Kitty dangers: Protect your cat at home
A cat is a wonderful addition to any home, but do you know what dangers lurk behind closed doors? Make sure your home is safe for kitty before you bring him home.
As any parent with a toddler knows, childproofing your home is essential for the safety of your little one. Adding a cat to your family means doing a bit of kitty-proofing to ensure his safety in your home. Many common household items can be dangerous for your cat, but with a bit of preparation you can avoid an emergency trip to the veterinarian.
Houseplants add to your home decor but can be dangerous for your cat. Some common indoor plants that can be dangerous include English ivy, rhododendron, philodendron and poinsettia. Seeds, leaves, blooms and flowers can all cause health issues for your pet, so it's best to keep your cat away from them if at all possible. The list of plants that are potentially dangerous to pets is long — check a comprehensive list [PDF] to see if your plants are safe.
Everyone buys a basket full of cat toys for their new friend, but are they safe? Check toys for loosely attached bells, feathers, fuzzy balls or buttons that can easily be chewed off and swallowed by your cat. Squeaky toys are always a hit, but cats may attempt to chew through the toy and get the squeaker out, which then becomes a choking hazard. Anything that your cat may play with needs to be checked for safety before he turns it into a toy.
Not only are cat toys potentially dangerous, but keep an eye on your children's toys as well. Small items like Lego pieces, Barbie shoes, marbles or game pieces are all interesting to a cat, but can easily become lodged in his throat. If possible, keep areas where your kids play with small toys closed off to your cat and make sure that small items are not left on the floor.
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Rubber bands, yarn or string
A ball of yarn is the time-tested favorite toy of cats — but don't let her swallow it. String, yarn, rubber bands or loose threads are all tempting to your cat, but swallowing it may cause intestinal problems. Sometimes swallowed string passes through without issue, but if not it can cause infection or tissue damage. Always supervise your cat when playing with yarn — and put it away after playtime.
Secure cabinet doors
Remember those childproof cabinet latches that kept your toddler out of trouble? They are great for keeping your cat out of danger, too. Undersink cabinet areas where you store cleaning supplies are best kept locked and safe from curious cats. Medicine cabinets are enticing to an exploring kitty, so make sure yours is securely latched. Creams and lotions in squeeze tubes are fun to chew on but can be dangerous.
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Check your desk and work area for anything that may be enticing to your kitty. Small desk items like pencil erasers, paper clips, twist ties and pushpins are fun to play with but can cause serious damage when swallowed. Your cat can easily jump onto your desk, so make sure these small items are stored away in a drawer or a bin with a lid.
With just a bit of preparation and a watchful eye, your home can be a safe place for the newest furry member of your family.