Cats Protection has outlined a series of steps which can be taken to help keep felines safe throughout the year.

Although cats often enjoy exploring, their curiosity can lead them into trouble. A few simple measures can help keep cats away from danger and enjoying life.

Keep cats inside during hours of darkness. Cats are at increased risk of road injuries and theft after nightfall. Keeping cats indoors overnight and timing meals to coincide with rush hour will help keep cats away from busy roads.

Ensure cats are neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. Making sure cats are neutered provides a host of benefits in addition to preventing unwanted kittens being born. Neutered cats are less likely to roam, lowering the risk of car accidents and less likely to fight and contract serious diseases which are spread by saliva. Microchipping offers a safe and permanent method of identification, while ensuring cats are vaccinated will protect against parasites and diseases.

Encourage cats to stay close to home. If cats are content, they are more likely to stay within their own home and garden. Planting cat-friendly plants such as catnip and lavender, providing logs for scratching and long grass for relaxing or to assist with expelling hairballs can all add to the creation of a cat-friendly space.  Poisonous substances often found in the home or garden, such as antifreeze, disinfectants, insect and pest killers should be kept securely.

Certain plants can be toxic to cats, for example lilies can be lethal if any part of the plant is ingested. If your cat does show any signs of poisoning, you should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.  A full list of plants that are hazardous to cats can be found on International Cat Care’s website

Remain vigilant to possible acts of cruelty. If you suspect somebody is acting suspiciously towards cats in the area, report your concerns to the local police and/or RSPCA, along with any descriptions and car number plates you may have noted. If there is a local Neighbourhood Watch, make them aware and inform your neighbours that there may be suspicious activity taking place.

Mark Beazley, Director of Operations for Cats Protection, says: “We often have reports coming into our branches and centres across the country of cats that have strayed, become injured in fights or been poisoned by seemingly harmless substances around the home. Simply following these guidelines and remaining vigilant can help keep cats safe and enjoying themselves throughout the year.”