Q: Dear Nora,
My indoor cat often interacts with cats outside the window. The interactions range from vocal (meowing, yowling) to physical (headbutting, swatting). Are these outdoor cats a danger to my indoor cat? Should I be worried about diseases?
A: As long as the screen barrier stays intact, you shouldn’t worry much about diseases. Even FeLV, which is highly contagious, is unlikely to be transmitted through the screen. That being said, it’s not uncommon for cats to tear screens or push them out, especially when we feel threatened. Invest in some adjustable window screens to add an extra layer between your cat and the outside world.
More than diseases, you should worry about the stress that these outdoor cats may be causing. Stress can be bad for your cat’s health, but it can also cause your cat to mark its territory by spraying around your home. I don’t mind seeing cats outside my window, but my sister Pippi just about loses her mind when she sees a stray. She never sprays (our mom is endlessly thankful for this), but she hisses and spits and is noticeably stressed.
If you want to keep cats out of your yard and away from your windows, you simply have to remember that cats hate water. Rig up some motion-activated sprinklers and you are good to go.