While your cat’s curious nature isn’t always as evident as your pup’s, there is a proverb, “curiosity killed the cat” and it certainly can. A cat’s curious nature can get them into as much, if not more trouble than a pup.
Top 10 Dangers for Your Cat According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
Listed below are the top 10 dangers that can cause your cat to get sick or worse – die.
1. Topical Spot-on Insecticides – those particularly made for dogs are not safe for cats! They can cause seizures, organ failure and death
2. Prescription Human Medications (e.g., Antidepressants, etc.) – never allow your cat access to any medicines, pills are fun to bat around and watch fly across the floor but can be deadly if ingested
3. Household Cleaners & Household Products – these are toxic to humans too
4. Lilies & Flowers/Plants – Lilies in particular react with your cat’s kidneys and can cause failure
5. Insoluble Oxalate Plants (e.g., Diefenbachia, Philodendron, and other houseplants) – cats love to chew on greens and these plants will wreak havoc on their bodies
6. Cold & Flu Medication (e.g., Tylenol, etc.) and over-the-counter human medications – not safe for our pets, many ingredients are extremely harmful
7. Human & Veterinary NSAIDs – your cat cannot read their prescription bottle, do not expect them to help themselves to the right or even safe dosage, especially when they come tuna flavored
8. Glow Sticks – they look cool but are tubes of toxin for your curious kitty
9. Mouse & Rat Poisons / Baits – as intended to dispatch your unwanted rodent friends, these chemicals could do the very same to the furry friends – research other safe ways to keep pests away
10. Lawn & Garden Products – fertilizers, weed killers etc. – cats, dogs and kids should be kept far away from these chemicals, they often smell interesting but are deadly if ingested
While the items listed above should most certainly be kept out of your cat, dog and child’s reach, there are still quite a few more dangers that we might not realize are in and around our homes.
While foods did not make the top 10 of the ASPCA list, there certainly are many foods that we would commonly have in our house that could be catastrophic for our cats. Foods like garlic, onions, chives and other onion family varieties can cause serious tummy trouble. Contrary to popular belief, while they love milk, cats are lactose intolerant and not able to digest dairy products. This applies to cheese as well. Alcohol can be added to that list and while it seems obvious that it would be harmful, you wouldn’t think they would like it – but they do. Raisins and grapes, just like with dogs cause kidney failure and caffeinated coffee, cola and tea are also very dangerous. In the right amounts they can cause death. While cats eat chocolate with far less frequency than their canine counterparts, it’s even more dangerous. Same with sugar free candies or diet foods containing xylitol. While we find moldy and spoiled foods gross, our cats may find them delectable. The molds and bacteria that build up could be very bad for your cats. Like guacamole? Chances are so does your cat but the persin in the avocado does not like them. In the wrong amount or the wrong cat, you’ve got a serious potentially fatal problem.
Items like threads, yarns, ribbons, dental floss and twine can cause choking or damage to internal organs as they wrap around. NEVER pull a string from your cat’s mouth or anus that has tension – you’re heading to the vet to have the professionals handle the hazard. While you can see the bit of birthday ribbon hanging out of the hiney, it could be several feet long and wrapped around their intestines. Pulling could cause internal damage, infection and death.
Many cats LOVE plastic bags. I heard once (although not verified by science) that it could be due to the chemical sprayed on the plastic to prevent bags sticking together is similar to a cat hormone. Bottom line, many cats like to chew and eat plastic which will cause blockages or chemical poisoning.
Sharp objects like knives, scissors, razors are obvious hazards but so are items like paper clips, hair pins, barrettes and jewelry. Even the opposite of sharp like buttons, coins, cotton balls and q-tips can be serious problems.
Seasonal changes in the home like decorating the Christmas tree not only brings out a new and exciting territory to check out but the decorations alone can add string, glass and other hazardous objects to your cat’s world.
Areas in the House
Depending on the time of year your cat may be lounging in the window or trying to stay warm way too close to or inside of the dryer. Make certain you have a visual on your cat during the cold months and in the warmer months, remember – screens do not hold children, dogs or cats back. Cats love to press against the warm metal mesh but if they lean too hard or at just the right angle, they’ll find themselves trying to land on all fours as they tumble out of the window. If the fall isn’t far, your indoor cat just became an outdoor one – and that presents a host of other hazards better suited for another blog post.
Something Is Not Right
If your cat is acting strange in any way, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435 they area available 365 days a year 24/7) for more information. The ASPCA will charge a $65 consultation fee but its worth the piece of mind and for the valuable life-saving information. The best thing you can have available for them besides your credit card is as much information as you have available. How long ago to did they get into whatever you are worried they got into? What is the product name, company information, how much was potentially ingested etc.? This type of information will allow poison control and your veterinarian to better help your cat.
Want to learn more about preventing accidents and keeping your cat’s safe? Take our pet first aid & CPR course, taught by an ER veterinarian who has seen the world of trouble our kitty companions have gotten themselves into. Have a fun story of your own, share it with us.