Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
As the current owner of three cats and two grandcats I have a plethora of cat and kitten safety information at my fingertips. Some of my information was gleaned through Internet research, others by talking with professionals in the cat blogging world and most by talking with Dr. Neno, our beloved family veterinarian.
What are my best #PeSafety tips for cat lovers? Here are a few of my year-round favorites:
- Twist ties and rubber bands are not suitable cat toys, neither are the rings from gallon milk jugs. At one time we had a cat that dug through the recycling bin until he snagged the milk jug ring, started chewing it and had it lodged in his back teeth. Emergency vet visit on a weekend? Not a good time. Don’t let your cats play with twist ties (no matter how much fun they seem to them)
- When the holidays roll around, give up the idea of using one of the aluminum trees and icicle decorations. They are both no-nos for cat owners. They are also not good if you have a dog that likes to “hoover” up items.
- Our cats absolutely love paper bags and boxes. I know. I know. They are so unique! We do have to be careful that they are out of any empty boxes before we take them to the curb for garbage day. We also know that they can never be given access to plastic shopping bags. Our Lucy is notorious for trying to get the bags and has had her head stuck through the handles on more than one occasion; she is also notorious for opening cupboards to get to the bags. We’ve moved them and so far she hasn’t located them! Plastic bags are one of a number of kitchen safety hazards you need to be aware of, including: a pet suffocating inside a snack (potato chip, for example) bag.
Dogs are, typically, easier to keep healthy and safe — I find because they aren’t as sneaky as the kitties are. Neither of the dogs tries to dash out the door when it’s opened. Neither of the cats stick their heads through plastic bang handles and neither are interested in plastic milk jug rings. However, they — the dogs — do have their own #petsafety issues for which I am very cognizant.
In our neighborhood there is always a cat or two or a half dozen roaming loose. I prefer my cats to be indoors and while I know there are cat owners who believe that cats need to roam the wilds and embrace their cat natures, I grew up with outside cats and spent many a sleepless night wondering where they were when they didn’t come home by my bedtime. Our indoor kitties are active (red laser pointer anyone!), healthy and happy indoors.
Because I work from home I have the ability to keep track of all of the pets and make sure they are keeping cool enough in this hot, humid Western New York summer and that they have access to fresh, cool drinking water all day long. Keeping track of your cats and making certain they aren’t suffering heat exhaustion is just as important as it is for dog parents. I think we don’t typically write about cats left in hot cars the way we write about dogs left in hot cars because not as many cat owners travel with their pets as dog owners do.
That being said, here are even more pet safety tips for your beloved kitties:
- Make sure they’re drinking: Cats are prone to kidney infections because many of them don’t drink enough. Have water dishes with fresh water available at all times.
- Canned food: If your cats don’t drink a lot and you worry they’re not getting enough liquid you may want to feed them canned food. Ask your vet before you introduce wet food into their diet because if they’re not accustomed to it, you could have messy litter boxes or vomiting pets.
- Keep fleas in check, even in indoor cats: If you have dogs that go out doors, they could bring fleas into the house and those fleas might start snacking on your kitties. To keep them at bay you can check out any of the many natural products available or you could cultivate plants that are not only safe for pets, but can help repel mosquitoes.
- Keep outdoor cats safe: If your cats insist on going out of doors you need to take steps to assure their safety. If they love the outdoors you can always find a handyman/woman to construct a screen-protected area around a low tree which could allow them to climb and be one with nature in a safe environment. Perhaps your cats would like a screened in porch where they can lie down and soak up the sun. It’s your choice on the amount of sunshine and freedom your cats are allowed, but be aware of the hazards that could befall your cats if left to roam the neighborhood.
- All cats need vetting: Even if you have completely indoor cats, they still need to visit the veterinarian and be vaccinated. There are any number of illnesses that could plague your pet, even if she never goes out doors.
- What did I just step in!? Hairballs between bare toes are not the way you want to greet the day, believe me, I know! In our house, summer seems to bring with it even more hairballs even though we feed a hairball-busting cat food. The increase in yacking could be because they are shedding and grooming themselves more frequently. To combat that, spend some time daily brushing your cats.
- My cat won’t eat! You don’t love heavy meals on hot days and your cat might be extra finicky just because of the weather. If not eating persists for any length of time, call your veterinarian and have him checked out.
Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean your kitties have to become couch potatoes. Bring them into an air conditioned room and play with them with their favorite toys; an overweight pet is not a healthy pet.