What is your cat trying to tell you through her eating habits?
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Many cats are indoor cats. But that’s not to say they don’t go exploring every now and again. And while indoors is a much safer option for your feline friend, on the odd occasion, your cat may go walkabouts and find a delicious mouse to devour. Which poses the question: Is it dangerous for your cat to be outdoors and will he get sick from eating mice? This article explores what your cat could be trying to tell you through her eating habits.
The dangers of the outside world
Cats love to explore. They love to wander. But the outside world can be a dangerous place for little felines. Between traffic, dogs, other animals, and even other cats, there are a lot of risks for cats outdoors.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, indoor cats have a much lower likelihood of being hurt or becoming ill from outdoor hazards. Why? Because by keeping them indoors, you’re eliminating the risk.
There have also been studies that have shown that indoor cats live longer than their outdoor buddies, with the latter living an average of just two to five years. Indoor cats can live up to 17 or older. Of course, another reason to keep your cat indoors is that it’s much easier to monitor him for symptoms of the disease, illness, or even behavioral changes.
A well-rounded diet
One major issue that can arise from allowing your cat to roam too much is what they ingest while they’re exploring. There are plenty of human foods that absolutely need to be avoided to ensure your cat is kept healthy.
These foods can easily be picked up while your cat is out and about. Foods such as onion, garlic, chocolate, and coffee are classified as problem foods, as are avocado, grapes, sultanas, nuts, mushrooms, and fruit stones.
On top of this, there’s also the age-old question about mice. Cats are natural predators of mice — Tom and Jerry anyone? However, is it actually ok for your cat to eat the mouse it so desperately craves? The main problem with mice is that your cat may contract a disease such as:
- Intestinal worms: A parasite that competes with the nutrients your cat would normally digest, meaning he is not getting all the nourishment he needs from his food.
- Hantavirus: Can cause respiratory distress. Even more problematic is that this can spread to humans.
- Toxoplasma: Can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, pneumonia, liver disease, and disease of the nervous system. This disease can also be transferred to humans.
- Rickettsialpox: Causes ulceration, fever, and a rash.
On top of this, there’s also the poison that you need to consider. Mice can ingest poison very easily as they are often also hunted by humans. If your cat eats the mouse, chances are some of the poison ingested by the rodent will be transferred to your cat.
And it’s not just food you have to worry about, with many household plants that can be toxic for cats. Of course, if your cat is kept indoors, you can control what plants they are surrounded by. But if they go wandering, who knows what they will stroll past on their adventures. Two of the main problem plants are lilies and oleanders, which can cause kidney failure and heart problems.
What to do for your cat
In the case of mice, you never know what is going to happen to your cat. Some cats can eat a mouse and never get sick. Others can suffer terribly. The problem is that you don’t know whether the mouse was diseased or poisoned before ingested by your cat. All you can do is carefully monitor your cat’s behavior and health to see if anything out of the ordinary happens.
Cat Eating Habits: Problematic Symptoms
Key symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, or abnormal behavior. If you notice any symptoms or even if you don’t see any unusual symptoms but you’re still worried, it’s always best to contact your vet as soon as possible.
Of course, the key here is prevention. And while you can’t control your cat every hour of every day, you can control the environment you provide for them inside at home. There are definitely some things you can do at home to make the inside world much more inviting.
Providing plenty of horizontal and vertical play space is crucial, as is ensuring your cat has lots of safe toys to keep them entertained. A good tip here is to keep a variety of toys hidden away so you can swap the toys every few days. This keeps everything fresh and exciting for your cat. Another good idea is to provide scratching posts — cats love to scratch and having some posts handy will avoid unwanted scratching of your furniture. Finally, make sure your cat has plenty of sunny spots to relax in.
Keeping your cat indoors
Just because you opt to keep your cat indoors doesn’t mean they will always listen. Cats love to explore and sometimes it’s best to accept that they are going to roam. Of course, you can provide a fun and entertaining indoor space to entice them to stay indoors, and you can even provide an enclosed space in your garden to provide a bit of an outdoor area. If you’re going to let them roam, just remember to monitor for symptoms of any disease or illnesses they may pick up from the outside world. A cat’s eating habits after being outside can be a sign of a health issue.
Kritter Kommunity Contributor