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Cat-Proofing for Curious Kitties

177110711I’m sure you’ve noticed cats are very curious little creatures. Even my “senior” cats have occasionally been found lounging atop a high stack of boxes in a closet or eating something mysterious underneath the couch. Younger cats aren’t the only ones who require precautions. When it comes to safety it’s important to start early and stay consistent. The old saying, “curiosity killed the cat” didn’t come out of nowhere, so here are some tips to ensure the safety of your curious cat:

Poisonous plants
Cats and kittens love to play with plants (real and fake). Unfortunately part of cat play often involves licking, biting and consuming said plant. Some plants are harmful if ingested, especially plastic ones that cannot be broken down and could cause internal obstructions. So stick to safer options or place potential threats out of your cats reach. Some live plants that are toxic to cats include Lilies, English Ivy, Philodendrons, Poinsettias, and Dieffenbachia. Click here for a list of more plants that you should keep away from your kitty.

The garage
Garages are often used for tools and automobiles, or for extra storage. They can contain loads of sharp and heavy objects that could pose a danger if they fall onto a feline. Chemical substances such as paint, oil, antifreeze, and gasoline are also often present and can get into a cats fur. When the cat cleans itself it can ingest the substance and become ill. Moving vehicles and automated garage doors are also a common danger as cats can become trapped beneath them and crushed. So just keep your cat out of the garage, okay?

Exposed electrical cords
Cords like the ones used to charge phones and connect televisions and appliances can look like a chew toy to curious cats. So invest in a cord management system or use electrical tape to secure them out of reach. Electricity and cats do not mix. My youngest cat has a dangerous fascination with cords and after replacing them several times we discovered the wrapping them in electrical tape and securing them to the shelf or wall keeps both cat and cords safe.

Hanging blind cords
Cats love strings. Window blinds often have strings hanging from the sides to adjust the wooden slats. These strings can be very dangerous for a cat if they get tangled and are unable to get free. Especially if the string tangles around a limb or their neck. Blinds are simple to change to a safer options or strings can be easily tied out of the way.

Collars
People often keep collars on their cats as a means of identification or as noise making device. And stylish as they may look collars with buckles can be dangerous is they get caught on a fence or branch. If you choose to keep a collar on your cat consider a plastic break away collar that will release if snagged-or opt for an identifying microchip. Harnesses are also preferable to collars if you plan to walk or put a leash on your cat. I would like to warn that break away collars don’t always work as they should. As a teenager we lost a cat who snagged her collar on our fence and was unable to get free. A microchip would have been a much better option. It is also important to insure that collars are not fastened too tightly. You should be able to easily slip two fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck.

179679566Small choking hazards
Small items such as deflated balloons, Christmas ornaments, tacks, hair bands, and plastic scraps all look like toys to a bored cat. They are also choking hazards. Keep them tucked away in sealed bags or containers or inside drawers out of your cats reach.

Pest poisons
Many common rodent and insect poisons can also be harmful to cats. Be sure to always read the labels before using any product in an area your cat might encounter. And then store them accordingly. Pet friendly products are usually available in most locations and work equally well.

Plastic bags
Cats love the crinkling of plastic garbage and grocery bags but they can become entangled and suffocate. Try to discourage this behavior, however cute it may be. Paper bags without handles are a safer alternative for them to play in.

Hiding places
Always check inside cupboards and dresser draws before you close them so you don’t crush a curious paw. Keep appliance doors such as ovens and dryers closed when not in use. Look inside before starting them. They can be temptingly warm places for cats to nap. Dishwashers and empty freezers can also pose some risk.

Candles
The flickering flames can draw fascination from many felines. However playing with them can cause burns to the paws or singed fur. My boyfriend’s cat once singed part of his tail after investigating a candle too closely.

Human food
My cats love Cheese Nips. But I can’t share with them. Just because a certain food is alright for human consumption doesn’t means it’s safe for your cat to eat as well. Some foods to avoid sharing are processed foods, onions and other root vegetables, green tomatoes, chocolate, and milk. Milk’s place on the list is surprising to most, but despite what cartoons often portray, cats should not drink cow’s milk as many are lactose intolerant. Milk replacements for kittens and older cats are also available at many pet stores. Click here to read some other common myths about cats – you might be surprised what isn’t true!

High stacked boxes
Cats love to climb, and a stack of boxes can look like the perfect challenge. But if the boxes collapse or topple over it could injure your kitty. Always keep your cat in mind when stacking boxes or placing items on shelves so that nothing is at risk of falling. One of my cats is notorious of pulling open closet doors and attempting to climb as high on the shelves and boxes as possible. Hook and eye locks worked very well to keep her out.

It seems like cats are always looking for trouble, doesn’t it? By taking a bit of extra time and precaution around the house, you can help ensure the safety of your furry feline.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Suzanne St John

    Jan 31, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Both of our kitties love to climb up on top of our kitchen cabinets – especially at night after we have gone to bed. If you have any tricks to help keep them down, I would be grateful!

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Just when this dog-eat-dog world has handed you all the poop you can take, it's time to walk the dog. Or wash the dog. Or feed the dog. You get the idea. So welcome to the world of easy-to-care-for cats. Entertainment comes bundled in a furry, huggable, self-cleaning cat who won't beg for your food. In his eyes, you don't eat well enough anyway. Just keep a laser pen handy, sit back and wait for the fun to begin! Cats...ya gotta love 'em.

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