You may think you live in an environment free from cat dangers, but every home is a potential minefield of hazards for your cat.
Here are some common household dangers to watch out for:
Most people know that rat bait can also poison cats, but many don't realise eating a poisoned rat can be fatal too. To reduce the risk of accidental poisoning, put the baits in a place that only the rats can reach. In the roof, between walls, and along known rat runs are all safe places that your pets should not be able to access. Store rat baits safely in the original packaging within another sealed container, and keep this in a high cupboard out of reach of pets and children.
Some rat baits are safer for pets than others but be careful with any brand, If you think your cat has had contact with rat bait, call your vet immediately.
Most snail baits contain metaldehyde, which is highly toxic to cats. To reduce the risk of accidental poisoning, put the baits in a place your pets can’t access. In your garden, place a barrier around garden beds and garden mesh over the top. Store snail bait in the original packaging within another sealed container and keep this in a high cupboard out of reach of pets and children. If you think your cat has had contact with snail bait, call your vet immediately.
Most of these contain boric acid which is toxic if a cat eats a large amount for its body size. Many ant killers have a sweet smell and taste to attract ants. This can be equally appealing to cats, so always put the ant killer in places your pet can't get to. Store these insecticides in an air tight container in a high cupboard, out of reach of pets and children. If you think your cat has ingested ant killer, contact your vet immediately.
Home office paper shredders
This is a relatively new danger for pets, particularly for cats. Most paper shredders have self-feed and on/off buttons on top of the unit. The machine can often be warm, making it an inviting spot for your cat to lie on, where it can inadvertently switch the shredder on. Cats have had paws, tails and fur caught, so it's a good habit to keep the shredder turned OFF at the wall and only turn it on when you are using it. You may also want to store it under a desk where it's unlikely to be walked over or slept on.
These can be a major hazard for pets, especially young kittens. They love to run under and hide in reclining chairs. Kittens are especially likely to climb up inside the chair and curl up for a nap. When someone sits or starts to rock in the chair, pets can become caught or even fatally injured. Always check where your cat is before reclining or closing the recliner on the chair.
The oil used in oil burners is caustic but can tempt some cats with its smell. If licked or swallowed, oil can cause burns to the mouth or oesophagus that may become life threatening if left untreated . If you think your cat has ingested oil from an oil burner, contact your vet immediately.
Bins are full of hazards, especially for inquisitive animals. If a bin is left open, or can be easily knocked over, pets can pull out dangerous or toxic rubbish such as food wrappers, dental floss, and cigarette butts, or cooked bones and food skewers that could splinter and cause life-threatening damage to the digestive tract. Keep bins covered and out of reach.
Medicine that's safe for you is not necessarily safe for your cat. Some medications like common headache tablets are highly toxic for animals. If your pet has a health problem, please don’t treat them yourself with human medications or ointments, always contact your vet.
Dirty clothes baskets
Some cats are notorious for seeking out interesting smells from unwashed clothes. Dirty socks are especially dangerous and can cause a life-threatening obstruction in the digestive system that requires emergency surgery. If you know your cat is a dirty clothes hunter, keep the laundry basket out of reach.
Kittens love playing with clothes pegs and will often chew on them. This is potentially hazardous as pegs can lodge in their mouths or oesophagus. Most household cleansers are also dangerous if ingested. Some cats are attracted to the ammonia in floor cleaners or bleach, and may lick a recently cleaned floor. If your pet ingests floor cleaner or bleach it can cause life-threatening burns to the mouth or oesophagus, so you should contact your vet immediately.
It's recommended to keep all electrical cords out of reach of pets, especially kittens that will often chew, drag and pull on any cords they find. If your pet chews and exposes the wiring it can cause severe injuries. These include burns to the mouth and tongue, and in more serious cases, seizures, difficulty breathing or cardiac arrest. For your family's safety, if you see your cat chewing an electrical cord or find chew marks on any cord, unplug and replace it immediately.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.