Cat Proofing Your House
Whether you've been a cat owner for years or just a few days, you should realize that your home may be a dangerous place for your cat or kitten. Unlike dogs, cats can climb, jump, open cabinets, and crawl into small spaces. They are very curious animals and will play with just about any object they can find.
It is a good idea to cat-proof your home just as you would child-proof a house to prevent serious accidents. Each room of your house holds potential dangers to your feline friend. The following guide will help you identify these hazards.
The kitchen is probably one of the most dangerous rooms in your house. Cats can jump very high; items left on your counter or table could interest your cat. Sharp knives, appliance cords, and your stove could be a hazard to your pet.
- Store all cleaners, detergents, polishes, bleaches, out of your cat's reach. Some other items that can harm your cat are rat poison, plant fertilizer, pesticides, and mothballs.
- If you must store toxic items in a cabinet that is close to the floor, for example, under the sink, make sure the cabinet is tightly closed or tie it shut. Cats are amazingly dexterous and can sometimes open cabinets that are close to the floor.
- Keep all cleaners and toxic items tightly capped.
- Do not allow your cat near your oven or stove. If the cat has a tendency to jump up on the stove, discourage him immediately.
- When your stove is turned on, never leave it unattended even if you have trained your cat not to jump on it.
- Chocolate is toxic to cats. Do not allow them to eat chocolate.
Your decorations and nick knacks may interest a curious cat who is looking for something to play with. Keep all breakables out of kitty's reach. Although cats are very agile and graceful in jumping, sometimes a miscalculated leap may cause them to knock over items on a table or shelf.
- In warm months, check that an screens are securely in place. Cats often like to sit on the window sill and might claw the screen.
- Do not allow your cat to chew on or eat house plants. Many of them contain substances which are toxic to cats. Some of the poisonous plants include amaryllis, dieffenbachia, English ivy, mistletoe, narcissus and philodendron. Check out the Toxic Plants webpage for an extended list of poisonous plants.
- Set lit candles out of the way where cats can't reach them. A curious cat could get burned by the flame of a candle.
- If you have decorations such as dried flowers or ferns, keep them out of your pet's reach. He may be attracted to them, but he should not chew on them because the paints and varnishes used are harmful.
Cats like to play with anything small or shiny, or objects that roll or move. Keep earrings, cuff links, and thumb tacks away from her. While she may think they are fun to play with, she could swallow and choke on the object.
- When closing the door of your closet or dresser drawers, check carefully to make sure your cat is not inside.
- Keep all sewing supplies out of your cat's reach. Pins, needles, and buttons can damage your cat's internal organs if swallowed.
- Some cats are fascinated with the toilet bowl and shower or bathtub. Discourage your cat from jumping into these places with a firm "no."
- Keep curling irons out of your cat's reach when they are in use. If the cord is dangling near the floor, your cat may be attracted to it and pull on it.
- Aspirin is toxic to cats. Keep all medication containers closed and out of a cat's reach.
Other hidden dangers exist that you should not forget.
- Cats are especially drawn to anti-freeze because it tastes sweet to them. Keep anti-freeze out of your cat's reach. Ingestion is harmful, as it is a toxic substance.
- Do not place mouse traps, poison pellets, or other anti-pest devices behind furniture or appliances. Cats can get caught in mousetraps, and chewing on pellets could be lethal.
- Only use bug sprays that are not harmful to pets, especially if you use them around windows where cats like to sit.
- Keep electrical cords out of your cat's reach. If he is attracted to electric sockets, buy childproof caps and put them on the outlets to avoid shock.
- Do not put an electric blanket in your cat's bed. Your pet may scratch or chew on it and expose wires that could cause electrocution.
Although your cat will play with just about anything, there are a number of items she should never have.
- Aluminum foil balls may be fun to bat around, but do not give these to your cat because they are unsafe. When your cat chews on these balls, little pieces of aluminum can be swallowed and can then perforate the lining of your cat's stomach.
- Cats love to play with spools of thread, but do not give your cat a spool with thread on it. The cat can ingest some of the thread and get sick.
- Do not allow your cat to play with rubber bands. He will chew on them and may swallow some of the pieces, or he may swallow it whole and it will get caught in his throat.
- Other unsafe toys include: ball of string, yarn, cork, cellophane ball, wire twist ties from plastic bags, foam or sponge toys, and any toy small enough for your cat to swallow.
Give your cat toys that are safe. Those purchased in pet stores are usually safe, such as balls with bells in them or stuffed mice. Make sure there are no small parts that can come loose if your cat likes to chew on them.
- Safe toys for your cat include ping pong balls, unshelled walnuts, empty cardboard toilet paper rolls, catnip filled socks tied with string, and empty thread spools.
Humane Society of Central Illinois
423 Kays Drive
Normal, IL 61761-1958