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Friday, October 10

Make sure all household cleaners, yard and automotive products are stored safety and securely out of your pet's reach. Toxic to varying degrees, many could be lethal. Some such as antifreeze and rodent poisons are a sweet-tasting attractant to cats and could kill with even the smallest amount ingested. Mothballs are extremely harmful if ingested.
Keep all appliance doors closed when not use and remember to look inside your dishwasher, washer, dryer, freezer, refrigerator, and even car trunk before closing up.
Soft, warm clothes makes the dryer in particular very dangerous. It's one of the most common and tragic cat accidents in the home. Always look first before activating.
Things too quiet? Check on your cat or kitten's whereabouts periodically throughout the day, just as you would with a toddler.
Window blind cords can pose a strangulation threat, as can fringed bedspreads and electrical cords. Secure firmly where possible, or consider removing entirely.
Make sure your cat doesn't chew on any electrical cords, and don't leave small appliance cords, such as an iron or electric pans dangling. A rambunctious cat running past could bring it over onto themselves.
In your bathrooms - don't leave toiletries, cosmetics or medications lying around. Never leave drawn bathwater unattended, and keep the toilet seat down! Sad but true, inquisitive kittens have drowned this way, unable to get themselves out after falling in.
If you have a recliner or sofa-bed, activate with extreme caution. They can be deadly!
A cat's rough, barbed tongue can make it difficult for them to spit out an item taken into their mouth. Some common items swallowed: string, thread (and needle!) christmas-tree tinsel, dental floss, twist-ties, elastic and hair bands, If you see a thread-like object in your cat's mouth, and it's stuck, don't pull on it! It may be wrapped around the cat's intestines. Seek veterinary help at once.
Cats love batting small objects around as toys, but if they're too small, they could wind up in their stomach. Just a few things that pose this risk: parts of a milk cap ring, buttons, beads, bread tabs, paper clips, small jewelry items and coins.
Check all your cat's purchased toys too, just as you would with a child's, to make sure there are no small loose pieces that could come off.
Plastic bags and balloons are always fun items for felines, but they too pose a danger. Never leave any of these kitty temptations around when your not there to supervise. Safeguard both your kitty and your breakable glass or china treasures by keeping them securely put away.
Back to the TopPLANTS
Many houseplants are toxic to cats if eaten and can result in minor discomfort to serious illness. Be sure you know the name and toxicity level of every plant in your home. All toxic plants should be kept well out of reach - the safest precaution would be to have only the harmless variety. Catnip or an oatgrass plant may help satisfy kitties love of greens.

The Easter Lilly and all varieties of Lillies are very toxic (all parts of the plant) and can cause kidney failure. Other common plants with parts that pose a serious danger are the Oleander and Dieffenbachia plants. Locate and print out a complete and detailed listing of both toxic and non-toxic plants and keep it easily accessible for reference. Once such listing:

If you think your cat may have ingested a toxic plant, seek veterinary assistance immediately. Bring the plant in question with you for postive identification at the veterinary clinic.

Back to the TopFOODS
Cats have very specific dietary requirements. Some human foods are not well-tolerated by cats, and can cause digestive upsets and diahrrea. Others fed too frequently can harm your cat's health over time by slowly robbing them of essential nutrients. Some foods are highly toxic and should never be consumed. Doing careful research into a complete and balanced diet for your pets is of vital importance to maximize your cat's overall health and well-being, general condition and longevity. Investigate, research, ask! Know what to feed - and what not to feed for your cats health and safety.

Some foods that could pose risks to your cat's health:

Milk and most dairy products - not generally tolerated well by cats - can cause digestive upsets and diarhrea
Tinned fish for humans, such as tuna and salmon, can cause dietary deficiencies over time and should be avoided.
Onions and garlic can cause hemolytic anemia in cats.Dog food is not a suitable diet for cats. Fed as a main dietary source could lead to malnutrition and diseases affecting the heart.
Fatty, salty cooked meats and luncheon-type meats, such as ham, can cause pancreatis and should not be fed.
Mushrooms can contain toxins which may affect multiple systems in the body, causing shock, and result in death.
Whole raw eggs contain an enzyme which decreases the absorption of certain vitamins in the body. This can lead to skin and coat problems. Whole raw eggs may also contain salmonella.
Grapes and raisins contain an unknown toxin which can damage the kidneys.
Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin that can affect the muscle, nervous and digestive systems.
Chocolate, caffeine and alcohol all affect the heart and nervous systems and are very toxic to cats (and dogs).
Back to the TopMEDICATIONS
Do not give any human medications without checking with your vet first! There are very few human meds that are safe for cats. Tylenol, Ibuprofin, Aspirin, even Pepto-Bismol can be toxic to cat. Just one 500mg acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can kill a seven pound cat. If your cat is not feelng well - call your vet!
Several brands of over-the-counter flea treatments have been linked to feline illnesses and even deaths. If you need to use a flea product, please don't risk your kitty's health in an attempt to save a bit of money. Go to your veterinarian and get something that is relatively safe and much more effective. The treatments that can be purchased at grocery and discount stores such as Walmart are not just cheaper versions of Frontline, Advantage, etc. They don't work and are risky. Don't use any type of flea collar. If you use another collar for i.d. (microchip or tattoo are far better for identification), be sure it's a break-away type. Test it to be sure.
Back to the TopLITTERS
There are a wide variety of litters available, the safest being ones that will not harm your kitten or cat if ingested through grooming. Clay clumping litter is thought by some to pose a serious health risk.
Be sure that all shampoos and other grooming products are safe and non-irritating to cats skin. When drying your cat with a hand held dryer, check frequently to be sure it's staying cool enough. When using a stationery carrier for drying kitty (never leave unattended), check the tempature often!

Avoid cutting your cat accidentally, don't use scissors to remove matts! A cat's skin is paper thin and very pliant. Try safer methods to remove matting. If still not successful, consider having kitty shaved down. If you must use scissors, use extreme caution and use rounded-end type.

Never leave your stove on unattended with active agile cats in the house.
Open candles are dangerously easy for cats to knock over. They could start a fire or become badly burned.
If any family members or guests to the home smoke inside, watch the ashtrays. They are a fire hazard if knocked over when in use, and tobacco products are poisonous if ingested. Put safely away!
Obtain and display the door stickers that state "Pets Inside". A rare ocurence, but in the event of a fire or other home disaster in your absence, emergency personnel would at least know to look for your cats.
Back to the TopFALLS/ESCAPES
Many high-rise apartment dwellers have counted on their cat's sure-footedness, only to have him/her tragically fall to his/her death. If you have high balcony railings - inside or out- don't allow your cat to court danger by sitting or walking on these.

Periodically check all window and door screens and outdoor enclosures if you have one, to be sure they are all secure.

While you're away, never leave your cats home unattended for longer than 24 hours. If you are going to be away longer than overnight, have a neighour or friend come in to check on your cats once or twice a day. If longer than a weekend, take them to a pet-sitter's or boarding kennel, or have someone stay in the home with them. Make sure they will employ all the same safety precautions as you. Write down emergency numbers and specific care instructions for them and leave by phone.

Back to the TopHOME SWEET HOME
An indoor cat's average lifespan is 15-20 years; an outdoor cat 3-4 years. So while household accidents do occur, clearly one of the absolute best things to ensure a cats health, safety, and protection from harm is to keep them indoors. Remove all potential hazards, be alert to danger - then take comfort and reassurance in this knowledge that your are providing the safest possible surroundings for your cherished pet.
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By Fran McCannon

Every year hundreds of cats are killed, or become ill or injured due to accidents in the home. These can occur many ways - from overlooked household poisons and hazards to well-meaning owners unknowingly administering or feeding something harmful to their cat. To be aware of the risks and remove all the potential hazards will greatly decrease the odds of a home accident. However, no one could foresee every danger and no matter how diligent, accidents can occur.

Be sure to keep your vet's telephone number and an after-hours emergency clinic number close to your phone. In addition, keep the numbers of one or more of the Animal Poison Control Centres for your area. If you can't reach anyone locally, these round-the-clock services offer professional help over the phone. (Note: These services charge a fee.)

Keep in mind that while a cat showing signs of distress is an obvious need for action, they are also very stoic in nature, and hide illness well. Don't take chances or try to guess what to do. Call your vet's office or emergency clinic immediately for expert help and advice.

Note: All sections below represent a partial list only!