KEEPING THEM PURRFECTLY SAFE

June 18, 2018

KEEPING THEM PURRFECTLY SAFE

People often asked me why I love cats so much – well I just do. I have always been drawn to them, although I can’t really explain it, I feel it instead. There’s always positive energy when I’m around my furry friends. I love it when they are seeking attention, being cuddly, and loving. They are my purrfect companions.

I have 2 cats, Shadow and Grizabella (yes! from CATS, the musical), an Exotic Shorthair and a Persian. Both of them were adopted when they were kittens and grew up to be friendly and playful. They both love to snuggle and sleep on my lap especially when I’m lounging. I know some people think cats are lazy and would just sleep all the time, but I tell you, most cats are the total opposite.

Contrary to popular belief, felines are adventurous, agile, inquisitive, and curious – so goes the popular expression ‘Curiosity killed the Cat’. I have witnessed first hand how they would identify hiding spots, scout closets, fit themselves in boxes too small for their bodies, and climb shelves - even doors. By the way, have you ever lost your cat in your own home? My two seldom meows so I sometimes do the Hide N Seek, with me always the Seeker.

They also love to rub their heads and bodies on surfaces, from our kitchen, to the living room, and of course the bedroom. One reason is because they are territorial. Since they are domesticated, they consider our home as their own territory (I haven’t witnessed any territorial fighting from them so I’m feeling lucky!).

We live in a highly developed urban area so it’s kind of hard to let them roam outside and I mean, that’s not an option.

INDOOR CATS

 

If we are going to talk about safety, I would definitely agree that cats are safer indoors. Imagine if I let them out, just thinking of the risks will give me a heart attack. 

No dodging of cars – they really could be struck by cars outdoors, then there’s the reduced chance of contracting infections (well make sure you are up to date with their health by having regular visits to the vet even if they’re indoor cats), no territorial fighting with feral cats (there’s also a risk in contracting infections from cat to cat), they will not be stolen and less likely to catch parasites – fleas or ticks or worms.

However, even though cats are relatively safe indoors, I understand that they still need a stimulating environment and it’s my responsibility to provide it to them.

I mentioned some of the Outdoor risks above, but having Indoor cats even though it’s safer, is not without its own risks and hazards. Providing them with an enriched environment to curb and avoid behaviour problems by giving the right stimuli raises the risks a bit higher.

So how do I go about keeping my furry friends happy and lowering any health risks? I think ahead and make it safe for them.


CAT PROOFING

 

Poisons

Household chemicals such as detergents, bleach or cleaners, mothballs, or even pesticides – if you have plants. I lock them away out of reach so they won’t accidentally be exposed to these hazards. I have house plants and fortunately, even though I bought pesticides before, I never used them because they do pose a threat to my cats.
 

    Speaking of house plants, if you are a cat person

     

    meaning you really love your cats like I do mine, you would know they love to munch on grass or greens. So, catnip is high up on my list. They do love to chew on this.

    I also have potted bamboo plants that I know are also safe, situated in the living room and in my cats’ little playroom. Yes, I call their small play pen area between our kitchen and living room as their own playroom. Lastly, I have ferns – this I credit to Garfield, that show told me that ferns are safe to munch on. Watching Garfield taught me a number of things that my cats would be interested in and love.


    Now I go on the topic of detergents

    This is easy to lock on cabinets, making sure that my furry friends will be unable to open them. The tragic part is when we use it on the washing machine when doing laundry.

    Take note of this, before closing that machine door or lid, make sure that the cats are not in there. I found Shadow inside the washing machine one time and after that, I always make sure to check and double check before I do laundry. I mean their curiosity has no regard for safety at all.

    Electrocution 

    Like I pointed out above, they love to chew and not just the greens but the most common stuff you see in your living space. Phone cords, cables on vacuum cleaners or phone chargers, curly wires, etc. You better be careful because they won’t know what hit them if they keep on chewing on these and touch a live wire.

    Getting shock can be avoided if you prepare ahead of time. I use sprays that emit some odour that keep my cats away from these things. So far, it worked, they do leave my cords and cables alone. Besides, I always make them busy with some other toys to their liking.


    Windowsills 

     

    Have you ever seen your cat sit still on windowsills and just bask in the sun? This is the part in our house where they both love to lounge after they had their meals. You would think this is a safe place, it is, until the windows are open and you are in the 9th storey of a house building.

      People often think that because cats are prone to climbing and jumping, they have a natural instinct to protect themselves from getting hurt. 

      They do, have natural instincts I mean, but they get hurt when they fall out of a high rise – broken bones, shattered jaws, and even death. It is not uncommon and they call this a High Rise Syndrome, I just have to make sure that they have access to windows, the sun, and wind but not at the expense of their lives. You might want also to visit: The Myth of Nine Lives.

      So, I have reinforced window screens, mainly to keep my cats from falling and secondly, for any thief who can crawl up to 9 stories, hahaha.

      Shadow and Grizabella crave higher points that I often find them on top of my bookshelves and closet. These are safe spots inside the house according to my own calculations – these are not that high honestly, else I would have found a way to keep them from getting access. I actually cleared some area on my bookshelves for them to lounge on and in different levels just to make them happy. I believe it’s instinctive to them to climb higher or they might just be bothered by my stuff in the living room or the bedroom. Well, hopefully not the latter.

      See also: Hazards To Look Out For When Having A Cat

       

      Cat Toys 

      This is my most favourite topic, not counting the hazards that the toys entail but the joy my cats feel when we have our play time.

      My cats are easily bothered by moving objects (in a fun way of course), from the reflection of lights, dangling things (like the chimes I had near the window – it chimes when the wind blows and my cat (Ssssshadow) keeps on jumping over it until it got tangled so bad I had to store it away), and sparkle balls.

      They won’t stop playing with their toys until I keep them away from it. As a cat lover, I am overprotective of them like a mother hen, but you won’t believe how often they are in danger of choking or strangulation when playing. I only leave them with an interactive toy that release food when being handled (like this one I got: Cat Interactive Ball Toy Automatic Spinning Tumbler with Chase Light and Food Dispenser for Kitty). I easily got it from online store like activefelinesolutions. 


      Not only that it’s too big to swallow the entire ball, they have fun when small treats come out on the little hole when handled or rolled properly. They each got one, red/blue/green colors for Shadow and pink/neon green/yellow for Grizabella.

      Now some cat toys even though they bring them joy and fun to chase around – give them pretty good exercise as well since they seldom go out of the house – may pose some health hazards if not properly monitored.

      Like those feather teasers on a wand or fishing pole, they can easily start swallowing the string and it could be dangerous. It might get tangled on their teeth or worse really swallow it and could hurt them a hundred times over if you pull it forcefully. Same thing with yarns or strings, we often see cats go gaga over these, and I mean dangling stuff – they are life-threatening if swallowed. I do let them enjoy and play with strings, don’t get me wrong, but I am extra careful because it is my responsibility.

      I don’t have any experience in animal first-aids, I only have the numbers for an animal shelter and our vet so I take these hazards seriously and make sure I am fast enough or careful enough not to reach a worst case scenario. But I have this book called The Well Cat Book: The Classic Comprehensive Handbook of Cat Care (amazon). It teaches cat owners how to detect signs of illness, diagnose problems, and begin home treatment--thereby avoiding expensive and often unnecessary trips to the vet.


      CAT SENSE

       

      I would like to believe that my cats have everything they need inside our home. We don’t go out often but I provide them with stimulating environment, to keep them agile, satisfying their need to climb, giving them toys that bring out their instinctive desire to hunt (I once crept around the house placing 2 rat toys under the sofa and one hiding near their scratching posts) – by the way, Grizabella always looks so elegant when in hunting mode while my ruff tuff Shadow, is more of the ‘attack from hell’ approach, and then providing them with interactive materials or toys mostly to keep them from getting bored. 

      Their play area although shared, they each have their own cat scratching posts(see: Cat Scratching Post Tree Scratcher Pole Gym Sisal House Furniture Tall Grey 92cm and shared cat tree house (like this one:Cat Scratching Tree Post Scratcher Pole Furniture House Toy Carpeting Grey 170CM. You can get them easily from online stores like activefelinesolutions.

      These scratching mats and posts are important since I don’t have a real tree inside and marking territory is one of their basic need. 

      I wouldn’t like my furniture or sofas to be scratched by their claws. Well my closet has marks since Shadow started climbing up to my small storage area on top of my hangers and made it his own personal lounging place. Grizabella is mostly content on the windowsill especially in the morning when the sun shines through. 

      There are times I’d like to think that she only tolerates Shadow’s playful nature like that ‘attack from hell’ mode because she thinks she is the most regal atop her high perch on the windowsill and tumbling with Shadow is beneath her. This makes me smile all the time. When she’s walking, it’s like she is the Queen of the world, head high and looking down at her subjects, mind you – all done in slow motion. 

      You can totally imagine this if you’ve been around cats. And then there’s Shadow, the little scratches on the walls and my closets (nothing major) are definitely made when he’s in a playful mood, jumping around, and running from end to end, the total opposite of Grizabella. I think I gave them appropriate names when I adopted them.

      My cats are my source of joy and reliever of stress especially coming home from an exhausting day at work. They will greet me, rub their heads and body on me, follow me around my usual routine, until we get to the part where they are waiting when I start to prepare their meals and this is the only time they would enthusiastically meow at me (when they’re hungry!).

      Then we always have time to play with their toys before settling down on the sofa and them climbing on my lap. I love it when they start purring and make rumbling sounds on their bellies when I pet them, massage them or scratch their ears. Other people won’t understand why I love my purrfect companions, like I said I can’t describe it, it’s the way they make me feel. You can also visit: My Cat, My Companion.