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Most cats are inside-only cats, and although statistics show that inside-only cats are safer and healthier than outside-only cats, there are still hidden dangers in the home.
Unfortunately, cats have bad habits of swallowing things that weren’t intended to be swallowed.
Dr. Patricia Hague, the owner of the Cat Hospital of Las Colinas, said that it never ceases to surprise her, the things she pulls out of a cat’s stomach. She treated one cat who tried to eat a balloon, ribbon-first. Another cat swallowed an embroidery thread that happened to have a needle at the other end. Fortunately, they both survived.
Rubber Bands, Strings and Tiny Objects
Sondra York, the former cat chairperson for the Animal Rescue League, in Denton County Texas, recommends keeping a close eye out for rubber bands and string which could be swallowed, and then, consequently either wrap around the cat’s intestines or cut through them like a saw. Paper clips, pins and needles can puncture the stomach or any organ in the digestive tract as well, so caution should be exercised at all times.
Be sure to pick up any tiny objects you find on the floor. Anything that could choke a baby could harm your cat. Remove loose buttons, string, yarn, or bells from cat toys. If your cat pulls one of these items off, it could strangle him or lodge in his intestines.
Milkcap rings are fun for cats to play with, but be sure they aren’t getting worn out; they tend to fray and break into pieces. The broken bits hold the same dangers as buttons. If they start tearing, throw them away.
Appliances and Fixtures
Sadly, whoever first coined the phrase, “Curiosity killed the cat,” really knew cats. Many an inquisitive cat has lost its life by becoming curious about a common household appliance.
Washer and Dryer
“I was horrified,” York recalled. “As I walked away from the (clothes) dryer, I heard this ka-thunk, ka-thunk. I opened the door and there was my Snowshoe cat Ling Ling. I dread to think what would have happened if I had ignored the noise.”
Ling Ling, dazed and dizzy, staggered around for a few minutes, but she survived.
Jane and her cat were not as fortunate. Walking away, she also heard her cat, but by the time she could open the door, it was too late, he had already broken his back.
To prevent these types of tragedies, always visually inspect the washer and the dryer before using them. Test the wet clothes in the dryer with a few shakes of the clothes as added insurance.
Stove, Oven and Dishwasher
For kitties, the kitchen is a maze of land mines. Cats have been known to jump on searing hot stove elements and suffer severe burns.
- Never leave a hot stove unattended.
- Also, don’t forget to give the oven and broiler a quick glance before you close the door.
- Never leave the oven door open any longer than is necessary to remove a baked item.
- Open both oven and broiler doors and inspect inside before you even turn on the oven.
- A quick once-over will protect both you and your cat against a family member’s carelessness or a neighbor child’s mischief.
The same approach is wise when operating the dishwasher. Cats have been known to sneak into the dishwasher and drown.
It seems no room in the house is immune from cat danger. Mary lost her kitten when it fell into the open commode and drowned. Keeping the toilet lid closed could also prevent a crushing blow to a cat curious about water. It is unwise to encourage your cat to drink from the toilet bowl. Besides the danger of drowning, there is also the possibility of bacterial infections from the water.
While some of the accidents with appliances are freak occurrences, a little precaution costs nothing and could ultimately save your cat’s life.
Written by Dusty Rainbolt
Dusty Rainbolt is an award-winning cat writer. In her spare time, Dusty writes product reviews for Catnip and Whole Cat journal so she can get cat bowls and other free stuff. She also co-authors a monthly column with Hobbes Egan for City & Country Pets.
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