Keep your cat or kitten in a manner that does not negatively impact your neighbour's in any of the following ways:
- Offensive odours
- Noise that may disturb others
- Straying or roaming
- Accumulation of feces
A common misconception is that domestic cats – like their wild big cat cousins – need to roam freely outdoors. In truth, unlike lions or leopards, domestic cats are poorly equipped to navigate the minefield of outdoor risks that exist. Cats left outside to roam freely face an average life expectancy of two to five years. In contrast, cats living within the home enjoy an average life expectancy of 12 ½ years. Happily for our feline friends, with a little help all cats can learn to enjoy the comforts of home.
Outside risks to unsupervised cats:
Some people mistakenly think cats are naturally "street smart." Vehicles are a serious threat to all cats allowed outside – and each day many are killed on roads
Feline Leukemia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and rabies are just three of the deadly illnesses your cat can come into contact with from wild and domestic animals. In addition, outdoor cats are vulnerable to parasites such as fleas.
Sadly, there are people in our society who abuse animals, including cats. Letting your cats outside makes them vulnerable to cruelty.
Domestic cats are not well suited to surviving Ontario's extreme weather conditions. Extreme heat in the summer, and bitterly cold winters both pose health risks to your cat.
Confrontations with other animals, including other roaming pets, feral cats, and wildlife, can cause your cat injury, or even result in death.
Cats may not always be able to find their way home, or they may be mistaken for stray cats and end up at a pound or animal shelter. Far too often a cat simply doesn't return home one day, and the owner never finds out what really happened.
The impact of roaming cats on communities
Allowing your cat to roam not only endangers the life of your cat, but directly impacts other animals and residents within your community.
Roaming cats not spayed or neutered contribute significantly to the ongoing pet overpopulation crisis. Sadly, thousands of cats are euthanized in Ontario each year because there are not enough adoptive homes.
Effects on wildlife
Roaming cats are common culprits in the deaths of wild animals, especially birds and small mammals. The effect of outdoor cats on a local wildlife population can be devastating and cause unnecessary suffering to thousands of wild animals.
Conflicts with neighbours
Cats who wander may defecate in gardens and other undesirable places, kill birds at a neighbour's bird feeder, or bother indoor cats visible through windows. These and other situations may damage your relationship with neighbours and lead to unnecessary conflicts for both you and your cat.
Teaching your outdoor cat to enjoy the great indoors:
While the best way to teach cats to enjoy living indoors is to raise them inside as kittens, your outdoor cat can still become a happy homebody with a little patience and effort.
Provide lots of attention
One of the reasons cats may enjoy being outside is because there is lots to do. Help your cat adjust to an indoor lifestyle by giving him plenty of quality time – this includes playing with your cat and giving him lots of affection.
Make the indoors a fun place to be
Help your cat learn to associate being indoors with the variety of activities they take pleasure in. Feed your cat indoors, brush her (if she enjoys it), and make sure her litter box is kept clean so your cat has fewer problems adjusting to it.
Bring the outdoors… indoors
Help your cat enjoy the entertainment of the outside world from the safety of inside. Provide perching areas on window ledges, a variety of comfortable resting areas to bask in the sun, and open screen windows in warm weather to let the smells and breezes blow through. If you take your cat outside, supervise him at all times. Create a fully enclosed outdoor play area, or even harness train your cat so that the two of you can enjoy walks together! Teaching outdoor cats to become indoor cats does require some patience, and some cats adjust more quickly than others. The most important thing to remember is that despite any initial protests from your cat, your perseverance will ultimately result in a longer, happier life for your favourite feline!
Provided by the Ontario SPCA
10 reasons to keep your dog on a leash!
- Be a good neighbour
Not everyone likes dogs. Some cultures perceive dogs in ways that may differ from your own so even a friendly dog running up to them is very distressing. Someone truly afraid may act out of fear and injure your dog. Property owners can be particular about dogs on their lawns. A dog on a leash shows that you are in control of your dog and that you respect those who wish to keep their distance from your dog. It is good neighbour policy to keep your pet on leash and to prevent it from becoming a nuisance to others around you.
- Prevent Injury
Whether intentional or not your dog could bite, knock over, or injure someone. Legal action could arise and under the Dog Owner's Liability Act (DOLA) it states that a dog could be deemed dangerous if;
- A dog has bitten or attacked.
- The dog has behaved in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.
An owner did not exercise reasonable precautions to prevent a dog from biting or attacking or posing a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.
The law could judge that your dog be euthanized, even if your dog was provoked to bite. Keeping your dog leashed helps you control them and mitigates the circumstances, showing the owner is "exercising reasonable precautions".
- Prevent Incidents with other Dogs.
An off-leash dog could wander into another animal's territory provoking a fight. Leashed dogs could perceive an unleashed dog as a threat (either to the owner or to his personal space in the leash zone) and is likely to lunge or snap.
- Protect Wildlife
Your best friend can become nature's enemy if taken off a leash and allowed to run free. Dogs that leave trails destroy the homes of ground-nesting birds, stress small mammals, destroy plants, leave feces that disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem, and they are susceptible to the rabies virus through wildlife they may encounter.
- Prevent Accidents
No dog responds 100% of the time to commands. A leash can help you pull your dog to safety when a driver is too close. On the other hand, unleashed dogs can cause car accidents when drivers try to avoid hitting a loose dog.
- Lowers costly veterinary bills.
Leashing your dog is the best way to keep your dog from becoming sick or injured on your walks. Dogs are known to eat many things they shouldn't and roaming dogs could drink contaminated water, tread through pesticides, be exposed to ticks, poison oak, or plants that have thorns and burrs.
- Unleashed dogs eliminate at will.
This will make you very unpopular with your neighbours. Owners that do not scoop will incur a fine. Dogs that are not de wormed completely, can leave parasitic worm eggs that can be transmitted from feces to humans causing blindness (particularly with small children).
- It is a good birth control device.
If your dog has not been spayed or neutered it is probably because you are hoping to breed your pet. Leashing is one of the best ways to preventing random mating and unwanted puppies.
- Loose dogs give dog owners a bad name.
Every dog allowed off leash is another piece of evidence for those citizens who prefer that dogs be banned from all public places. Discourteous dog owners are causing dogs owners to lose the ability to take their dogs to places they formerly could take them. Go out of your way to be courteous when handling a dog. Demonstrate that dog owners can be good neighbours. If people have a right to expect that dogs they encounter in that location will be on leash, stick to the rules. Otherwise the next rule change may be "No Dogs Allowed."
- It is the law! Plain and simple. Know the laws that affect you as a dog owner.
Even with the window down, your pet can overheat in a matter of minutes.
WHY PETS AND VEHICLES DON'T MIX:
- A dog has a normal body temperature of about 39°C (102°F). Unlike people, a dog has a limited ability to sweat to cool off. So even a brief time in a hot environment can be life-threatening.
- Even on a mild day, with the windows open and parked in the shade, the temperature in a vehicle can rapidly reach very dangerous levels.
- After reaching a body temperature of 41°C (106°F), it doesn't take long for a pet to begin suffering irreparable brain damage or death.
- Every summer, too many pets are left in life-threatening situations inside hot vehicles. But you can do something about it:
ACT FAST. SAVE A LIFE.
If you find a pet unattended in a hot vehicle, call 310-SPCA (7722) or your local OPP at:
LEARN MORE AND TAKE THE PLEDGE AT: