Expectent parents know they must baby-proof their house before they bring their newborn home. A home can be a dangerous place for growing infants.
So too can the home present safety issues for a curious cat, whether it be a kitten or full-grown.
Take a few moments to look around your house and see if there is anything that might pose a risk to the members of your feline family.
Some things may actually threaten your cat's life or may result in a broken leg or it may just lead to a big scare. Regardless of the extent of the danger, it behooves the responsible owner to be aware and kitten-proof their home. Below is a list of things to look for...
While a flickering candle brings ambience and romance to the moment, that moving flame can also be an irresistable tease to a cat. If a cat walks across a table where there is a lit candle, the kitty may inadvertantly brush its side or tail through the flame, and set its coat on fire.
While most cat beds are a simply a comfortable place for a nap, beware the covered type of fleece bed or the one like a pillow case or tent. Another cat can lay over the opening and suffocate the kitty within, especially if it is a small kitten inside.
Chair or Stair Spokes That Taper At The Bottom
Most kitties enjoy jumping up on a wooden chair and poking paws through the spindles to play with another cat on the floor. Ditto, cats like to observe the world from partway up a stairway, peeking through the bars to the action below. If the chair or stair spindles taper at any point, a cat can get its head through the wider part of the opening and then become stuck and panic if they lay down and their neck slips down to the narrow part.
Cigarettes are not only bad for your health, but pose a danger to your cat too. A cigarette makes for an enticing toy from a cat's point of view, but tobacco is toxic if eaten, making kitty very sick.
If you have an active, athletic cat, an open doorway can be dangerous if the cat can jump to the top of the open door from nearby furniture. Once balanced on the top of the door, the cat has a great view, but if it loses its balance and slips off, it can catch a leg between the door, the wall and the upper hinge.
Just like with babies and young children, electrocution is a real possibility if a kitten chews on a cord. Cover your exposed electrical cords or unplug appliances when not in use.
Furniture can present lots of problems for an adventurous feline:
- Be careful when sitting on the sofa or an upholstered chair. A kitten may sqeeze down between the edge of the seat cushion and the back of the sofa. If a person then sits on the cushion, the kitten might be squished.
- Don't leave drawers or cedar chests open as a cat may go in for a nap and if the drawer is closed without noticing the cat is inside, it can suffocate.
- Beware of unstable Items that a jumping cat can pull over on itself.
Hide-a-Beds & Recliners
Special mention must be made of furniture that have mechanisms that "move" such as hide-a-beds and recliners. If a kitten or cat is caught in the mechanism when it is being opened or closed, a broken leg or crushed body is a distinct possibility.
- Floss: Always dispose of tooth floss in a covered container, not in an open waste paper basket. Cats love to play with the "string" if they tip over the basket and they will eat it, especially if it is the mint flavored floss. The floss then becomes tangled in the gut and can require surgery to remove.
- Jars, Cans & Boxes: Jars, metal cans, and boxes with small openings at the top seem to be irresistable to many cats. The kitty investigates and ends up with its head stuck!
- Needles, Pins & Fishing Hooks: Needles, pins and fishing lures may be batted with a paw for fun but every year veterinarians perform surgery to remove a swallowed needle from a cat's stomach, so care must be taken to prevent your cat from having access to any small, sharp things.
- Paper Clips, Twist Ties or other small metal objects: Cats will play with paper clips and twist ties as if they are toys, and once again, accidental swallowing is a possibility.
- Rubber Bands: Rubber bands can become entangled around the teeth.
- Sewing Thread & Yarn: Even on the spool, thread can be a danger, wrapping around a paw or tongue too tightly and cutting off circulation. Thread or yarn can be swallowed and create an onstruction in the gut.
As strange as it may seem, checking before closing the refrigerator door, the oven, microwave, dishwasher or washing machine may save a kitten's life. Kitten's are curious and will investigate and open appliance door when you are not looking. The dryer is especially attractive as it is a cosy and warm place to take a nap.
Cats love the sound that plastic grocery bags make when pounced upon, or the plastic wrap from your dry cleaning, but if they become tangled they may suffocate.
Always carefully dispose of the styrofoam "peanuts" you find as packing material in shipment boxes. Cats love to bat and chase after the lightweight pieces, but if swallowed, they can obstruct the digestive system
If a kitten falls into an open toilet bowl, it may not be able to get out. Drowning then becomes a possibility. So men, put those toilet lids down!
Vertical or Horizontal Window Blinds & Their Cords
A kitty can become tangled when they play in or around veritcal or horizontal blinds. The cord mechanism is especially dangerous as it can become wound around a cat's neck or other part of the body, either strangling or cutting off circulation from the affected part of the body.