Cat proofing your house

The old saying goes ‘curiosity killed the cat’. Let’s hope that’s not the case with your kitty, but cats are curious creatures, and this can get them into a lot of trouble.

Cats are natural gymnasts. They will jump onto banisters and ledges, even balcony railings, with absolutely no fear of falling. This sense of false confidence can lead to falls from great heights. A cat on a balcony may look like he has things under control, but it only takes one distracting bird to fly by to convince him to take a leap! Although many cats amazingly survive falls from high balconies, many of them don’t, and most suffer broken bones and other injuries. It’s best to keep your cat off the balcony and away from heights as much as possible.

If you look closely at your cat’s tongue, you’ll notice it’s covered in tiny barbs. These are useful for grooming and act as little combs to catch loose hair and dirt on the cat’s body. They also catch other things. Often, if a cat gets a string in his mouth, it goes right down his throat. The barbs on his tongue make it hard for him to get things out of his mouth, so he ends up swallowing it, either by accident or intentionally. Most of the time the item will pass through the cats system without problem, but this should be avoided. Items like string or elastic bands can get stuck in the cat’s digestive tract and require surgery to remove. A cat can also have a difficult (and messy) time if his fecal matter is held together by a piece string that hasn’t fully left his body. Without getting into too much detail, it’s safe to say that it’s not a desirable outcome! Makes sure long stringy things are kept out of your cat’s reach, and that appropriate and safe toys are available for him.

Even if your cat stays indoors, cats occasionally take it upon themselves to escape. Make sure your cat has identification with your phone number on it, either a tag or a microchip, so that she has a chance of being returned to you if she ever gets lost outside.

Many household items are potentially dangerous to cats. Typically, a cat won’t go out of his way to consume a chemical, but if he gets any on his fur, he will end up licking it off as he grooms himself. Keep cleansers and personal care products in cabinets where your cat can’t reach them. Knives or cans with food residue can seem appealing to a cat, who doesn’t know that they’re sharp. To prevent cuts, make sure dirty knives aren’t left out and cans are rinsed before discarding. SeeHousehold Hazards for more household safety tips.

Cats will often choose warm enclosed spaces to take naps. This can include the washer or dryer, even car engines. Do a quick cat check before putting laundry into the machine. In winter, giving the hood of your car a knock or two to make sure there are no cats huddled on your engine for warmth, especially if there are a lot of outdoor cats in your neighborhood.

Cats do get into a lot of trouble, but it’s up to their owners to make sure there are as few hazards as possible, keeping cats safe and happy.

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