As cat parents, we are responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of our cats. Last year we introduced you to the SHINE framework, which has been designed to help us better understand our cats’ emotional needs - and help them live happy lives. But looking after their wellbeing isn’t just limited to giving them plenty of fuss and a tasty nutritious diet. It can take many shapes and forms, and there are practical things we need to consider, like ensuring our homes are safe and free from potential dangers for our cats.
There are great resources online to help you learn more about cat-proofing your home, and this week we’re taking a closer look at just a few of the everyday household items that can pose a danger to our feline friends - and the measures we can take to keep our cats as safe as possible in our homes.
So whether you have an indoor cat or a cat with access to the outdoors, these tips will help to ensure they’re as safe as possible within your own four walls.
Toxic houseplants and flowers
Houseplants can be a great way to brighten up your home and add a splash of green, but not everyone is a fan - certain plants and flowers are toxic to our cats, so it’s essential to double (and triple!) check that any flowers and plants you bring into your home are safe for cats.
Certain flowers, like lilies, are especially toxic to cats and should never be brought into a home where cats may come into contact with them. Popular houseplants such as aloe vera, monstera, snake plants, poinsettias and cycads are also toxic to cats, so it’s important to do your research before bringing any new plants home.
This might seem like a basic one, but if your cat is a little adventurer or escape artist, an open window can be a little too tempting. Make sure that open windows aren’t wide enough for your cats to squeeze out of, especially those that are high up off the ground.
Wires and cables
Wires and cables are unavoidable in modern homes, but they can pose a real risk to our cats - who may mistake them for fun toys. A cat’s teeth and claws can easily cut into wires, making them a serious danger.
To keep cats safe, make sure cables and wires are kept out of your cats’ reach wherever possible, and try cable tidies or other solutions to keep them safe and away from any exposed wired or cabled areas.
Washing machines and tumble dryers
A washing machine or tumble dryer with its door open can seem like an excellent hiding place for a cat, so try to keep doors closed at all times to keep out any unwanted visitors - and always check inside the machines before using them.
Strings and string toys
Plenty of cats love playing with string toys, but it’s important that these games are always supervised and that any string toys are tidied away after playing. If left alone with string or string toys, cats may eat the string - which can cause serious health complications.
Keep any string toys in a safe place when they’re not in use, and be aware of any other items around your home with string or similar parts.
Some human food
As any cat parent can tell you, our cats can show a lotttt of interest in whatever it is that we’re eating, but certain human foods can be really dangerous for our cats. Some foods, like chocolate, grapes, raisins, onion, garlic, and alcohol are toxic to cats and they can make them seriously unwell. So keep your food safely away from your cats, and don’t share your dinner with them - no matter how hard they might try!
Now, this list is definitely not meant to be exhaustive, and you know your cats best! If they’re showing interest in something that may pose a risk to them, then take steps to keep them safe.
Many everyday products we use in our homes can be dangerous to our cats if stored incorrectly, like household cleaners and medicines, so it’s best to keep any potential dangers stored safely out of reach of those four little paws!