These days, pet cats usually have complete run of their house. We tend to meet all their demands — special treats and food, carpeted cat condos, scratching posts that never seem to get scratched, and more.

However, is your cat demanding to go outside? Does she hang around the door and meow until you let her out, or skitter out as soon as it’s open?

Do not give in! Outside is not a safe place for a domestic cat.

The only way a cat is safe outdoors is within the perimeter of a fenced area, with no spaces to squeeze under. Cat fencing should be positioned on top of your current fence, about 18-22 inches in height, and braced to lean in at about a 30-degree angle. Once the cat reaches that angled fencing, there is no place to go. She can’t crawl upside down on the fencing to get over the fence.

However, even with every precaution taken, it is not a good idea to have a pet cat outside. Outside, there are mites that infect ears, parasites that invade the gut and will eventually affect the immune system, and the dreaded flea. Even with flea protection, the fleas will jump on and bite.

Neighborhoods have roaming packs of dogs, and coyotes, more frequently seen of late, are definitely hungry. When an inside cat gets out, they easily are traumatized and head to what they think is a safe place. Usually that’s under a raised house or in someone’s shed. Often they get trapped in strange places.

You also risk having an outside cat trapped by someone who assumes the cat belongs somewhere other than their yard.

The solution is to keep your cat inside, and engaged.

Offer toy stuffed mice or balls that light up when knocked around. Lead Kitty on a chase with a laser pointer. Inexpensive cardboard scratching pads that lie on the floor can be made more interesting with a sprinkle of catnip.

Play with your cat by inviting her to chase a feather or a bit of yarn.

Just make sure your cat is stimulated and engaged, and she’ll be content in the safety of your home.

Upcoming events

THURSDAY: Pause for Dinner (and Lunch!) for the Louisiana SPCA. Dozens of restaurants are donating 20 percent of their dining proceeds on this day. Visit for a list of participating restaurants.

FOR SENIORS: Older than 55 and looking for the perfect companion? Purina will pay the adoption fee for approved applicants for a cat or a dog. Go to

Charlotte Bass Lilly is CEO of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 501c3 nonprofit. ARNO operates a volunteer-based, no-kill shelter in the Elmwood Industrial section of Jefferson Parish and depends upon the generosity of people from all over the country who have followed since Katrina. Contact ARNO at,, or leave a message at (504) 571-1900.