Cats are curious creatures and are often getting up to mischief - sticking their little wet noses in places that they shouldn’t be! Mostly, this type of behaviour is harmless and a great exercise for your cat to practice its instincts. However, there are some common household items, foods, medications, or plants that could pose a danger for your cat. Knowing what these dangers are will help to keep your cat safe, happy, and healthy at home, and keep your mind at ease!
Please note that the below lists are not a complete list of all dangerous foods, plants, medications, etc... They are just some examples of the sorts of things to watch out for. For more information check out additional references online such as the RSPCA Knowledgebase.
There are many foods that can be toxic to your cat. Here’s a list of food you should especially be cautious with around your cat to make sure they don’t ingest it.
Chocolate (more for you!)
Onions & garlic, including powder form (avoid feeding your leftovers to your cat)
Fat trimmings - this may cause your pet to develop pancreatitis
Raw fish, liver & sugary foods - can lead to metabolic diseases when fed in excess.
With more people becoming plant parents as well as pet parents, it’s important to note that some indoor (and outdoor) plants are very dangerous to your cat and you should avoid having them in or around your home at all. Some of these could be deadly if ingested. These include:
Brunfelsia species (Its common name is Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow)
There are many other plants that are not deadly but can still cause inflammation of the skin, mouth, and other areas if ingested. You can see a full list of plants that are harmful to your cat over here: https://icatcare.org/advice/cats-and-poisonous-plants/
Tree or Plant Fruit/Stones
While we’re on the topic of food & plants, this is another important one to cover! Some fruit stones, berries, and seeds are poisonous to cats. If your cat ingests one of these they may become ill or experience serious intestinal blockages that can be fatal. Your cat may consume fallen fruit while out roaming, however, keeping your cat indoors or safely contained to a catio will help keep them safe from this particular danger.
Rodent Poison & Insecticides
Although you may have some pesky rodents or insects you’re trying to get rid of, you don’t want to get rid of your beautiful cat in the process! Sadly, these are some of the most common causes of death for cats. Because products like snail bait and rat poison are designed to entice animals to eat them, your cat may be tempted to eat them too! We encourage cat owners to use these products with extreme caution and if they are required to be used, only use them in areas of your property that are inaccessible to your cat and keep them locked up and out of paws reach.
If your cat is contained indoors, you’re already keeping them safe from the most common dangers. However, if they happen to escape, or you take them for a supervised play in the backyard or for a walk on their leash and harness, they may be exposed to the danger of garden fertilizers.
Fertilisers are made up of various different ingredients that can have a range of internal effects when ingested. Fertiliser that is ingested will usually cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation which may include symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation, lethargy, and abdominal pain which can last from 24-48 hours. If you believe your cat has ingested a fertiliser, it’s best to consult with your vet immediately for further advice.
Although certain medication may make us feel better, they could have the opposite effect on your cat! Many over-the-counter and prescribed medications can be harmful, if not deadly, for your cat, which is why it’s easiest to just make sure all medication is placed in a safe place where your cat can’t get their furry mitts on it!
Paracetamol in particular is very dangerous for cats and commonly found in most pain relief medications which are found in most households.
When it comes to medicating your cat for sickness or injury, always seek advice from your veterinarian as to what you should medicate your cat with. Some other pet medications, such as dog medication can be extremely harmful to your cat, so don’t assume you can medicate your pets all the same, always seek professional advice.
Other Household Dangers
Antifreeze: If your cat is known for snooping around the garage, this is one to be careful of! Antifreeze, used to prevent liquids from freezing in your car engine, contains ethylene glycol which is deadly when consumed, even in small amounts. Although this is very rarely seen in Australia, we always recommend pet owners practice extreme caution with these products and safely store them away.
String: A bit of a different one to the rest, as it’s not poisonous, but still very dangerous for your cat. Because cats love to play with string, it is not uncommon for string to be ingested, sometimes causing painful and potentially deadly intestinal obstructions.
It can be quite surprising learning just how many things may be in your house that are dangerous for your cat.
To help us spread the word and keep our pet cats healthy and safe, we would love it if you could share this blog with your cat friends and family via social media or by copying the link and sending it directly to them. The more people we can educate, the safer we can keep our pet cats!
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