If you are careful about opening and closing the door of your home, be aware that others who visit may not be and take precautions so your feline does not escape.
Keep in mind, if a guest lets your feline out, the animal will already be fearful, and felines under stress are not always predictable. When you call or follow after them, they may not respond to your voice or their name. Plan ahead to avoid a disaster.
The simplest precaution is to secure the feline in a room with the door closed to deny it access to the door. You can do this when you have invited guests and repairmen in the home. Repair workers are apt to not be watchful of your animals, even after you remind them.
They may have to go in and out frequently to get tools and supplies. Depending on the work being done, it usually means the doors are wide open to bring in larger items. As the items enter, out goes the feline if it is not placed in a safe room.
Inside felines rarely have collars and tags with identification. Many owners that do place these collars on their animals use the breakaway type so their feline will not strangle himself if they are caught by the collar. Once the animal has escaped from the collar, what good is it?
Harnesses with identification tags are a more sturdy plan. Consider traveling by both car and plane with a harness with an identifying tag and leash.
A feline cannot escape from a true T-harness. Even though your feline is in a carrier when in the car or at the airport terminal, plan for the unexpected accident. If you are involved in a car accident, the animal may be loose and may escape if a window is broken. You have a handy, safe way of controlling your felines when they are wearing their collar and leash.
Since 9-11, security measures have intensified at all security check points. Security may ask you to take your feline out of its carrier to search it. If your cat is on a leash and harness you can prevent the animal from running free through the airport.
If you are concerned that a harness is not a permanent solution to finding your pet if it gets lost, tattooing may be an option. A number can be injected with indelible ink just under the animal's skin. This number is then given to a registry that keeps a database of tattoo numbers and owner's information.
Some vets provide microchipping as one of the services offered to their clients. The coded chip is placed under the animal's skin. Not all animal hospitals provide the service or the ability to have the scanner to read the chip, so practically speaking, the chip may not always be useful in finding a pet.
Finally, spay or neuter your feline. Your feline is less likely to want to explore the big outdoors if it is altered. Once their hormonal urge is eliminated, felines are less likely to want to leave their safe, happy environment called home, where the food bowl is never-ending.
Today's featured felines wish they had an owner looking for them. They were all innocent victims of being castaways.
• Astro is one of Buddy's newer cats. He is a gray and white, domestic shorthair. He was found outside a gentleman's window. He fed the cat but left him outside. That night he had a dream that the cat was a space alien and his space ship was hidden in the bushes. The next morning the cat was still outside so he named him Astro. He is a beautiful cat and gets along with the other cats at the shelter.
• Rascal is a black and white, 5-year-old, domestic shorthair. Some time ago she developed a problem with her left ear that required surgery. Although the surgery was successful, it left her ear permanently folded down. She is a quiet cat that gets along with all of her roommates at Buddy.
She frequently is curled up in one of the cat towers visible from the lobby. She is friendly with people and enjoys being given soft treats. It doesn't take long for anyone to get know her and ask the question,"She is such a nice, pretty cat, why hasn't someone adopted her?"
• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit (501c3), all-volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. For more information, call (847) 290-5806 or visit www.thebuddyfoundation.org.