Cats can get into things dogs and human babies can’t even imagine! Here’s what I told a reader asking for cat-proofing advice before bringing home her first feline.
Q: I’m getting my first cat, and I want to make sure my home is safe for her. What should I be concerned about?
A: Lots of things in your home can injure your cat, make her sick or even kill her. Be vigilant when it comes to the following items.
— Poisons. Mouse and rat bait, insecticides and herbicides, antifreeze, and medications for yourself or other animals in the home are all substances that can kill cats. If a contractor or landscaper treats your home for insects or other pests, confirm that the products will not be used in areas where your cat goes. Any time a product is applied to a lawn, floor or other surface, keep your cat away from that area until the product has dried. It’s all too common for cats to walk across a treated surface and then lick their paws to clean them. Clean up antifreeze drips immediately, and keep any medications behind closed doors. Parasite preventives made for dogs are often toxic to cats, so don’t let them share.
— Plants. Some cats enjoy chewing grass or nibbling on plants. If yours is one of them, don’t keep any of the following in your home or yard: azalea, chrysanthemum, crocus, cyclamen, dieffenbachia, English ivy, lilies, philodendron, Sago palm, tulip bulbs and yew. A more complete list is available from the ASPCA or pet poison hotlines.
— Household items. Cats aren’t as bad as dogs when it comes to gulping things down, but it’s not for nothing that we have the saying “curiosity killed the cat.” Candles, coins, mothballs, nutshells and potpourri are just a few potentially toxic items commonly found in homes. Assume that your cat might investigate these and other items, and keep them out of reach.
There’s more in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.