Cats are naturally curious creatures. They love to investigate the new spring plants that you’ve brought home to plant around the house. They love it when all the springtime bugs come out from hiding. They also like to investigate any cabinets or closets that have been left open. As much as your cat thinks it’s fun to investigate these things, the more potentially dangerous items they could encounter. This is especially true when the plants, creatures or supplies are toxic to your cat. Here are a few suggestions that I have to curtail the possibility of this happening.
Prior to bringing a plant or flower into your home, find out if the plant or flower is poisonous to any of the animals that reside within your home. The adverse reactions to the toxic substance in some plants and flowers can range from mild nausea to death. One of my family members’ cats died because it ate part of a leaf from a peace lily (beware, lily pollen can kill cats). Other common house plants that are poisonous include, but are not limited to, Philodendrons and Poinsettias. For a more inclusive list of poisonous plants and flowers, check the comprehensive list on PoC or the ASPCA’s web site. You can also ask your veterinarian or ask an employee at the store where the plant or flower is being sold. Some plants are known to be safe.
If you suspect that your cat has ingested or bitten a poisonous insect, seek veterinarian assistance immediately. If this happens after your veterinarian’s regular business hours, you should contact the nearest after-hours emergency clinic for animals. Try to bring a sample of whatever the animal has ingested or has been bitten by if it’s safe for you to do so. For example, one of my furry companions had picked up a spider in his mouth and quickly spit it back out. I assumed the spider had bitten him in his mouth and, thusly, he quickly released it. So, I captured the spider in a plastic bowl and took it with us to the after-hours emergency clinic to find out if it was poisonous. Fortunately, since I had the spider with me, the vet could tell me that it was non-poisonous spider.
Place all chemicals and cleaning supplies well out of reach of your cat. Though it’s normal to store them under the kitchen sink cabinet, this is the perfect height for your cat to investigate if they inadvertently gain access to the cabinet. Instead place them in a cabinet in a room that your cat doesn’t access regularly or store them outside in the garage. After you’ve placed all of the cleaning supplies where they will be stored, remember to close the cabinet or closet door. If your cat is extra curious and knows how to open cabinets with their paws, consider installing locking hinges on the cabinet doors much like you would use if you had small children in the house. Is your carpet OK?
If you live in the United States, you can call the ASPCA poison hotline for further information and emergency support. Outside the United States, check with your local and national agencies. Make sure to keep all of your emergency numbers in one place for easy access.
Photo credit heading page: by coreycam