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The myth that cats have nine lives didn’t start with a veterinarian. That's because we know better.
Like our counterparts in human medicine, we see every possible way a patient can get sick or be injured, and after a while we could perhaps be excused from sometimes thinking every animal has something wrong. That’s part of the reason why we so love to see our patients for wellness checks: It’s a thrill to see a happy, healthy pet, and we love being able to use our expertise to keep them that way.
But veterinarians also see a lot of preventable problems in pets. In cats, many of these problems could be prevented by not letting a pet roam. Every time I write that, I get disagreement in the comments, but it’s absolutely true: Your cat is in danger of getting lost, hit by a car or even eaten by a coyote if allowed to go where he chooses.
But that doesn’t mean your cat is perfectly safe indoors, either. I don’t want to raise alarm, but I do want to raise awareness of some of the completely preventable ways that a pet owner can injure or even kill a cat.
Running over your own cat. Sometimes your cat may take shelter under your car, other times your cat may run to your car to greet you when you come home. Either way, check under your car before you get in, and be aware that your cat — or a neighbor's free-roaming cat — might suddenly turn up when you come home.
Starting your car with your cat inside the engine. When it’s cold, cats seek out warm spots. One of those could be a car engine after the vehicle has been parked. Prevention is easy: Whenever you go to start a car, thump on the hood. If a cat is in the engine, he’ll usually take off.
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