By Lucy Barrow
In response to the recent distressing and disturbing reports about the targeting of cats in the Birkdale area, it is worthwhile considering what we can all do to keep our pets safe from the mercifully few, but very real, people intent on doing them harm.
Certainly cats who live in the outdoors do spend their days happily roaming their “patch”, but of course, will return home for their food – and also the company of their owners and family. And that is a crucial point – cats are indeed very independent, but domesticated cats will always rely on, and actually want, human company. So, if you’re going away on holiday, and are asking a neighbour or other cat sitter to pop in and feed your cat, they are likely to do a valuable job, but your cat will almost certainly miss the company which they normally enjoy. And being intelligent – they will go looking for it if it isn’t at home where they would expect it to be. So, going into the gardens of others, perhaps eating the food of other cats, crossing roads they might otherwise avoid, can lead them, potentially, into the path of danger, or dangerous people – as seems to have been the case recently in Birkdale.
What can we all do to protect them? Well, asking a neighbour or friend to “pop in” is fine, but really ought not to be more than for a day or two. Cats do need to be in the care of an establishment where they are regularly fed, cared for, secure and stimulated. This is true of both outdoor and house cats. You might be thinking of leaving your house cat at home whilst you are away, with a friend checking on them and feeding them, but they may become distraught over a prolonged period without human company and stimulation; their natural intelligence and emotional intuition, which makes them such a joy as pets, means they need company. Similarly, an outdoor cat, although keen to get out and explore, will ultimately, be safer and better cared for in an establishment dedicated to the very best in cat care such as a cat hotel or uPVC cattery.
It is a sad fact that there are people who wish to harm our beloved pets. In order to protect them, and have the peace of mind when we are on holiday, that they are truly well cared for and safe, we must make suitable provision for their care.
If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned, stay calm and contact your vet immediately; inform them when, where and how poisoning occurred. If appropriate, carefully take the packaging/plant/ substance to the vet. Don’t expose yourself to any harm.
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