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How to Keep an Outdoor Cat Healthy

July 1, 2021

Do you allow your kitty to go outside? Perhaps you’ve adopted—or semi-adopted—a local cat? Keeping your furball inside is always recommended, but we do understand that sometimes she may enjoy traversing the neighborhood. Also, outdoor cats may have never gotten used to indoor living. Read on for some advice from a veterinarian, who knows just how to keep Fluffy healthy, happy, and purring.


Clean water is an essential need for all animals. Be sure that your cat has clean water available all of the time. Clean Fluffy’s water bowl often to avoid dust and germs from collecting in it.


Like any animal, your feline buddy needs proper nutrition so it can grow and flourish. Kibble lasts longer than canned food, which makes it a great choice for an outdoor cat. But, don’t leave too much food out because this can attract mice and other vermin. Feed Fluffy indoors if possible.


Fluffy’s fur coat doesn’t offer total protection from the environment. Bring your kitty in when it’s hot or cold. Just in case she gets locked outside, it’s always a good idea to make an emergency shelter. An easy way to make one is to get two plastic storage totes. One needs to fit inside the other, leaving a little room. Use newspapers or old towels to fill this space. This provides insulation. Adding a blanket on the inside is a nice touch. Cut a hole in the side for a kitty door.

Lifestyle Change

The best thing to do for Fluffy is to keep her inside, because she is both healthier and safer that way. You’ll need a little time and patience to make this change, but don’t give up. Treats, toys, catnip, and kitty furniture will make your home welcoming for her. If necessary, though, limit your cat’s outdoor time by letting her out during the day, but only when it’s nice out.

Veterinary Care

It’s suggested that all cats be microchipped, fixed, and kept up-to-date on vaccines and parasite prevention. These things are essential for all felines, whether they live outdoors or are let out. The possibility of outdoor pets being exposed to parasites and germs is greater than with indoor ones, so they should see a vet more often. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an appointment schedule.

Our Advice on How to Keep an Outdoor Cat Healthy in 2024

What are the essential needs for keeping an outdoor cat healthy?

To maintain an outdoor cat’s health, prioritize clean, accessible water, proper nutrition through fresh kibble, and shelter that protects from harsh weather, utilizing insulated totes for emergency refuge. Transitioning to indoor living enhances safety and health, facilitated with engaging toys and treats. Essential veterinary care includes microchipping, sterilization, up-to-date vaccinations, and regular check-ups to prevent parasites and diseases, more crucial for outdoor cats due to increased exposure to environmental risks. These steps ensure a healthy, happy life for feline companions.

What should you do if your outdoor cat goes missing?

If an outdoor cat goes missing, immediate action is crucial. Start by searching the nearby area, including places where the cat could hide. Alert neighbors, local animal shelters, and veterinarians, providing a detailed description and recent photos of your cat. Utilize social media and lost pet websites to broaden your search. Consider placing flyers in the community. Microchipping your cat beforehand greatly increases the chances of reunification, as shelters and vets can scan found pets. Lastly, keep checking local shelters regularly, as sometimes it may take time for a lost cat to be brought in.

What are the signs that your outdoor cat may be sick or injured?

Signs that an outdoor cat may be sick or injured include noticeable changes in behavior, such as increased lethargy, aggression, or hiding. Physical indicators include limping, unexplained weight loss or gain, difficulty breathing, and visible wounds. Changes in eating or drinking habits, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in urinary patterns are also red flags. Additionally, any signs of parasites, like fleas or ticks, or abnormal discharges from the eyes, nose, or mouth should prompt immediate veterinary attention. Our West Greenwich, RI clinic is equipped to diagnose and treat such conditions, ensuring your cat’s health and well-being.

How often should you groom your outdoor cat to maintain its coat and check for any health issues?

Outdoor cats should be groomed regularly, at least once a week, to maintain coat health and identify potential health issues early. Grooming sessions are an opportunity to check for mats, fleas, ticks, skin abnormalities, and signs of injury. Pay attention to changes in the coat’s texture or thickness, and look for lumps, bumps, or wounds. Regular grooming not only keeps the cat’s coat in good condition but also strengthens the bond between the cat and its caregiver, making it a crucial aspect of feline care.

What is the average lifespan of an outdoor cat compared to an indoor cat?

The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is significantly shorter than that of an indoor cat. Outdoor cats typically live around 2 to 5 years due to increased risks such as accidents, fights, diseases, and predation. In contrast, indoor cats can live 12 to 15 years or more, benefiting from a safer environment, controlled diet, and regular veterinary care. This stark difference highlights the impact of lifestyle on feline health and longevity, underlining the importance of providing a secure and nurturing environment for cats.

As your pet clinic in West Greenwich, RI, we’re here to help! Contact us anytime!

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