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Heat problems can take a toll on cats, too

Date published: 7/7/2014

Referencing the May 26th article, "Talking Dogs," by Lisa Moore, with warmer temperatures, is your home ready for the dog days of summer? There are several safety requirements mentioned in the two-page article that are also applicable to cats, and cat owners need to be as aware of safety issues, as dog owners. For example, the International Bengal Cat Society states, "whenever possible, Bengals should be kept indoors." Bengals are especially susceptible to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Also, all pets need fresh, abundant water. Remember, it evaporates in extremely hot weather, and freezes in cold temperatures. All pets can become dehydrated quickly.

Cats get mostly negative press. It has been written that outdoor cats inflict damage to native wildlife, eat birds and spread rabies. Cats shouldn't be blamed for their owners' indiscretions. Virginia is a rabies epidemic state, and there are a population of animals that are reservoirs for the virus. The health department publishes a rabies compendium and mandates vaccination requirements for all cats (regardless of access to the outside). Vaccinations are to be kept current and animal-care facilities are instructed to not handle unvaccinated cats. Outdoor cats have many additional requirements. In addition to the standard parasite treatment, there are other vaccinations needed to prevent upper respiratory and GI viruses, as well as feline leukemia.

Indoor cats are safe from coyotes, raccoons, foxes and dogs, being hit by a car, simply disappearing or being exposed to poisonous insecticides, antifreeze and other chemicals. Make sure all cats wear an identification tag, a microchip, as well as their rabies tag, so if they stray, people will know they are owned and not feral. Also, spay and neuter.

Jeanne Madigan