Is Your Indoor Cat Safe?
You want your cat to have a long, happy life, so you follow the ASPCA’s advice and keep your beloved cat inside. But just because your cat is safe from outdoor dangers doesn’t mean she’s safe from all dangers.
Hazards lurk on both sides of the door. The indoor hazards are simply a bit less obvious than those encountered by your cat’s free-roaming cousins. To keep your kitty safe, look out for these 10 Hidden Hazards for Indoor Cats.
#1: Household Chemicals
Many common cleaning products contain substances hazardous to cats, such as floor cleaners that use benzalkonium chloride. If kitty strolls across your freshly washed floor and then licks her paws, the benzalkonium could cause caustic burns on her tongue.
Keep all household chemicals safely away from your cat, and don’t let her walk on wet surfaces.
#2: House Plants
Cats have a natural desire to chew on grass and leaves. In the absence of grass, your houseplants will do, but not all plants are safe. Lilies can lead to catastrophic kidney failure, and a number of other plants are also toxic to cats.
Keep your Cat away from these Poisonous Plants:
- Aloe Vera
- Asparagus fern
- Corn plants
You can satisfy your cat’s urge to chew by giving it a tray of growing grass to chomp on. You can also reduce the risk of poisoning by only buying cat-safe, non-poisonous plants for inside of your home.
10 Safe (non-toxic) Plants for Cats:
- African violet
- Air plants
- Ferns (Maidenhair, Boston, Bird’s Nest)
- Prayer Plant
- Spider Plant
- Succulents (Echeveria, Jade, Kalanchoe)
Indoor cats are prone to boredom, which can result in overeating.
Carrying too much weight Increases the Likelihood of:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Feline lower urinary tract disease, or FLUTD
Both diseases can put a substantial strain on your cat’s health – as well as your wallet. Make sure kitty stays occupied with plenty of cat-safe toys, scratching posts and other playthings.
#4: Laundry Appliances
Cats are comfort-seekers that are attracted to warm places – like the inside of your dryer or the cozy nest of clothes in your washing machine. If your cat climbs in and you don’t spot her, she’s going to end up very dizzy, very unhappy and potentially injured.
Keep laundry appliance doors closed, and always check inside for an unexpected furry visitor before turning them on.
Cats love to climb, and they consistently look for any opportunity to do so. If that opportunity happens to be a balcony rail or out a window, they could be heading for a tumble that ends in broken bones – or worse.
Be sure to cat-proof your balcony and secure durable screens across all open windows.
#6: Human Food
Not all human food is safe for cats, particularly those containing onions and garlic.
- Eating onions and garlic on a regular basis can cause a feline’s red blood cells to break down.
- Chocolate can cause a racing heart-rate and seizures.
- The artificial sweetener xylitol, which is found in certain candies, can make blood sugar levels plunge dangerously low.
- Other no-no’s include caffeine, alcohol, milk and raisins.
Check with your vet before feeding any type of human food to your cat. Better yet, stick with high-quality cat food.
#7: String and Other ‘Snakes’
Cats love to pounce when they spot a wriggly snake, and it doesn’t matter if the snake is a piece of string, thread, tinsel or ribbon. The danger here is if your cat decides to swallow the string, which can knot up in their intestines and lead to serious complications.
Be sure to keep any knitting and sewing supplies in a cat-proof basket, and supervise playtime if they want to chase “snakes.”
Keep the toilet lid down! While cats learn quickly and it will only happen once, it’s not uncommon for them to accidentally fall into the toilet bowl.
Kittens or curious young adult cats are most at risk for electrocution, especially if they mistake an electrical cord for a snake! Biting through the cable can cause a serious electric shock and thermal burns to the mouth.
Pet-proof your house by tucking wiring behind furniture or securing it in ducting.
One final risk is the danger indoor cats can pose to themselves. If they are bored or stressed, cats may be inclined to relieve themselves in inappropriate places or scratch up the furniture. A kitty that becomes a real nuisance runs to risk of being given away, as shelters all too frequently report.
Set aside regular play times with your cat, and provide a cat-friendly environment with options such as high cat towers with a street view. It’s also wise to invest in pet insurance, because the unexpected does happen – even to indoor cats.