Cats are fascinating creatures. Not only are they fastidious, but they are also particular in what they want and when they are not prancing around adorably looking for something to do, they are either taking long naps, stretching their long beautiful bodies, scratching on your furniture or looking for something to eat. Did you know that cats can’t taste sweet things? Also, did you know that having a cat as a pet reduces your risk of heart attacks and strokes by nearly one third? All the more reason to love your cat and do everything you can to keep them safe around the home.
Beware of poisonous houseplants
Many common houseplants pose a significant threat to your cat's health. While cats will graze on a few leaves and stems from local flora such as wheatgrass and catnip, lilies are one of the worst houseplants you can have around the home. Beautiful as they are, a variety of lilies such as Easter, Stargazer including those known as “false” lilies are toxic to cats.
Both garlic and onion can also get your cat sick, and when a cat eats the leaves and stems of an Aloe Vera plant, they will have discoloration in their urine, they will also regurgitate, and show other severe symptoms of digestive distress such as diarrhea. Ornamental houseplants such as daffodils, chrysanthemum, and asparagus fern will cause your cat to be become lethargic or erratic. Poison hemlock, Daphne, angel's trumpet, the yew, and English yew are all poisonous to cats.
Keep dangerous chemicals away
This includes home cleaning products or car products. Antifreeze ingestion is particularly tempting to cats because of its sweet smell, plus they mistake it for water. Antifreeze poisoning will make your cat seem disoriented or extra thirsty, it will also start to vomit, drool, show signs of fatigue and seizure, which in some cases may lead to a coma. Bleeding from the mouth or rectum are signs of kidney damage, and if you don’t take it to a vet as soon as possible, it would be too late to save your cat's life.
Never use strong-smelling detergents that leave residual odors, especially bleach to clean the kitty litter because the ammonia smells like urine and the odor will put your cat off from using it. Ivory soaps are ideal to clean your cat's litter box provided you rinse the box with copious amounts of water and dry it thoroughly.
Keep medicine away and the cabinets locked
Cats will eat almost anything that looks edible, especially if it looks like a yummy treat. It’s easy to assume that because the medication is safe for you, it must also be safe for cats, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are hundreds of over the counter and prescription that are extremely toxic to cats and can even kill them. Being climbers and explorers, cats will find your medication from an open cabinet, from countertops, and they will munch away on medicine that you have accidentally dropped on the floor. Severe symptoms such as loss of coordination, rapid breathing, diarrhea, bloody vomit, tarry stool, lethargy, facial or paw swelling, etc. should be indicators that your furry companion has taken something she wasn’t supposed to.
Remember, having childproof caps on your medicine bottles doesn’t make them chew-proof, and if cats can gnaw on a bone, it can chew through plastic medicine caps. Keep all your medicine, even your cat’s medicine in a secure cabinet and use child-proof latches to keep your cat from wiggling its way into the cabinets. Always check to see if you have accidentally dropped a tablet or two and if you must flush it, ensure that it does go down the drain because not all cats drink water from their drinking bowl.
Beware of choking hazards
This means securing anything that could choke your cat such as rubber bands, loose strings or threads, tacks, paper clips, aluminum foil, plastic bags, unplugged electrical cords, and blind cords. They are, after all, playful creatures that will jump, reach, climb, pull, tag on anything and make it a plaything.
Use bitter deterrent sprays or cord coverings on your electrical cords or unplug and store them out of reach of your cat. It is not uncommon for cats to strangle themselves with blind cords and drapery or choke on the plastic pulls on the blind cords. Therefore, tie a high knot on all your chords and remove any object that your cat can stand on to get to them.
Secure loose breakable objects
If only we could just tell our cats to care for the precious things we call decorative and precious. Sometimes it looks like they are breaking things around the house on purpose (or maybe they are, who knows) but if you put yourself in their shoes, you certainly wouldn’t want things getting in your way of jumping, climbing, stretching, sleeping in the most awkward places and positions.
Your cat will jump on tables, cabinets, dressers, sideboards, and bookshelves leaving all kinds of carnage in their wake. If you find yourself trying to explain that the reason why you have a big bruise on your forehead is because your cat knocked a flower vase that fell on your face, then it is time to bring out the big guns. Remove all the loose breakables away from all your cats’ paths; you have seen him or her in action, therefore, you know their usual spots. This may seem a tad extreme, but you can also secure them on the shelves with a strong glue. Having a cat tree or a scratch pole that has different level platforms may appeal to your cats’ climbing habits and deter it from prancing all over your cabinets.
Remember, jumping onto high places is a very normal behavior for a cat, so, remove anything that would encourage this normal, but certainly destructive behavior such as not leaving food out in places where you don’t want it to go. Among other things, ensure that you leave treats in cat-friendly places, encourage your cat to stay on the ground by leaving interesting toys on the floor, and by all means, give your cat daily exercises to discourage boredom that will lead to destructive behavior.
Secure dangerous places
Cats find the weirdest places to hide or sleep. If you haven’t found your cat sleeping peacefully in the laundry machine or dryer, then you are in for a treat! These are some of the cat’s go-to places because the clothes provide a cushy and warm place for them to catch their beauty sleep. It is imperative that you check your appliances before regularly and ensure that they are always locked to keep your cat from climbing over and you trapping them in accidentally.
Check also your laundry basket to, kitchen cupboards, the back of a closet, the fireplace, behind an open door or bookshelf, behind drapes, under the bedspreads, under or even inside the furniture. Keep the doors to your laundry room and other areas that your cat can find some snug but dangerous places to hide or get some shut-eye. Invest in a very comfortable cat bed (heated if possible) and sleeping accessories because not only will your feline friend enjoy its naps, but it will also spare you the agony of trying to have her get down from or out of an unsafe place.
Don’t leave windows open
Again, cats will do anything for a thrill, even chasing butterflies. Using a window mesh will not only enable you to open your windows freely during those hot days, but it will also prevent your cat from freefalling to its death especially if you live in an apartment building. Cats, supposedly, have nine lives, but it is not a theory that you really want to test now, is it?
There are many ways that you can ensure the safety of your cat at home. Some things take careful consideration, others simply take you out of your comfort zone. But as a cat lover, doing these things for your feline friend will be a compromise you are willing to take, such as not having lilies in your home. Other things that you can do for your cat is introducing it to your dog if you have one at home. They are both predatory creatures that, sometimes, have a hard time getting along.
Additionally, brush your cat’s teeth as often as you can to avoid plaque buildup and make it a habit of grooming it because even though cats are great at self-grooming, their tongue catches a lot of hair, which in turn leads to regurgitated hairballs on your carpet. Frequent hairballs can also be a sign of gastrointestinal disease, which even to a human being, is very uncomfortable. Cats are beautiful, fun and intelligent creatures that bring us joy. Therefore, we should do all we can to ensure their safety at home.