Purr-fect Safety – Avoid a Cat-astrophe

Feline fanatics take to heart the old adage that ‘a house is not a home without a cat.’ But is your house a safe home for a cat? Before sharing your space with a furry ball of personality on four paws, there are many things to think about. 

Around the house

Cat-proof you home. Thoughtfully look around to identify potential hazards – and then doing something to make the space safer! Remember that cats are curious creatures. They like to climb and get into small spaces and play with everything they find.

Some curious cats have met with catastrophe after crawling into dryers, ovens, fridges, heating vents, suspended ceilings, and even dresser drawers. To prevent accidents, keep an eye on your cat while you’re working in the kitchen and the laundry room. If you are doing renovations in part of your house, prevent kitty from having access to that area. 

Other tips:

  • Make sure heavy items are securely placed on the floor or on stable surfaces. Stabilize wobbly book shelves and make sure kitty can’t knock over your flat-screen TV.
  • Cats love to play with string. However, severe intestinal damage can result if they swallow thread, tinsel or dental floss. Keep items like these safely stored.
  • Do not leave open medication, vitamins or seeds around the house. Ingesting these may make your cat sick, or worse.
  • Make it impossible for kitty to get into your cleaning products. Keep these items safety stored behind cupboard doors secured by a child-lock.
  • Cut looped blind cords and put them up high – they are strangulation hazards for cats.

Kids and cats

Teach children to respect and care for animals. Kids should never poke a cat or pull its tail, as this will cause the feline pain and may provoke it to react by biting or scratching the child.

If you already have a cat and are bringing a new baby into a home, do what you can to make the transition a smooth one for kitty. This could mean letting the cat explore the new baby’s room and toys a few weeks ahead of time. Don’t introduce the cat to your baby right away when you get home from the hospital; instead, leave a piece of the baby’s clothing or a blanket in a spot where the cat can smell it and get used to the scent.

Even after your cat and the baby become friends, keep the cat out of your baby’s room when you are not in the room and when your child is sleeping. It’s a myth that a cat will try to ‘steal a baby’s breath,’ but a cat that likes to snuggle might get too close to the infant’s mouth and restrict the baby’s breathing.

Keep it clean!

If your cat makes a mess on carpets or beds instead of using its litter box consistently, that can cause tremendous stress in the household along with sanitation concerns. The leading reason people give up their cats is because of litter-box issues. To minimize problems, have one more litter box in the house than you have cats. So two cats means three litter boxes.

Clean each litter box every day, and change the litter completely at least once a week. Choose a brand that clumps with moisture. Be patient and find out whether your cat prefers a covered or open litter box.

 

Certain foods are toxic to cats and may cause vomiting, shock and even death. These include (source: www.catster.com):

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine and chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Marijuana, tobacco and macadamia nuts
  • Mushrooms, potatoes and green tomatoes
  • Onions and garlic (and foods containing onion powder or garlic powder)
  • Raw eggs, raw fish, salt and bones
  • Yeast dough

Plants can be poisonous to cats! Keep these ones out of your house.  

  • Amaryllis
  • Azalea
  • Cactus
  • Caladium
  • Ivy
  • Lilies
  • Poinsettia and mistletoe