Common Household Hazards
Common household items may pose a danger to your cat
Strings and Yarns - Kittens and cats love playing with balls of yarn or dangling strings. But ingesting strings and threads can result in serious life-threatening complications that require immediate veterinarian attention or even surgery. Place strings, dental floss, sewing and craft supplies, rubber bands, and fishing line out of sight and out of reach. Also carefully inspect cat toys and remove small eyes or tails that come loose and swallowed.
Electrical Cords - Hide electrical cords from view whenever possible with wire covers or tape them onto walls and floors.
Kitchen/Utility - Kitten/cats like to nap in warm, dry places. Therefore, shut all doors to washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers to avoid trapping them when you turn on these appliances. Always check before closing the doors of these appliances. Use childproof latches to keep your kittens/cats out of cupboards where you store potentially dangerous cleaning products. Many common household products are toxic to cats such as bathroom essentials, mothballs, fabric softener sheets, cleaning compounds like bleach and batteries. Ensure there are stove covers for hot stove that have just been switched off. An unsuspecting kitten/cat may walk on it and sustain serious burns. Remove any ant, roach baits and other pest poisons from accessible areas. Do not overspray insect repellants in your home where your cat can lick or inhale it.
Home Decorations - Always use water-based paints instead of oil-based. If your cat gets paint stains on its paws or fur, rinse them away immediately under a tap. Call your veterinarian for instructions on safely removing any stubborn substances. Do not use paint thinner on your cat's coat as it is lethal to cats. Festive decorations such as tinsels, ribbons, ornaments, hooks, garlands, and blinking lights are all big temptations for a cat. Spray ornaments with repellent spray or place tin foil on the floor around the base of a standing decor such as a christmas tree. A burning candle can ignite your kitten’s/ cat’s fur as it walks by. Never ever leave a burning candle unattended.
- Cigarettes - Second-hand smoke is as toxic to cats as leaving them around to the played with and ingested! Read more about
Prevent high-rise syndrome
Cats are natural agile climbers but it is not always true that they have the ability to balance on narrow parapets or be able to land on their feet everytime. More deaths and injuries are caused by cats falling out of windows than people realise. Cats may be distracted when stalking moths, birds, or other moving critters. All it takes is one ill-timed pounce or missed step to send them over the ledge.
Even a leash or tether does not ensure your cat's safety. A panicked cat dangling by its collar or harness can be strangled, seriously injured, or squirm loose and fall anyway.
Every window that you plan to open needs to have a screen/mesh. A cat-proof screen/mesh has to fit the window frame securely enough to sustain the weight of a ten or more pound cat when they climb on them. There are many available meshing options. Inspect all screens/mesh regularly to ensure that they do not get too worn-off by the scratching or biting of your cat. Once worn, do replace them promptly.
Protect your furnishings
It is important to satisfy your cats' innate need to climb and scratch as trying to stop it will be stressful for both you and your cat. Get your cat a cat tree or scratching post that it can call its own. You can also arrange your furniture or install cat ladders/shelves so that it can safely explore lofty spaces of your home. That does not mean that your cat will not also climb or scratch your furniture and drapes. To signify that an area is off-limits to scratching or climbing, use sticky tape or cat repellent spray available in pet shops on these areas to correct the behaviour. Also consider using a cloth cover to protect your furniture. Confine expensive drapes to off-limit rooms.
Keep valuables safe
Cats are curious. So you won't want to leave your antique vase sitting on the coffee table. Put away any breakable treasures that are remotely accessible to your cat or find a way to secure them such as using blue-tag or sticky tape. Put yourself into the mind of the cat, get down on the floor at her level, look around, and remove or secure anything you value. A real cat-friendly home is one where the cats are valued more than the possessions in the home. While measures can be taken to protect your furniture and valuables, do remember that it is natural that a cat will climb and scratch. It is more important to keep it safe from harm's way by saving it from it's own natural curiosity!