Don’t let curiosity kill your cat
Cats are unique…they will follow scents and odours, play with the strangest objects and get into places you would never dream of venturing into; in short, go where no man (or pet) has gone before. And as a responsible cat parent, it’s time we saw our homes through our feline’s eyes, and cat-proofed our homes.
Ideally, the best time to cat-proof your home is before your cat comes home. Here are the potential dangers your kitty can face:
Dangers within home
Beware of hideaways: Beware of uncovered drains, nooks, drawers and cupboards that your cat can crawl into and get trapped in. It’s best to keep these closed off and to regularly check to make sure you know where your kitty is hiding.
Cleaners – a poison for kitties: Laundry and household cleaning products also pose deadly risks. Keeping these atop a cupboard will not make them out of reach for your cat, so make sure these are securely closed.
Other traps: Doors, recliners, pot pourri, medicine cabinets and garbage cans are other household traps.
Electricity dangers: Plug points, power cords and wires are very tempting to playful cats but can cause serious shocks, burns and even death. Install baby guards on the former and roll away or hide wires under carpets or tape them down. Mobile chargers are particularly tempting, so don’t leave them plugged in. Use Tabasco or citrus scents to dissuade your cat.
Plants: Indoor plants (like mistletoe, poinsettia, lilies, Christmas trees and hydrangea) are poisonous, as are certain seeds like apple, apricot, cherry, plum, peach and castor.
Foods to watch: Certain foods that humans enjoy are harmful for cats – onion and garlic cause anaemia, baking powder, soda and yeast cause serious physiological and heart problems. Fatty foods (include dairy products) could cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Chocolate, coffee, nutmeg and grapes are other danger foods.
Small objects: Unsafe toys include yarn, wool and any toy dangling from a long string, small shiny objects (like Christmas decorations or pins) and candle flames (yes!).
Dangers outside home
Outdoor hazards: If your cat is going to have access to the outdoors, hazards include toxic plants, vehicles, predators (dogs, feral cats and snakes), prey (insects and reptiles), parasites (fleas, ticks and worms) and diseases (like feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency syndromes which are spread through saliva).
Unwanted pregnancies: There is also the risk of unwanted pregnancies in your queen and your pet could run into trouble with the law by breaking into a home for a tasty treat.
A word of caution: Also, make sure that your pet has a collar with identification and has a way to get back into the house, or at least a place where he can find shelter from the elements and predators. Try and limit his territory to your compound wall and take care to avoid toxic plants (like oleander, ivy, mushroom, tomato, bean plants and cactus) in your garden. Some grasses and leaves like bamboo and lemongrass may not be poisonous but will cause vomiting and bleeding because of their sharp edges.
So, if you must allow your cat access to the outdoors, make sure he is neutered, vaccinated and dewormed regularly and has regular check ups to check for cuts, diseases and infections. A little caution and vigilance is all it takes to keep your pet protected. We know that they are worth the effort so don’t delay in making your home a safe place for your cat!