Cat Safety Tips

When it comes to what cats could get into, it’s impossible to make a complete list. But here are some things you may not have thought of. Making your home safer for a cat or kitten may seem like a lot of trouble, but remember – your kitten is like a little toddler, except one who can jump up onto countertops and climb the draperies!

1) Tiny objects.

When one of my cats was a kitten and even up to a young adult about three years old, she put everything in her mouth She’d pick up twist ties, rubber bands, bits of ribbon, etc. Sometimes we’d have no idea where she had found these things! Fortunately, the things she did swallow made it all the way to the litter box without killing her. But notice your cat has ridges in the roof of his mouth. That makes it even harder for him to “let go” of something that is in his mouth that he wishes he could drop. So don’t play with tiny balls with him, aluminium foil, paper clips, or anything else he could get stuck in his mouth or even swallow. Believe me, you don’t want your kitty to choke or have to have emergency surgery or even die, and some of these things can injure the intestines severely. Be especially careful at holiday time – my kids have not had Easter grass in their baskets for six years now, nor tinsel on the tree, because our cats find both irresistible for chewing. Remember to keep sewing supplies off limits to kitty.

2) Plastic bags or any bags with handles, six-pack plastic.

Cats seem to want to do is to get inside all bags and just enjoy sitting there. If there are handles large enough to get their heads through, they can get caught, and they can really hurt ourselves trying to get free. One year one of my kids brought home a homemade Easter basket, and our tabby Rosie somehow stuck her head through the handle. She rushed around the house bumping into things and really hurt herself before we could catch her and remove the basket. She most likely thought it was chasing her and was desperate to get away from it. It took a long time for her to start feeling like herself again. Now when I bring home a shopping bag, I cut through the handles so the cats can get inside it. Likewise all six-pack plastic gets cut up and thrown away.

3) Things cats could get trapped in.

This is the one our tortie Sally is bad about. There have been times when we could not find Sally. One time, we finally opened the linen closet and she was in there – packed TIGHTLY between the towels and the door. One time she had found or made a hole in the cloth that covers the bottom of the sofa, so she had made herself a hammock. Or if we leave a drawer open for a minute, guess who jumps in. Likewise, if we allow Sally into the furnace room, she jumps up into the ceiling of the basement and walks around – so she is not allowed in there because what if she got hurt or otherwise did not come back? Be very careful to make sure you can find your kitten(s) before turning on the dishwasher, washing machine, etc., and before you leave home. We still have to do that, and especially with Sally. If she’d get into the lining of the sofa, of course she’d get into the washing machine or dryer.

4) Cleaning and other household chemicals.

This includes buckets of water/detergent, toilets with toilet bowl cleaner, antifreeze, and especially horribly corrosive stuff like drain openers. Please keep those things put away securely, and if you use one of them make sure your kitten can’t lick or even get some on his paw. Because you know what will he do next if he gets some on his paw or coat!

5) Medicines and supplements, plus cheap flea products or flea products for dogs.

Do not give your cat any medication unless it is ordered by a veterinarian. Aspirin can kill your cat. They are not little humans, not at all. If your kitty has a problem, call the vet’s office and find out what you can give him, or take him in to see the doctor. Be very careful with your own pills and try to take them somewhere where they will not hit the floor – perhaps over the kitchen or bathroom sink. It can just take one pill to kill your cat, and you know if he finds one or sees one bouncing on the floor he’ll probably pick it right up. Please don’t use a dog flea collar or any flea product made for dogs on a cat. Cats’ makeup is very different from that of dogs, and you can make them very ill or even kill them this way. Please don’t use cheap flea products or once again you can kill your cat.  Why not get a recommendation from your vet for flea products?

6) Plants or flowers.

There are lists of plants which are poisonous, but for now we just don’t have any plants in the house. We have plants on the deck and in the yard, so we can see plenty of flowers, but as soon as anyone brings a plant or even cut flowers in, both cats rush over and try to eat it. If you really want to have house plants, here’s a list of plants toxic to cats to avoid.

7) Other animals, cars, or whatever unsafe conditions are in the neighbour’s garage.

Two cats on my street disappeared a couple of months ago, and it’s happened twice before in recent years. Who knows what the culprit is – dogs, a mean human, or one of the owls that we hear every night. I keep my cats strictly inside, but I know a lot of people enjoy letting their cats roam a little. If your cat goes outside, try to check on him once in a while. Make sure he has on a safety collar with an identifying tag or have him microchipped. There are cat enclosures and fences you can buy to give him a breath of fresh air while keeping him in and other animals out.