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What responsible owners should do:
- Spay or Neuter your cat as soon as he or she is four to five months old. This can be done by your veterinarian. If cost is an issue, see our Low Cost Spay/Neuter Options.
- Keep your cat indoors permanently or at least as much as possible. Inside only cats are much safer, live longer and are much less likely to bring parasites into your home.
- Take your cat to your veterinarian for an annual exam. Annual exams are important to detect illnesses as early as possible when they are the most treatable and least expensive. If you absolutely cannot afford to take your cat to the vet, use a low cost alternative such as a clinic held at Petco or the Dutchess County SPCA or municipalities. These clinics do not provide medical exams or treat your cat for illness - they only provide testing, vaccines and sterilization.
- If you MUST find another home for your cat, do so responsibly. Plan ahead. Shelters are overloaded with cats needing homes. Many times there are waiting lists that can be up to two or three months.
- Put a break-away collar with name tag on your cat in case he becomes lost. Microchipping is also an excellent way to protect your lost cat. Your veterinarian can give you more information about this option. See Lost Cats if your cat does become lost.
What responsible pet owners should NEVER do:
- Let your unneutered cat go outdoors.
- Abandon your cat. Pet cats are not at all well suited for living a life on the streets or on a farm. Most will live a few weeks to a few months depending upon the food sources and the weather. They often will die from hunger, predatory animals or exposure. If they are not sterilized, the females will have kittens and those kittens that survive will be destined to live as feral cats and produce more homeless cats.
- Let your cat roam on to a neighbor’s property.