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Hidden Household Dangers

Cats can get hurt inside as well as outside of the home. It's up to you to turn your home into a safe haven.

Since every home is unique, the first step is to simply give some thought about what kind of trouble your cat is likely to get into in your living situation. Following are some household dangers to look out for. Most are common sense, but some you may not have known.

  • Strings and similar things: Cats love to play with strings and dangly toys, so it's common sense that they would equally enjoy attacking electrical cords and wires, as well as curtain strings. Your cat can easily get tangled, and cats tend to panic when they're trapped. For obvious reasons, electrical cords should be kept out of sight or securely attached to outlets and walls.
  • Falling, but not in love: Even though your cat has an instinct to twist when she falls, she can still get severely hurt. If you have a balcony, use netting to cat-proof it. And be sure window screens are secure, as your cat may lean against or push on them.
  • Burnt offering: Irons, stove tops and hotplates can all be dangerous to kitty, who can't always tell when something's too hot to paw or run across. Turn them off when not in use, and keep them away from your cat while cooling down.
  • Washed up: Clothes washers and dryers, and dishwashers, can be tempting spots for a nap if left open. So keep them closed when not loading and unloading.
  • Chemical attraction: Detergents, paint and other household chemicals can be dangerous to your cat. Put them where she can't access them.
  • Green thumb, sick cat: Store garden supplies and chemicals (fertilizer, weed-killer, insecticide) so they're inaccessible to your cat.
  • Delicate flowers: Many household plants are toxic to cats. Ask your nursery professional for complete information about any plants you buy. If they don't give you the information you need, don't buy the plants. When in doubt, keep the plants well out of your cat's reach.
  • Cold as ice: Antifreeze has a sweet taste to cats, so they may lick it off the floor. Make sure there are no puddles in the garage or on the driveway. As little as one teaspoon can cause irreversible kidney damage, and worse, in a small cat.

    Bad medicine: Over the counter medications for humans can be very dangerous for cats. Acetaminophen will poison a cat. Stay-alert formulas can cause convulsions. An externally used local anesthesia can cause anemia. Put meds where they belong -- safely out of reach.

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