Cats Cat-on-Sofa

Published on July 29th, 2014 | by Debbie Martin

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How to Cat Proof Your Home and Keep Your Feline Friend Safe

If you plan on bringing home a new kitten or cat, it is important to take a little time to think about how you can cat proof your home. This will help you to not only keep your belongings safe but also to help circumvent accidents that might harm your new kitten.

Your cat is a curious creature and if you are not careful, that curiosity can get them into dangerous situations in your home. It is important to make sure that there are no potential dangers around the house that could harm your cat. Remember that your little feline friend is small and they can get into all sorts of places throughout the house.

Here are some things that you should keep in mind when you are cat proofing your house to keep them safe.

The Danger of the Dryer and Washing Machine

Unfortunately, one of the most common accidents involving cats in the home is when a cat sneaks into the washing machine or dryer and their owner accidently starts the cycle with them inside! This is a very dangerous situation for a cat, because even a few minutes within either of these machines can cause head trauma, aspiration, pulmonary contusions, bruising, thermal burns and heat stroke. If they are in there for an extended period this sadly could even cause death. Make sure that you keep your washing machine and dryer door closed and turned off when you are not using it and check the appliance before you use it.

Climbing Curtains and Sofas

Cats love to climb and they will naturally want to climb up your sofas and curtains. This can be dangerous if they get too high and fall, but mostly you will want to discourage your cat from doing this because it will destroy your possessions with their sharp claws.

You can discourage your cat from climbing the sofa or curtains by giving them a squirt with a water pistol as a deterrent.

Electrical Cords, Drapery and Blinds

Cats will naturally want to play with these things, but they can get tangled in the cords or the drapes and then panic. Sometimes cats can get caught up and this can cause damage to their limbs or they could even strangle themselves as a result. If your cat is chewing on electrical cords this is extremely dangerous and there is a definite risk of electrocution. Make sure that all electrical cords are out of reach or hidden underneath the rugs, there are also many products you can buy to help protect your wiring and keep it all together.

Wool or Thread

Cats love to play with wool, thread and string – but this can be very dangerous for them if they swallow it. The string can get wrapped around their tongue and choke them or it can get stuck in their digestive system. This can be a dangerous situation, because the thread will “saw” at the cat’s intestines and cause a lot of pain and damage.

Small Items around the House

Cats will also be tempted to play with small household items like paper clips, pins and rubber bands. These items can be also very dangerous for your cat if they are swallowed, so you should keep your cat away from them as much as possible.

Household Chemicals

Another major danger for your cat is cleaning fluids and other chemicals. These can be extremely toxic and will cause serious illnesses and even death for your cat. Pine-based cleaners are especially harmful because they will cause liver failure if ingested. Never use these chemicals when you are cleaning your pet’s sleeping quarters, food bowls or litter boxes.

Antifreeze is dangerous because it contains ethylene glycol, which smells and tastes sweet so cats may be tempted to drink it. Even a few drops of antifreeze are enough to cause serious kidney damage that can be fatal to your cat.

You should always make sure that all of your chemicals are kept locked securely away, so that your cat will not be exposed to them.

Houseplants

Curious cats will also like to chew on the plants in your house. This can be dangerous or even fatal to your cat, because many common household plants are toxic. Some of the hazardous plants for cats include tulip, lilies, amaryllis, English Ivy, chrysanthemum, oleander, yew, azaleas, rhododendrons, and peace lilies. If you suspect that your cat has eaten any of these plants, you should take them to your vet as soon as possible.

Falls From Windows or Balconies

Your cat is naturally very agile and athletic, but it is still possible for them to have an accident from falling at a height like from your balcony or window. Although your cat will naturally land on their feet, if they fall from a significant height they will still seriously injure themselves and experience fractures of the jaw, limbs and spine as well as bruising and internal injuries. Make sure that your balcony is secure and place screens on your high windows to protect your cat.

Human and Animal Medications

If your cat is exposed to human medications this can be very dangerous for them, even seemingly harmless medicines such as paracetamol can cause liver or kidney failure and death in cats.

Also animal medications are often made more palatable so that it is easier to get your pet to take them. This means that if your cat gets access to this medication they will be likely to eat much more of it than they should. In order to keep your cat from overdosing on their medication, or the medication of another pet in the house, you should keep all medications safely locked away.

These are just a few of the important things that you should keep in mind when it comes to cat proofing your home, so that you can let your feline friend wander freely without having to worry. Remember, your curious kitty is likely to go exploring in every nook and cranny of your home, so it is important to look at the house from a “cat perspective” in order to spot every potential danger. The old saying is that “curiosity killed the cat”, but you don’t want it to come true!

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.



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