Many people have heard about a dog getting into something he wasn’t supposed to and ending up taking an emergency trip to the vet. But what about cats? There are many common household items that can be extremely dangerous for cats.
The biggest danger besides injury from other household pets is probably strings and cords. It’s a simple fact that cats like to play with string and thread; many cat toys are even attached to strings. There are multiple dangers associated with these items. The biggest one is that sometimes cats like to eat these threads, which can become stuck under the tongue or in another part of the intestine. As the intestine tries to move the object along it becomes bunched up and pulls the string tighter and tighter. Eventually it starts to cut through the intestines and can cause a life-threatening infection. If a cat happens to chew on a cord that is plugged in, it can cause serious burns to the mouth and tongue. In even worse cases, chewing on a chord can cause fluid accumulation in the lungs and swelling of the brain.
Other serious dangers include household appliances. Although we don’t always see it because we’re out of the house, most cats walk across our counters throughout the day, including the stovetop. It is quite easy for a cat to walk across a hot stove and burn his feet. Cats also find it comfortable to nuzzle into a pile of clothes. This turns into a dangerous situation if that pile of comfy clothes is sitting the washing machine or dryer. If the start button is pressed while kitty is inside, broken bones, cut skin, drowning or heat stroke are all possible.
Cats are curious creatures and they too like to eat things that they shouldn’t, oftentimes household plants. It’s always best to make sure all of the plants around your house are pet friendly. Lilies are of particular concern because they are common plants and cats appear to be especially attracted to them. If a cat chews on or eats a Lillie, kidney failure is possible. There are literally hundreds of plants species that are toxic or potentially toxic to cats, so if you’re not sure – do some research. The ASPCA poison control center is a good resource.
Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and particularly acetaminophen (Tylenol) are extremely dangerous for cats. One pill is intended to treat a 150 lb. person, not a 10 lb. cat- that’s nearly 10 times the dose. Secondly, cats don’t metabolize some medications as well as people and dogs, so one pill can be enough to kill a cat.
Other common dangers include Potpourri, household solvents and automotive fluid. Potpourri oils contain compounds that can cause damage to the lining of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract causing severe vomiting. Household solvents and automotive fluid (especially antifreeze) can be sweet to taste, but can be deadly to pets if ingested. Always keep these items safely out of reach from pets.
The list goes on, so always be aware of your kitty’s surroundings to ensure safety!