cats. Rabies, is a fatal virus which can
attack the nervous system of any mammal, but most commonly carnivores. On
national monitoring surveys of rabies, wildlife that commonly harbor the virus
include bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks. Of domesticated animals, cats are
most commonly infected with rabies. The rabies vaccine is completely protective
and required by law for all cats and dogs. Feline distemper (panleukopenia) is a
virus that attacks the bone marrow and is fatal to unvaccinated cats. Various
fungi are often found in the soil, such as ringworm, which can cause hair loss
in cats and can be spread to us, causing rashes. Fungal infections can infect
various organs and tissues and require prolonged therapy with anti-fungal
Another danger is injury from other cats. Cats are territorial and will fight, inflicting bite wounds. Cat bite wounds often abscess, requiring surgical cleaning and draining to allow healing. Cat bites can also lead to transmission of fatal viruses such as feline leukemia, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). There is no cure for either virus, only supportive care. The feline leukemia vaccine has been very successful in dramatically lowering the incidence of leukemia in cats. All cats should be tested for both viruses when young, and cats that go outdoors should be tested yearly and after potential exposure (i.e. fighting).
A third danger is from other predators, such as raccoons, coyotes, and cougars. All are abundant in our area. Of these predators, coyotes most commonly kill cats. Often people do not see any signs
of such predation other than missing their beloved pet.
Coyote populations have been surging for years as decades of shooting and
poisoning coyotes has created a fear of humans. While this fear makes coyotes
wary of nearing us, it does not cause them to fear our houses or our pets. A Seattlite has created a website tracking coyote sightings in Seattle and the Eastside at http://nwcoyotetracker.googlepages.com/. The state has more detailed
information about coyotes and cougars at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/coyotes.htm and http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/cougars.htm.
If your cats go outside, be sure to bring them inside at night when predators will be most actively hunting. If possible, monitor cats while outside, and keep them within a high-fenced yard. If your cat has been in a fight, be sure to have it examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible as lacerations are often hidden by hair. Have your cats vaccinated for rabies, leukemia, feline distemper, and on a flea/parasite preventative. Such measures will help ensure safety of your beloved cats while they enjoy the great outdoors.
To set up an appointment or for inquires, please call us at
Improve the health and quality of life of every animal we touch
-TopVets by Seattle Met Magazine on multiple consecutive years
-2013 Best of Redmond - Veterinarians By Redmod Reporter
-2012 Best of Redmond - Veterinarians By AwardProgram.org
22330 NE Market Place Drive, Suites 113 & 115, Redmond, WA 98053
Monday - Friday: 8am - 6pm
Saturday: 9am - 2pm