Fall is finally here and you and your cat are ready to enjoy the cooler weather. Life is good, but there are some issues to be dealt with.

If your cat goes outside, she may still get ticks and fleas. Even if she is strictly an inside cat, she can get them. But there are some things you can do that will help. A tick and flea preventative will keep those parasites off of your pet. Talk to your vet about obtaining the best treatment for keeping them away. Eliminate the source of the fleas by spraying the places she prefers with a nontoxic spray for fleas. Ticks like long grass. Keep your lawn cut during its growing season.

Comb and brush your cat regularly. Keeping her coat in good shape isn’t just for good looks. It is also a matter of good health. It will help control parasites and it is a good way to prevent hair balls. A cat sheds more in the spring, but it is natural for a cat to shed all year long. Daily brushing and combing will keep her from licking and swallowing the loose hair. Otherwise, she could develop hair balls, which can cause internal problems that may need professional treatment.

Regular grooming will cut down on the number of hair mats she develops and will add tone to her skin and coat. Use a wide-toothed comb and a fine-toothed flea comb plus a brush with long, but not harsh, bristles. If you aren’t able to keep her brushed regularly, you might want to take her to your vet or groomer to get her professionally shaved.

Autumn can be a challenging time for taking care of your cat because the weather is so changeable. You have to take into consideration the possibilities of both heatstroke and frostbite. You will need to be sure that your cat has enough water, even in cool weather, and a way to get in out of extreme weather changes.

Toxins are always a threat in autumn. Many people apply lawn and garden products then. Herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals can make your cat very sick. Antifreeze is another serious seasonal risk. It’s very poisonous to cats and many cats like the taste. Mushrooms and some fall flowers can also make her sick. Be sure she stays safe by keeping her inside.

Fall decorations, though very pretty, can be harmful to a cat. She can get entangled in wires, dangling ribbons or strings. Small pieces can choke her. Cats and flames are not a good mix. Keep lighted candles out of her reach. Don’t assume she can’t get to them. Keep your fall decorations well out of her reach.

Fall can be fun for both you and your cat, but you need you take some safety precautions. There are a lot of celebrations going on. Be careful of what your cat indulges in. Chocolate and candy containing xylitol can be very toxic to your cat. Costumes for your cat may have small parts that could choke her or impair her breathing or hearing. If she is uncomfortable being dressed up, don’t insist upon it. She can enjoy all the festivities just as much without a costume. The best time she will have during the fall is doing things with you.      

If you are looking for a cat to add to your family, visit the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter at 1206 N. West Street in McAlester. The hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The phone number is 918-423-7803. The adoption fee for cats is $15. All have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.