Wildlife Attacks Prompt Alert for Cat Owners

Recent wildlife attacks on pets and people in California spur suggestions to avoid encounters.

Posted: September 6, 2007 5 a.m. EDT

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The CVMA on how to make sure your cat is safe when venturing outside
Experts warn against leaving cats outdoors unattended, because of recent attacks on pets from wildlife.
Wildlife sightings located in close proximity to homeowners are on the rise in California, and pet owners are urged to take extra precautions to protect their cats from possible attacks, according to the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).

“Drier conditions, fire devastation and increased activity this summer have combined to drive animals out of the hills and into populated areas in search of food and water,” said CVMA President Dr. Jeff Smith.

Recent reports of wildlife activity include mountain lions that have attacked small pets near Los Angeles and Sacramento, a mountain lion attack on a hiker in northwest California, aggressive bears in the Lake Tahoe area and male deer attacking dogs.

“As residential areas expand, wild deer become more accustomed to and less fearful of people,” Smith said. “When someone gets too close, a buck could panic and gore them, causing serious injury or even death.”

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) receives hundreds of reports each year of mountain lions killing pets and livestock, and it’s becoming more common as people move into the mountain lions’ habitat, the DFG states.

The CVMA offers these suggestions to keep cats safe:

* Never leave cats outside unattended
* Don’t feed wildlife
* Avoid landscaping that includes plants that deer like to eat
* Don’t leave pet food outside
* Don’t approach a wild animal
* Use sealed trash cans
* Don’t try to heal sick wildlife; call a veterinarian, animal control or the DFG for assistance

“People have a natural affinity for animals, but it’s important they understand the difference between domesticated pets and wildlife that appear to be friendly and approachable,” Smith added. “Under no circumstance should people take action and put their lives at risk in the event of a visit by a wild animal.”

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Reader Comments

Samantha    Edmonton, AL

9/7/2007 1:55:17 AM

hope everyones pets are safe at home

Robert    Syracuse, NY

9/6/2007 6:28:49 PM

I thought it was pretty good. Common sense would dictate that in areas where wildlife enter urban precincts, pets would be endangered. They should be kept in sight and protected from unwanted attacks.

debby    oxford, NC

9/6/2007 12:52:48 PM

learned alot from the this article

Donna    Limington, ME

9/6/2007 7:08:17 AM

These tips are great for all over the country!

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