Q: Our house is situated on a quiet road, and now we have a good-sized yard. For the reason that street is quiet, we do let our cat open air. Our cat is now 4 and fairly the avid hunter. Final week, our daughter got here in excited and nervous saying our cat had caught a small bunny and was killing and consuming it. By the point we bought to the scene, the cat had bit off the child rabbit’s head and disemboweled the little factor. We don’t know if he ate the center or no matter. We now have rabbits and chipmunks in all places. Ought to we be involved? Our daughter is sufficiently old to deal with the stress of what she noticed however what attainable dangers are there for our cat, who appears to be performing completely usually? Are there any particular precautions that we must be taking? Our cat has all the time hunted outdoors and introduced different undiscernible issues to our doorstep but by no means appeared to endure for his actions and who is aware of what else he could have eaten.
A: You might be lucky that your cat has by no means suffered any apparent in poor health penalties from the pure predatory habits that he’s exhibiting and fulfilling open air. There are such a lot of attainable destructive issues that might occur however fortunately none have, so far as you already know. The priority with cats catching and consuming wildlife together with rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels and extra embrace attainable publicity to rabies, numerous parasites comparable to giardia, fleas and, in rabbits, one thing referred to as rabbit fever or tularemia. Apart from rabies, most all of those attainable points might be handled in the event that they have been to develop. My different issues can be in case your cat have been to chase an animal throughout the road and the danger of being hit by a automobile or if the rodent caught by your cat had ingested a poison making it weaker after which your cat caught and ate it. Then the poison might be harmful if not deadly to the cat. Birds caught by cats can even result in publicity to issues like salmonella.
So, do you have to be involved? Nicely, previous historical past suggests you don’t must be however remember to preserve an eye fixed out for any irregular well being habits in your cat. Whereas I’ve lined a few of the many attainable dangers, smart precautions embrace ensuring your cat is vaccinated for rabies and different acceptable feline illnesses, takes preventive flea and tick drugs, and has common bodily examinations at your veterinarian with fecal analysis to rule out all intestinal parasites. You can forestall the entire attainable negatives by conserving the cat indoors, however I anticipate your cat wouldn’t be blissful and all the time attempt to sneak open air since his way of life has been established. The nice factor is that at the very least the cat leaves his hunt on the doorstep and doesn’t deliver it indoors. Hope that is useful.
Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Cell Veterinary Clinic. He might be reached at 781-899-9994.