Cats that spend time outdoors are exposed to several hazards: fights, injuries, toxins, becoming lost or trapped, and exposure to parasites and infectious diseases. In addition, free-roaming cats present risks to native wildlife. Most veterinarians recommend that cats stay indoors, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) encourages client education about the dangers of allowing cats free-roaming access.1 When clients are unable or unwilling to keep cats indoors, veterinarians can offer preventive care measures to reduce risk for disease.
Preventive care measures typically include appropriate vaccinations2 and parasite control. While all pet cats are at risk for parasites, ongoing exposure is more likely in those that spend time outdoors. Both endo- and ectoparasites are common, but most can be treated or prevented.3 Regular fecal examination, typically 2 to 4 times in the first year of life and q6–12mo in adults, is recommended. Products should be selected based on probable parasite exposure, ease of use, and efficacy.