Just like the saying “curiosity killed the cat” goes, cats are instinctively curious creatures and while most of them will enjoy happy lives within the confines of their owner’s home away from hazards and threats, their intense desire to know pretty much anything that caught their attention can get them into dicey situations. As the person in charge of their safety, you’ll want to do all the best you can to protect them from disastrous situations. It is all your responsibility to provide them all their needs and to guarantee that they are always contented, happy and healthy.
If you think that since your cat always stays indoors she is safe right? Wrong! There are a lot of things inside your house that can put your darling pet cat in danger, are the most common ones are poisons. These poisons may not be potent enough to cause harm to humans in small doses but if ingested by your cat can cause a lot of health problems, or worse, their untimely death.
Due to their curious nature, domestic cats are vulnerable to poisoning and a lot of everyday household items present in your house can pose a danger to them. In the event that your cat may have ingested a poisonous substance, call your vet to ask for advice or if the situation turns from bad to worse, take it to the nearest vet immediately, even if they look okay.
Do not do any first aid to your cat if you are unsure of what you are doing and do not delay sending them to the vet, even just for a few minutes. Time is your enemy at that point and for every minute wasted is a step closer to death’s door.
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It is advisable to keep the following chemicals tucked away from your cat’s reach, for whatever your cat touches (or even glances at its fur), may it be intentional or accidental, is likely to be ingested when they are grooming. Here are the most common toxic materials for your cat and it’s symptoms:
Antifreeze – Within the first few hours after ingestion, your cat may show signs of vomiting and drooling due to irritation of the stomach. Since ethylene is a type of alcohol, there may also be stumbling and depression, and if not treated right away, signs of kidney failure will develop within one or two days. This includes loss of appetite, vomiting profusely, extreme dehydration, excessive or no urination at all.
Pest Control Agents, most common ones are:
Rodent Bait – One of the most common cause of pet poisoning. Most rodent poisons use ant-coagulants that kills the animal by causing profuse bleeding. These kinds of poison is the most potent ones due to that they are designed to be very irresistible to animals. It is also a great idea not to use these and use rodent traps instead, for sometimes even if your cat doesn’t have direct access to these, there is a high possibility that they may catch rodents or mice who are already contaminated by these poisons. Typically, it takes 2 to 5 days for the following symptoms associated with anticoagulant poisoning to appear and may exhibit bruising, pale gums, blood mixed in their bodily wastes, especially urine, vomit or fecal matter, and signs of weakness, staggering gait and depression. It may also cause the blood to accumulate in their chest, thus leads to shallow or labored breathing.
Weed Killers – Most herbicide contains glyphosate, which is a widely used and readily available herbicide and commonly induces vomiting, anorexia and lethargy to cats after glyphosate exposure. Chlorophenoxy is also one of the key ingredients in herbicides and common signs of chlorophenoxy includes salivation, vomiting, abdominal discomfort and also lethargy. In severe cases there may be blood in the their fecal matter, lack of eating and progressive weakness and there may be ulcers in the mouth. insect killers can be extremely toxic to cat.
Dog Flea Treatment Medication - Many active ingredients are used in high concentrations in flea and tick topical spot-on medications for dogs which are also toxic to cats if ingested. Chemicals such as Pyrethrins (such as Allethrin, Cypermethrin, Cyphenothrin and Permethrin) may induce agitation, facial twitching, inappetance, seizures, and ultimately death if ingested by your cat.
Human Medications – Medicines that are prepared for humans such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, Tylenol (acetaminophen), Pseudoephedrine (a type of decongestant), Diabetes Medicines such as Glipizide and Glyburide, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy medications, and Benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax and Klonopin are just a few of those medications that are highly toxic to your pet.
Certain Human Foods – such as:
Alcohol (Ethanol) - may cause severe liver and brain damage.
Chocolate - contains theobromine that can cause heart problems, muscle tremors, or seizures.
Coffee and Tea - caffeine, commonly found in these products, can cause your cat to become restless, suffer from rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors.
Onions and Garlic - along with other plants in the Allium family such as leeks, scallions, chives and shallots, damages red blood cells resulting in the cells not being able to carry oxygen. Too much of these ingested may cause anemia and in extreme case, anemia may lead to internal organ damage, organ failure and ultimately death.
Some plants, such as the lily family of plants, can be are fatal for your cat. There are some cases that by just simply brushing against specific plants and inhaling or licking their pollen is already enough to poison cats. It is best to avoid them all if possible, whether snipped parts, cut flowers or grown outside or in the garden.
Cats are more likely to chew on plants if they are bored or are looking for grass to nibble. For that, you can place certain plants around your property which are safe for your pet like wheat grass, lemon grass, mint, some herbs used for cooking such as parsley, rosemary and thyme, spider plant or spider ivy (Chlorophytum comosum), and of course, catnip or catmint (Mepera cataria).
Avoid bringing and placing live potted plants who are known to be poisonous to them indoors, such species of plants includes Amaryllis, Azaleas and Rhododendrons, Cyclamens, Crassulaceaes (such as Kalanchoes), Cannabis, Tulip and Narcissus bulbs, Chrysanthemums and Yews.
Also, one of the major reason why cats get injured indoors is falling from high places or ledges, such as stairs, upstairs windows or balconies. If you want fresh air to circulate around your house, especially if you have a cat which is always kept indoors, it is a great idea to place screens on your windows with wire mesh or welded wire fabric (or pre-made window screen measured according to the dimensions of your window).
This keeps your cat from going out or falling while keeping fresh air in. If you have a balcony, it is advisable to have a screen door installed along the way or fence up your balcony. And for indoors, purchasing a cat tower , a cat condo (Cat Scratching Tree Post Sisal Pole Condo House Furniture Multi level Blue 260cm-Amazon), or a cat tree (Cat Tree Scratcher JUMBO 180cm - BEIGE-Amazon) will ensure that your cat has somewhere to climb (cats have that natural desire to climb things and sit on top of high places where they can pretty much see everything). You can get these quality products on online store like activefelinesolutions complete with customer reviews and testimonials.
Sometimes if they feel anxious or if it’s getting noisy and want to go somewhere quiet to sleep peacefully, cats tends to look for some small spaces to get into, usually ends up trapped and eventually die of suffocation. Block off any areas where your cat could become trapped such as between the back of your sofa and the wall and corners of appliances big enough where they can fit in.
Keep the doors securely closed of some appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers or large refrigerators. There are also instances that cats get trapped on cabinets and dressers if left open unintentionally. You also need to keep sharp objects such as knives and tools away if not in use, and also keep them away from hot surfaces that may potentially burn them or scorch their fur.
There is also the possibility that your cat might get attracted to the water in your toilet, especially the toilet bowl or the tub full of water, always put down the lid of your toilet bowl and drain the bathtub if not in use, or always close the bathroom door to avoid the danger of drowning.
While most cats stay indoors, some cats like to spend most of their time and socialize with other cats outdoors. If your cat is not yet familiar with their new location, there is a possibility that they will get lost. So, before you let your cat go outside and see the world, it is important that you make sure that they are easily identified and traceable once they get lost.
Some owners would invest in micro-chipping their cat and so far, it is the most effective method in identifying them. Implanting the chip to your cat is a very quick, painless and safe procedure and when paired with the right contact information and a microchip, you can be reunited with your cat if she should get lost. And since most microchip companies serve as an intermediary during the reuniting process, your home address and phone number is more secure than if it was placed on a regular ID tag.
If one can’t afford micro-chipping their cat, purchasing a collar is one of the traditional ways of placing information (name of the cat, your name and contact details) on your cat. It is advisable to but quick detach or snap release collars instead of elastic ones, for sometimes elastic ones can be easily taken off accidentally and sometimes will get your cat trapped and eventually choked to death if the collar is snagged on to something.
Keep in Mind: Make sure that the collar is not too tight nor not too loose on your cat, you can measure it by slipping two fingers underneath it if worn by your cat, if it does, then it is a perfect fit. Cats can catch their leg or jaw in an elastic or ill-fitting collar and this can result in serious injury.
Cats are originally hunters and although your domestic kitty is not nocturnal but crepuscular (combining daylight activity with nighttime activity), they still tend to be more on the lookout at night, reason for this is that most of the cat’s natural prey, especially rodents, feed at night. Their eyes do not adjust as quickly as ours to changes in light intensity, so sudden bright headlights can be dazzling and may cause disorientation. Most road accidents happen after nightfall so it is advisable to keep your cat indoors at night.
Also complete your cat’s vaccinations before allowing it to go outside. It’ll help reduce the risk of contacting contagious diseases from the surroundings and other cats. Cats adopted from local shelters may or may not have complete vaccination so it is better to ask first before getting your first cat to save you time and money. If your desired cat haven’t completed their vaccines yet, make sure to follow up their vaccine shots, especially for for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP), Rabies, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), Feline Leukemia (Felv) and Bordetella.
And finally, keep your cats away from ponds and pools for their is a tendency for the cat to drink from it, and also the possibility of them falling and eventually drowning in it. Occasionally, missing cats often turn out to have been accidentally locked in garden sheds, garages or even in the dumpster. Check that your cat hasn’t crept into outhouses and wheelie bins before closing them, especially at night.
Cats are independent and inquisitive creatures and are usually careful to keep themselves out of harm’s way. Still, knowing all the possible dangers around and making preparations to avoid them will ensure your cat’s safety all the time.
You may also take a look at Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy Contented article to get some ideas of keeping your kitty safe and happy indoor.