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Pet Safety Month: Caring For Your Cats

Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess

You’d think that as the current owner of four adopted cats that I would have a plethora of cat safety information at my fingertips and I do have some that includes:

  • Don’t let your cats play with twist ties (no matter how much fun they seem to them)
  • Don’t use the “icicle” decorations on your Christmas trees because cats love to play with and sometimes eat them and that pet safetycan cause serious intestinal damage
  • Playing with the rings from the gallon milk jugs are also a no-no. We had a cat who dug one out of the recycling bin, played with it for a while until it got stuck in his teeth — emergency vet visit anyone?
  • There are myriad kitchen safety hazards and some I’d never even considered — like a pet suffocating inside a snack (potato chip, for example) bag.

There are many other steps that pet owners need to take to keep their cats safe — whether they are indoor or outdoor cats. I prefer my cats to be completely indoor because when I was growing up we had “barn cats” and too many of them got injured or killed and it was always traumatic. My cats are active and healthy and happy indoors. One day though,  I thought I would take the big dog crate outside and give the kitties a “treat” by taking them outside to let them feel the grass beneath their paws;  you would have thought I was asking them to walk on hot lava — they didn’t like it and howled until I took them back inside; they promptly hid and I didn’t see them again for hours. Lesson learned — my cats are true indoor house pets!

Just as you have to take precautions to keep your dogs safe during the height of the summer (and the cool of the winter), so too do you need to make certain your cats are happy and healthy all year round. Here are some tips I found for caring for your cats:

  1. Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water and are prone to kidney infections because of it. Make certain there is always fresh water available — I have water dishes scattered throughout the house and have recently found that the cats love drinking out of Henrietta’s raised ceramic dish and will seek it out. I purchased another dish like that for them. Feeding your cats wet food is always important for kidney health but even more so in the summer so they can replenish their fluids.
  2. Fleas thrive on the blood of your pets so you need to make sure they don’t have a chance to snack on your kitties. There are many natural products you can use to keep fleas at bay and there are even some plants that are not only safe for pets, but can help repel mosquitoes.
  3. If you have cats that insist on going out of doors you need to take steps to assure their safety. If they love the outdoors you cat safetycan 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.  If you have a green thumb you can consider growing a patch of grass in a box for your cats and even sprinkling some catnip in it thus giving your cats the outdoor experience in the indoors. 
  4. Even if your cats are indoors all of the time, I cannot stress enough the need to vaccinate them to protect them from rabies an any number of ills that can befall a pet — even an indoor one.
  5. Hairballs between bare toes — not a great feeling! The summer seems to heighten the number of hairballs being hacked up in our house even though we feed a hairball-busting cat food. The reason you might hear your cats hacking up hairballs in the summer is because they shed more. To address this, grooming of your cat should be the order of the day. Spend some time daily when your kitty is relaxing on your lap to brush her and remove excess hair — your bare toes will thank you!
  6. My cat won’t eat! Just as a heavy meal doesn’t sit well in your belly on a hot summer day, you may find that your pets won’t eat as much during the summer months and may drop a few pounds. If, however, you find your cat losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time and if she isn’t eating much at all over a course of a couple of days, it may be time to call the veterinarian to get her checked out to make sure it’s just a heat-related reason she’s not eating rather than a health concern.
  7. Even though it’s hot you can still have fun playtime with your cats. Take him into an air conditioned room, grab his favorite toys (our cats are always entertained by the laser pointer!) and keep him active for a while. An overweight pet is not a healthy pet and because cats spend so much of their lives relaxing and sleeping you might have to entice him to play.

Give your kitties a snuggle and a hug and take steps to keep them safe and happy in the summer and year-round.

(Photo: Shutterstock Cat on Bed)

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