Dangers in the Home for Cats
Dangers IN THE HOME include plants, drugs, chemicals, gardening and lawn care supplies, car care products, and insecticide baits to name a few. Actual reports of cats getting seriously ill from eating plants are relatively rare compared to reports of poisoning from household products or drugs, but it is best to eliminate toxic plants from your cat’s environment and provide safe alternatives. These include edible greens such as parsley or alfalfa sprouts. You can also buy safe edible plants for your cat.
Cats often vomit after chewing on plants but only persistent or severe vomiting is a danger sign. The best advice is to always consult your vet if concerned. Indoor houseplants to avoid include Azaleas, Foxgloves, Philodendrons, Cyclamens, Jerusalem cherries, Dieffenbachia, Spider plants, Dragon trees, Airplane plants (Crassula) and Caladiums.
Taking a few precautions helps ensure a safe happy holiday season for you and your cat. Linear foreign objects like ribbon, string and tinsel are favorites for curious cats. Once swallowed, they can cause painful intestinal obstructions. Glass ornaments break easily and can result in serious cuts and lacerations. Keep candles elevated up out of paws reach. On Halloween, keep cats inside in a room inaccessible to the front door. Black cats are particularly at risk of injury. On the 4th of July, loud noises can terrify your cat and firecrackers can cause burns, so be sure your cat is indoors in a quiet, secure place.
TIP: Curious cats, especially kittens, can end up in all sorts of unusual places including your dryer which leads to heat stroke with or without shock and death.
Pet poisoning is very common. It is responsible for 75 percent of toxin exposure and carries a 20 percent fatality rate. Two of the most common types of poisoning are antifreeze and rodenticides. Anytime you suspect a poisoning, call your vet as soon as possible. Symptoms of some poisons do not become apparent until 24 to 72 hours after the fact. In the case of antifreeze, the first few hours are critical. After that, most cats die because of irreversible kidney damage regardless of therapy.
Many flea products contain insecticides which can be toxic to the nervous system. Signs include salivation, tearing, urination and diarrhea. Give your cat a warm bath in diluted liquid dish detergent to help remove the flea product from the skin and hair and decrease exposure. Don’t use dog products on cats, they can be toxic. Don’t use premise sprays meant for the yard on or near your pet. Try safe, non-toxic methods of controlling fleas. Pyrethins and d-limolene based products are effective against fleas and safe for cats.
* In addition to poisonings, other conditions that usually require emergency care include automobile accidents, suspected broken bones, severe bleeding, eye injuries, difficulty in breathing, collapse or convulsions (seizures), inability to urinate, choking, vomiting and/or diarrhea for over 24 hours, appetite loss for over two days in a row, severe depressions, bloated stomachs, or rectal temperatures under 97F or over 105F.
Holiday plants like poinsettias, ivy and mistletoe are dangerous and have toxic potential but seldom cause serious clinical signs if eaten. Keep them in separate rooms or elevate them up out of your cat’s reach.
Other Feline Home Hazards:
Drain Cleaners: Drano –it’s clear like water and cats love sinks
Christmas Tree Sap is toxic , the water it stands in is very dangerous and the pine needles are sharp
Car products including, gasoline, and antifreeze. Store these in areas inaccessible to pets. Antifreeze smells good and has a sweet taste; One teaspoon kills a 10-pound cat. The first 12 hours are critical, after that most cats die to irreversible liver and kidney failure, regardless of therapy. Look for brands of antifreeze that contain propylene glycol as the active
ingredient instead of ethylene glycol, which is deadly. Propylene glycol is much less toxic to pets and works well in your car.
Anything linear: String, Yarn, Dental floss, Tinsel, Rubber bands
Mothballs-the fumes are toxic to the liver especially if your cat gets locked in the closet. Try a few Cedar blocks-available from L.L. Bean; they are a safe alternative with a pleasant smell.
Household items: pins, staples sewing accessories, matches, shoe polish, sun tan lotion, nail polish, metal polish, hair coloring, tin foil balls, cork, and cellophane cigarette wrappers
When treating your lawn or garden with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides, keep pets away from the area for 48 hours or until the area is completely dry. Store these products in areas that ensure no cat exposure.
When you use rat or mouse baits. ant or roach traps, or snail and slug bait, place the products in areas inaccessible to your cat and record the date you placed the bait. Rat bait often contains peanut butter, jelly and sugar. They smell sweet and taste good but cause internal bleeding that can be fatal. Sticky roach traps with a drop of cat food are a safe alternative to baits.
The most common source of accidental pet poisoning in California is SNAIL BAIT.