Tips for Pet-Proofing your Home
Suggestions on How to Make and Keep Kitty Safe
The world can be a dangerous place to a cat if certain precautions aren't taken to minimize risks. Even with the greatest amount of care, accidents can still happen. Our goal here is to provide you with a general checklist of items and conditions that can be hazardous to your fur baby.
By being aware of such potential problems, you can plan accordingly to reduce the associated risks, whether removing or controlling certain items found in the cat's environment, using "safer" products, or avoiding specific situations. While we won't go into detail about each listing, we'll try to be thorough. Please also realize that direct contact, ingestion, or inhalation of an "offending" item that's listed isn't the only route for potential harm; some items are a risk via secondary contact and/or ingestion.
Flea products, shampoos, and medications labeled "for dog use only"
Herbicides/Insecticides (especially those that contain arsenic)
Access to the garage (Cats can ingest, rub against, or become coated with toxic compounds, they might sleep on a warm car engine, or they could become overwhelmed with car fumes if a car is left running and unattended.)
Being allowed to go outside (especially if they've been de-clawed)
Being allowed to roam outside without being vaccinated
Open high windows or balconies
Open washer/drier doors
Rooms with excessive temperatures
Toilet lids left up
Unattended buckets or tubs of water
Unattended candles or potpourri
Unattended heated stove tops
Excessive amounts of tuna (especially tuna that's been stored in oil)
Milk (might irritate some cat's stomach but not toxic)
Mushrooms (human grade not toxic but cat could ingest poisonous varieties while roaming outdoors)
Raw meat/fish (controversial as some people feed their pets a raw food diet)
Ibuprofen and other pain relievers
Zinc oxide products
Christmas tree tinsel and ornaments
Cords (electrical and drapery)
Garbage (both the bags and its contents)
Glass pieces that can easily be knocked over
Knee high pantyhose
Lead fishing sinkers
Loose plastic bags
Pennies (contain zinc)
Small craft items
Small miscellaneous objects (paper clips, rubber bands, pins, coins, tacks, etc)
Toys that have easily removable parts including feathers and string
Plants (Not all varieties of those listed are a problem and not all are life threatening)
Go through your home prior to introducing a new pet into the environment as well as conduct regularly scheduled "re-checks" just in case something has changed and/or you missed something during the last walk through. It would also be a good idea to spend some time putting together a first aid kit for your cat. Include the "normal" medical supplies like bandages, gauze, hydrogen peroxide, saline solution, triple antibiotic ointment, etc. Check with your veterinarian for other suggestions including any potential "antidotes" to have immediately available.
Have the phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center associated with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in a handy location. There are several telephone numbers available to reach the center that's staffed by veterinarians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can call 888-426-4435, 800-548-2423, or 900-680-0000. There's a fee for using their services, but most pet owners would agree that the information they provide is money well spent.
As the adage of old states, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Pet-proof your home and have an emergency plan in mind, then sit back and relax. You've done your job as a responsible pet owner to make your cat's environment a safe place to be. Be vigilant without being overly concerned and all will be well.
Keeping Your Pets
Happy and Healthy,