Cats are curious creatures that love to explore their environment. But unfortunately, their inquisitive natures can lead them into dangerous situations. Though you may not have realized it, several common household items can be harmful to your feline friend. So, it's important to be aware of these dangers and take steps to keep your kitty safe. Here's a rundown of a few common things around the house that are little-known dangers for cats.
1. Plants & Flowers
While many plants and flowers are safe for cats, some can cause serious health problems. Lilies, for example, are poisonous to felines and ingestion can lead to kidney failure. Other poisonous plants and flowers include azaleas, tulips, daffodils, and oleander. Check out this article from PetMD for a list of common plants and flowers that are toxic to cats.
The best way to prevent your cat from ingesting poisonous plants and flowers is to avoid keeping them in your home. Cats love to climb and explore, so there's a chance they may come into contact with toxic plants and flowers even if you think they're placed out of reach. Instead, consider decorating your home with cat-friendly plants and flowers like bamboo, spider plants, or roses.
2. Medications & Supplements
Even small amounts of certain human or veterinary medications can be deadly to cats if ingested. Some common human medications that are poisonous to cats include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and antidepressants. Veterinary medications that can be harmful to cats include flea and tick treatments, heartworm preventatives, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
It's also important to keep supplements like fish liver oils and vitamins away from cats, as they can be harmful if ingested in large doses. To keep your cat safe, always store medications and supplements in a secure place out of reach. And if you think your cat has ingested a harmful substance, contact your veterinarian immediately.
3. Household Cleaning Products
Many household cleaning products contain chemicals that are toxic to cats. For example, bleach is harmful if ingested and can cause serious damage to your cat's mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. Ammonia-based cleaners are also dangerous because they can irritate a cat's skin and eyes.
Examples of bleach-based cleaning products include disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners, and mold and mildew removers. Ammonia is found in products like pet stain removers, bathroom cleaners, and oven cleaners. Other chemicals that are harmful to cats include phthalates, formaldehyde, and hydrogen peroxide. Whenever possible, substitute chemical cleaning products with natural, plant-based cleaners to keep your cat safe.
4. Essential Oils
Essential oils contain potent chemicals that can be rapidly absorbed both orally and through the skin. Cats are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of essential oils, as they have difficulty metabolizing them. Depending on the oil, exposure to just a small amount can lead to health problems like liver damage, respiratory issues, and neurological problems.
Some common essential oils that are poisonous to cats include peppermint oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil. If you're using essential oils in your home, make sure to keep them out of reach and avoid diffusing them around cats. It's also important to keep cats away from candles, potpourri, and other scented products containing essential oils.
Batteries contain harmful chemicals that can cause serious injury or death if ingested by cats. They pose the greatest threat when chewed or punctured as leaking chemicals can lead to burns in the mouth, esophagus, or stomach. Button batteries are especially dangerous as they can be easily swallowed by cats.
To prevent your cat from ingesting batteries, keep them out of reach and avoid leaving spare batteries in open containers or on countertops where they may attract attention. If you suspect your cat has ingested or chewed on a battery, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
6. Rubber Bands, Hair Ties & Other Small Objects
Rubber bands, hair ties, and other small objects can be dangerous to cats if ingested. They can become lodged in a cat's digestive system, leading to serious health problems like gastrointestinal issues, intestinal blockages, and even death.
To keep your cat safe from these hazards, keep rubber bands, hair ties, and other small objects well out of reach in closed containers. If your cat gets their paws on these items, be sure to remove them right away. And contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat has ingested a foreign body.
Antifreeze is a common household product that contains ethylene glycol, which can cause kidney failure if ingested. Unfortunately, cats are drawn to the sweet taste of antifreeze, but just a few licks can be fatal for them.
To keep your cat safe from antifreeze poisoning, always store it out of reach in a securely sealed container. If you think your cat has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately. Signs of ethylene glycol poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, and seizures.
E-cigarettes are a relatively new product that are growing in popularity. Unfortunately, they also contain harmful chemicals that can be dangerous to our feline friends. The nicotine, artificial flavors, and other chemicals in e-cigarettes can cause dangerous symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures in cats.
If you're using e-cigarettes around your cat, make sure to keep them out of reach and never leave them unattended. Aside from the e-liquid itself, there's also the risk of your cat chewing on e-cigarette components like the cartridges, casing, or batteries. If you suspect your cat has been exposed to e-cigarettes, contact your veterinarian right away.
By being aware of these common dangers, you can take steps to keep your cat safe and healthy. So, make sure to keep this information in mind and always be vigilant when it comes to your feline friend's safety. In addition, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat has been exposed to any of these hazards.
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