Keeping Your Cat in a Safe Environment
A good safety rule is to always return things to their proper places after use. This means a cupboard, drawer,
or some secure place that is not accessible to your cat.
- Sewing equipment (needles, pins, buttons, beads, sequins, yarn, thread, etc.) and hardware (nails, tacks, wood shavings, etc.) can be swallowed causing intestinal distress. In severe cases, emergency surgery may be required.
- Typewriter ribbons, scotch tape, rubber bands, paper clips, small paper scraps, and open containers of "liquid paper" are a few home office supplies that can cause your pet problems.
- Holidays can be hazardous to your pets. Tinsel is just as dangerous as string or rubber bands. The water in your Christmas tree stand can be fatal to your cat. Poinsettias, as well as many other plants, are poisonous to pet. Call Cat Care Society for a list of these plants.
- Plastic bags or bags with handles may cause suffocation or strangulation. If you provide a paper grocery sack for your cat to play in, be sure it does not have handles and that everyone in the household knows your cat may be inside the bag.
- Household cleaners, chemicals, and paint should not be left unattended while in use, and should be properly stored when not in use. (These include but are not limited to oven cleaner, herbicides, insecticides, antifreeze, soaps and detergents, bleach, disinfectant, shampoo, perfume, and aftershave.)
- Medication, including aspirin and Tylenol, could be fatal to your cat.
- Some house plants can be poisonous to your cat. Provide your cat with his own commercial kitty "garden" to remove his need to eat your plants. In addition, placing cedar blocks or hot chili peppers on the soil, or hanging the plants out of kitty's reach will help eliminate any potential problems.
- Toilet bowls or other water reservoirs could mean danger, especially for kittens. Leave toilet seat covers down, and cover any deep containers, as your cat or kitten may not be able to get out of these as easily as he got in!
- Remove the temptation to play with exposed electrical wires by shortening cords and fastening them to baseboards. Apply pepper, hot sauce, ginger, alum, or bitter apple to exposed cords to discourage chewing.
- Avoid toys smaller that a ping-pong ball or toys with easily removable parts that could be swallowed. Safe toys include spools (with all string removed), cardboard toilet paper rolls, empty tissue boxes with a large ball inside, or simply some newspaper spread out for kitty to hide under.
- Cats love a cozy, enclosed space to curl up in at nap time. Be sure to check crawl spaces, attics, clothes dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators prior to use, and before closing after use.
- Prevent your cat from "lending a paw" to workers at your house, such as plumbers or carpenters. A hand or tool could slip and cause injury to your cat or the worker could leave a door open and your cat could escape.
- "Cat proof" your electric or gas stove so it cannot be accidentally turned on.
Cats lack depth perception; to avoid a fall from a window or balcony, safely secure screens to these areas.
Screens on exterior doors will help prevent your cat from escaping to the outdoors. Teach all family members to watch for your cat before closing doors; this could prevent severe injury to small kittens, especially tails and paws.
Be careful not to lock your pet in a room for long periods without access to food, water, or a litter box
- All this, and your cat hasn't even made it outdoors!
Common Reasons for Letting Cats Outside
- Elimination - If you do not want to keep the litter box inside the house, consider purchasing and installing a special "cat door" to allow your cat constant access to the garage or and enclosed yard area where the litter box can be kept. If you keep a litter box in the garage, clean up any spilled antifreeze. Most cats like its sweet taste and even a few drops can cause irreversible kidney failure if swallowed. Even though the litter box is out of sight and smell, it is still necessary to remove solid and moist litter daily and to clean the box and replace soiled litter weekly. Cats are meticulous animals, and a clean litter box is essential to continued acceptable toilet habits.
- Fresh air and exercise - Cats are motivated by instinct, habit, and what seems pleasant at the moment. A cat can get sufficient exercise by chasing toys and playing in the house with his owner or a companion cat. When weather permits, fresh air from a screened window or door is adequate for good health.
- Allergies - Please contact Cat Care Society for our brochure on allergies.
Common Myths About Outdoor Cats
- Cats have and inborn ability to find their way home. NOT TRUE.
A cat can become disoriented after being chased by a dog or frightened by traffic. He may not be able to find his way home after being terrified.
- Cats can survive on their own. NOT TRUE.
Judging by the large number of cats that are heartlessly abandoned by their owners, this is a fairly common myth. Although cats have some natural hunting and defense mechanisms, a pampered household pet has not developed these skills to the degree required for survival.
An unsupervised outdoor cat faces a whole new set of potentially dangerous situations. Many of these "free roaming cats" must be treated for injuries, diseases, and parasites.
- Continued exposure to cold and dampness can result in hypothermia (lowered body temperature). Cats do develop a thick, woolly undercoat, but if this undercoat becomes wet it loses its insulation properties. In extremely cold weather, your cat's paws and ears can be frostbitten. In an effort to seek warmth, he may crawl up under the hood of a car and be injured or killed by the fan belt when the car is started. Storms with high winds, thunder, and lightening can frighten your cat and he may not be able to find a safe place to hide until the storm is over.
- In an attempt to protect their territory, cats may fight with each other. Often these fights result in infections from bite wounds that require veterinary care.
- Your cat can be exposed to diseases such as panleukopenia (distemper), upper respiratory infections, feline leukemia, feline AIDS, or rabies. Exposure may also occur to internal and external parasites such as fleas, lice, ticks, and mites.
- Injuries from automobiles and dogs can be fatal to outdoor cats.
- Your cat could be the victim of a steel-jaw leg hold trap -- the type that is still used in some areas to catch wild animals for their fur. Amputation of a paw or entire leg, or a slow, painful death could result.
- Free-roaming cats risk being taken and sold to research laboratories, sacrificed by those who illegally train fighting dogs, or abused by adults and children who do not place value on animal life.
- Cats allowed outdoors can kill wildlife (birds, rabbitts, suirrels) and can also be killed by wildlife (hawks, coyotes, rattlesnakes, wolves).
- Respect for your neighbors' rights should encourage you to keep your cat indoors. Chasing birds around bird feeders, defecating in gardens, or a child's sand box, digging into trash, or biting or scratching children are causes for neighbors to consider your cat - and maybe all cats - pests. Don't risk possible injury to your cat from an enraged neighbor!
- Leash laws for cats exist in some communities which make your cat fair game for your local animal control agency.
Responsible pet ownership includes awareness of inside and outside danger, AND taking measures to protect your cat from them. Life indoors can be satisfying for cats that are provided with window shelves for sunbathing and surveying the outdoors; your loving attention and, if possible, a companion cat. If you do allow your cat outside, supervision is a must. Some cats can be trained to walk on a leash and harness, or you can provide your cat with a safe outdoor enclosure like the "habicats" at Cat Care Society.
An identification tag and a break-away collar are a must for ALL cats. The expandable portion of a break-away collar enables your cat to free himself should the collar become caught. AND, please ask your veterinarian about flea collars - some are toxic to cats. Also talk to your veterinarian about a microchip for your cat -- another way to ensure your cat gets returned to you should he become lost.
Indoors or out, you are responsible for your cat's safety. Cats ask for very little: a warm bed, food and water, and loving attention from their owners. Keeping your cat in a safe environment is one way to return the companionship and unconditional, unquestioning love he so willingly gives to you!
You can now buy King Soopers cards from Cat Care society.
5% of your purchases will go directly to Cat Care Society.
Check out Cat Care Society benefit wines.
Each purchase helps support the cats at Cat Care Society.
Can't make it to Lakewood? Visit Woofs 'n' Hoofs in Littleton!