For your reading enjoyment!
Cats who belong to a loving guardian just naturally assume that their humans will never hurt them. Your cats will stick their noses into the oven, not realizing you are about to light it; they will leave their tails trailing behind in the door, not realizing you are about to slam it.
Our feline friends are not frightened, and so they are not cautious. If we try a little bit to think like a cat, we have a better chance of protecting them.
Always Look Before Closing Doors
For us, the sense of sight is the most important as we are very visual creatures. To a cat, however, smell and hearing are much more important.
Think of the times that you have seen a cat looking in the mirror at herself. You probably wondered why she seemed disinterested. Cats certainly don’t know how mirrors work.
Didn’t her eyes tell her that another cat was there? Yes, her eyes did. But her nose and ears told her that she was alone, and her nose and ears are what she believes.
I know when I brought my newly adopted feral cat, Diba, home… she didn’t care at all about the mirror or of her reflection. Cats rely more on their nose and ears to judge their surroundings.
Cats go to places that we wouldn’t think of going because their noses tell them these are nice places- they’re interesting and wonderful to smell. Cats have been locked in refrigerators because their human guardian turned away and, without looking, slammed the door closed.
The guardian would never think of crawling into a refrigerator, so it does not occur to him that a cat might find it fascinating. Insulation muffles the cat’s cries, and by the time the cat is missed it is often too late.
With a cat loose in the house, you can never again open or close any door or drawer with automatic mindlessness. For the rest of your life with a cat, you must always look as you close.
Windows Of Escape Opportunity
We all tend to forget that for cats the home is not a natural environment. We have taken the cats out of their natural environment for our own pleasure, so it is up to us to protect them from the dangers that they do not automatically recognize.
Most cats are curious. Don’t ever leave your window or the door to the balcony open; the scents that blow in are absolutely fascinating for a cat. Almost all cats find cooking odors from other homes and body odors from other people’s animals and birds positively irresistible.
Sooner or later your cat will explore them. Chances are she will explore them repeatedly day after day, returning again and again to the open window or balcony.
Inevitably, a little stray piece of fluff will blow by or a tiny insect on the edge will capture her attention. As she lunges to capture the elusive object, one second is all it takes for her to fall out the window.
Females in heat and unneutered males are especially prone to escaping out the window. They know that there is no mate inside the apartment or home, and if they get the merest whiff of one from outdoors it’s all over. Declawed cats, of course, have notoriously poor balance and are at risk of falling out of windows too.
Cats perceive the world differently. They live almost exclusively in the present, with a very limited and hazy memory of the past and almost no concept of the future.
Their concept of space and depth differs from ours too. Remember that cats frequently fall out of windows that are open from the top as well. WIndow screens are not expensive. Save yourself the heartache and prevent your cats from escaping through the window!
Dangers Of Household Cleaners
Once you’ve screened the windows, the average home is still booby-trapped with objects that could be potentially harmful to your cat.
For example. many simple cleaning compounds such as Lysol, as well as dishwashing soap, are fatal if the cat gets even one lick of it. Be sure to store any cleaning fluids or medicines in a safe catproof place.
Make sure if you clean anything in the house your cat may get on with household cleaners to thoroughly rinse. This is because anything cats step in is going into their mouths. Cats are always licking their paws, especially if they smell something disagreeable on them.
So think twice about anything you use to clean surfaces in your home or any spray, like room deodorizer. The spray will eventually settle on the floor where your cat will walk.
Room sprays and deodorizers are made of volatile chemicals and may get stuck to your cat’s fur. Most of these products are downright painful to your cat’s sensitive nose as well.
Also, if your cat likes to lie on a towel, be sure to give her one without fabric softener. Fabric softeners coat the fibers and some of these chemicals will adhere to the cat’s fur, only to be licked off later.
Toxic Plants For Cats
A staggering number of plants are poisonous to cats. The Animal Poison Control Center, which is run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, lists numerous plants that are taxis to animals, causing “systemic effects and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract.” Here is a partial list:
- Asparagus fern
- Autumn crocus
- Avocado plant
- Bittersweet (American and European)
- Buddhist pine
- Castor bean
- Chinaberry tree
- Chinese evergreen
- Christmas rose
- Deadly nightshade
- Dieffenbachia (or dumb cane)
- Elephant ears
- Fearn (most varieties)
- Flamingo plant
- Florida beauty
- Golden pothos
- Heavenly bamboo
- Ivy (most varieties)
- Morning glory
- Rhubarb leaves
- Sago palm
- Taro vine
- Tomato plant
Other plants, such as yard grass and poinsettia, are less toxic, although they can sometimes cause vomiting, depression, or diarrhea. These symptoms are generally mild and self-limiting and often do not require any treatment.
For more specific information about the potential dangers, consult the Animal Poison Control Center at their website or call their hotline at 888-426-4435.
What Foods Are Poisonous To Cats?
Certain foods can also be toxic to cats. Remember that the cat’s system is different from ours. Some foods that we routinely ingest are very toxic to cats. They include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Apricot and peach pits
- Cherry (fruit, bar, stones, and leaves)
- Chocolate (all forms)
- Coffee (all forms)
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Onions, onion powder
- Products sweetened with xylitol
- Raisins and grapes
- Uncooked potatoes
- Yeast dough
The best practice is to not even give your cat any human food, to begin with. This will save you the headache of remembering which foods are toxic and will also prevent your cat from potential dangers. Just stick to cat treats and cat food which have been nutritionally tailored to suit your cat’s diet.
Again, if you want to learn more about the potential dangers, consult the Animal Poison Control Center at their website or call their hotline at 888-426-4435.
Cat Toys And Potential Dangers
Many uncommonly used cat toys are quite dangerous. Strings, yarns, and rubber bands have caused many cat deaths. Cats’ tongues
The stereotyped picture of kittens playing with a ball of yarn can easily become a horror story. Once they start to swallow a string, they can’t stop- they can only swallow more. Strangulation can occur from yarns and string.
In addition, yarns, string, and rubber bands can become wrapped around the intestine. Surgery can sometimes save such an animal, but all too often the string has cut through the intestines, allowing the fecal matter to contaminate the abdominal cavity. Let your cat chase safer toys.
It’s the same with tinfoil balls, corks, and cellophane balls. These articles make stimulating cat toys that crackle and skitter across the floor, tempting even the most lethargic or overweight felines to give chase.
But when the game time is over, store such toys in an inaccessible container. A piece of cork can cause choking; a piece of aluminum foil is not digestible and can block the intestine.
Cellophane cigarette wrappers turn “glassy” when they come into contact with the digestive juices in the cat’s stomach. Death by internal hemorrhage follows cuts from such cellophane.
Many toys sold in pet shops and supermarkets are actually quite dangerous because the decorations and trim are only glued on, and when they fall off they are easily swallowed by the cat. Choose toys that are crocheted or sewn together. Don’t allow the cat to play with any object that could possibly be swallowed.
Incidentally, a ping-pong ball makes a great cat toy and an absolutely safe one. Another winner is the plastic lid from bottled water, the cap from a
As you can see, there are many dangers in your home that you have to be wary of. This article wasn’t meant to scare you but rather to inform you on some essential information. By taking the time to be proactive and cat-proofing our homes, we can allow our beloved cats to safely live indoors.
Be sure to be mindful of the toys you let your cat play with unsupervised and with the household plants you have. Remember, cats have the ability to go nearly anywhere and may try to nibble on a plant or other poisonous substances.
As always, I wish you and your felines all the best! Be safe!