You keep your cat indoors and have invested in pet insurance for them, so your cat must be totally safe, right? Not necessarily. Though the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, recommends that your cat stays indoors to ensure longevity, there are still many (albeit less obvious) dangers around your home. The following are among some of the most prevalent dangers to look out for:
1. Household Chemicals
When your cat walks across your newly cleaned, shiny floors while it is still wet, there are likely getting whatever cleaner you used on their paws. Your cat will then lick their paws since they are naturally clean animals, and depending on the substance you used, it may cause serious injuries. Most common cleaning products are hazardous to cats, especially those that use benzalkonium chloride because it can cause caustic burns on your cats tongue if it gets in their mouth.
As with children, keep all chemicals away from cats, and to be safe, be sure your floors are completely dry before allowing them to walk on it.
2. House Plants
Cats love to chew on grass and leaves when their outdoors, so when they are indoors, they make due with your house plant. The problem is, though, that not all house plants are safe for your cat to consume; certain types of lilies, for example, can cause kidney failure. Among other types of dangerous plants to keep away from your cat include: philodendron, aloe, dieffenbachia, asparagus ferns, cyclamen, and corn plants.
You can deter your cat from eating your house plants by giving them a tray with growing grass to munch on, or you can invest in some non-toxic plants that won’t cause your cat any harm if they swallow some. These plants include: succulent types such as kalanchoe, jade, and echeveria, African violets, spider plants, air plants, prayer plants, variations of ferns including maidenhair, Boston, and bird’s nest, peperomia, and orchids.
As with humans, boredom can cause a cat to overeat which in turn can increase the likelihood of developing feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and diabetes mellitus, both of which are serious illnesses for your cat to suffer from.
Additionally, treating these ailments can quickly become expensive for you since you will be paying for visits to the vet, medication, and surgery if it is needed.
Be sure to have plenty of cat-safe toys such as scratching posts to keep your cat engaged and active.
4. Laundry Appliances
Cats absolutely love warm places, which is the reason why you often see them sun baking in sunny spots. They are comfort seekers and will naturally gravitate towards, and hide in your warm piles of newly laundered clothes, or to your still-warm dryer. Always be sure to close your dryer door immediately after using it, and check the inside before turning it to avoid any accidents,
Many people believe that cats are able to survive any fall, but this simply not true. While it is true that cats love to climb and that they have a natural talent for it, they will definitely get hurt if they fall from a high enough place such as a balcony or window. Falling may result in broken bones or even worse, so it is important to cat-proof your balcony as best as you can, and install durable screens on all your windows.
6. Human Food
Feeding pets people food is a common practice, but it is not always safe to do. Giving your cat foods with a lot of onion or garlic, for example, can cause the breakdown of red blood cells; chocolate may cause heart racing and seizures; and candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol could result in extremely low blood sugar levels. It is also important to keep any type of caffeine, alcohol, milk, chocolate or raisins away from your cat, and to check with your vet before giving your cat any human food. It is better yet to simply stick to great quality cat food.
Cats love to jump around and try to catch ‘snakes’, which can be anything from string to ribbon to tinsel to thread. It may seem like just fun and games but remember that there is a very high chance that your cat could swallow the material which can knot and get stuck in their intestines, which then could lead to more serious complications such as UTIs.
Be sure to keep all knitting and/or sewing supplies out of reach, and to always supervise playtime to prevent accidents.
Toilets pose a more obvious, yet still serious hazardous threat to your cat. They may become curious about the appliance and jump up to check out what’s inside, only to accidentally fall in. This is easily preventable by simply making sure that the lid is always down.
As stated above, cats are obsessed with playing with ‘snakes’ and that could also apply to electrical cords that they mistakenly thought was just another piece of thread. Chewing or cutting through an electrical cord could result in your cat suffering from serious shock and thermal burns in their mouth.
To avoid this, make sure that all wiring is tucked and hidden behind furniture, or is covered in duct tape.
This last hazard has less to do with things you may have overlooked in your home, and more to do with your cat’s personality. Cats that become bored or stressed may eventually exhibit more inappropriate behaviors such as scratching up your expensive furniture, or urinating in the wrong places. Becoming a nuisance could in turn force the family to give it to the shelter, which is actually one of the main reasons cats are given away.
To deter inappropriate behaviors, be sure to regularly play with and entertain your cat, and to build them a cat-friendly environment that would ideally include high cat towers, preferably with a street view.