5 Cat Hazards You May Not Know

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

cat safety home-vintage cats cooking

Cats are naturally curious but we don’t want their curiosity to kill them. Savvy pet parents are familiar with common dangers and hazards but here are 5 hazards you may not know about.

avocado safe for cats

1)      Most lists of dangerous foods for cats include chocolate, onion, garlic, raw eggs, alcohol and avocado but the truth is avocado is not toxic for cats. A small amount of avocado flesh given as a treat is fine. It contains healthy fats, high protein and fiber. My cat Merlin has always enjoyed bits of avocado and he’s almost twenty. The issue of avocado toxicity concerns the toxin persin, which is found mostly in the avocado leaves, skin and the pit, but not the flesh. The ASPCA claims, “While avocado is toxic to some animals, in dogs and cats, we do not expect to see serious signs of illness. In some dogs and cats, mild stomach upset may occur if the animal eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel.”

2)      Pet parents know to keep all medications (both humans and animal) safely stored but here’s a shocker: snap-top supplement containers can snap open with a little help from a curious cat. I like to take a calcium/magnesium supplement at bedtime and thought it was safe to keep the snap-top container on my night stand. I figured even if my cat knocked it over it would simply roll on the floor. One evening my cat Odin must have heard the jingle of capsules in the bottle and raced over. He knocked the bottle off the table and when it hit the hardwood floor, it snapped open. Several capsules popped out. He sniffed at them hoping they were treats and fortunately didn’t eat them. It may have been a random fluke but it’s food for thought. Coincidentally, pet food treats from Trader Joe’s have a similar snap top container. If you have curious kitties who like knocking items off shelves and tables, satisfy their curiosity with safe toys and store all vitamins and supplements as if they were medications.

 

3)      Here’s a new twist to the dangers of ingesting string, yarn, ribbons, thread or dental floss, and it’s irresistibly edible. Those of us who like roasting meat requiring trussing with butcher’s string know how enticing and aromatic juice-soaked string can be to cats. Recently, I bought an organic, ready-made rotisserie chicken and was horrified by the new trussing string. It was a stretchy, green cord resembling a little snake and soaked with tasty, meaty goodness. The combo of visuals with scent and taste would be catnip for any cat.

 

petfinder-chicken-hazard

I Instagrammed the chicken with Odin and a warning, and safely stashed the string in the garbage before he could get his paws on it. Ditto with the carcass. Cooked bones can become brittle causing them to splinter into sharp edges and are known to get stuck in the teeth, causing choking hazards when caught in the throat or cause a puncture of the stomach lining or intestinal tract.

petfinder-chicken

Yarn or other linear objects can get twisted around the tongue or once ingested, twisted in the intestines causing a blockage. Cats find yarn irresistible but once they begin swallowing it they can’t stop. We all know how rough and sandpaper-like a cat’s tongue is. This is thanks to tiny hooked barbs on the tongue called papillae, which help cats groom themselves spotless. Those same little barbs prevent swallowed yarn or string from being vomited out.

4)      I love to bake and don’t mind giving a smidge of butter, cream cheese, or yogurt as a treat, but beware of  raw cookie dough or cake batter. This is one bowl you don’t want your cat to lick clean. It’s hazardous for two reasons. 1 – Raw yeast dough (and that includes pizza dough) can expand and produce gas in the digestive system causing bloat, pain and intestinal issues. 2 – Raw eggs contain a protein called avidin, which causes a depletion of biotin of B1, a necessary vitamin for a healthy coat. Raw eggs also may contain bacteria like Salmonella, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

cat -waste basket hazard

5)      What’s in your wastebasket? It’s easy to keep garbage containers in the kitchen covered and away from cats. I use a stainless steel garbage can with a step-on pedal, which lifts and closes the lid tightly. But what about the rest of the house? I did a quick scan and realized there are seven other wastebaskets in my house from bathrooms, dressing room, office, and bedrooms. I like snacking at my desk and now I’m more aware of tossing chocolate wrappers inside. After seeing Odin knock over a wastebasket in the bathroom, and seeing him play hockey with an old lipstick and an empty shampoo bottle, it gave me pause. You’d think with the amount of toys my cats have, they wouldn’t be interested in non-toy items, but there will always be cats who want what’s off-limits. It’s up to us as pet owners to make sure every room in our home is safe.

IF YOUR CAT HAS INGESTED A SUSPECTED HAZARD, PLEASE CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN, EMERGENCY CLINIC AND/OR THE ASPCA NATIONAL ANIMAL POISON CONTROL CENTER AT : 1-900-443-0000 OR 1-888-426-4435

IT’S ALWAYS WISE TO BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCIES. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER OR RED CROSS CHAPTER TO LOCATE AN ANIMAL FIRST-AID CLASS NEAR YOU.

Please note: this article originally appeared at Petfinder.com but removed for not adhering to their policy via parent company Nestle Purina for mentioning feeding human food to pets.

32 Comments

  • nadbugs

    It really is a small world, Layla — Joel and I did study in the same lineage, through Professor at least (not William Chen). It’s been a huge long time ago for me, tho — so I’m glad to hear that Maggie Newman is still on the planet . . . .

  • Caren Gittleman

    Super important post. It is amazing how many things cats can get into despite our best efforts! I had to call the ASPCA poison control number a few weeks back because I thought I gave Cody my blood pressure meds instead of HIS meds! Thankfully all was ok!

  • Connie

    while you are right about raw egg whites, you are wrong about raw eggs. The yolk of the egg contains a lot of biotin, which mitigates the avidin.

    As for the risk of salmonella, cats are designed to eat small animals, and as such has a digestive tract that can handle salmonella. It is shorter and more acidic, which makes it a poor host for the bacteria to multiply – which is what causes the problem.

  • Oui Oui

    What a great post with lots of good info! I didn’t know wbout the avocado and raw eggs. Most of the kitties here are good about not eating most human foods (dairy excepted) but Julie loves to try them all.

  • Skeeter and Izzy

    Thanks for the great reminders about dangerous stuff. We can never have it brought to our attention too often!!! Luv the pics too!
    Luvs Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig and Peanut and Romeo >^..^<

  • Angel AbbyGrace

    Annabelle loves butter. If she sees me open the butter I know she wants some. I have read that is it not good to feed them butter. But I torn between the tiny amount I have swiped onto my fingertip to feed her as being bad. I know it is fatty and high in calories but I struggle with not giving her a tiny taste.

  • Sue Brandes

    I have a trash digger at my house(the small baskets). He is always looking for goodies so I don’t really used them anymore. He is a stinker. Some of those I knew. Some I didn’t. Thanks Layla.

  • Deztinee High

    Yeppews vewy good infuwmation. Wees dont like da avocados at all so wees nevew get any. As fuw da west. mommys always vewy caweful. But wees always amazed at how many people don’t know da dangews of nowmal fings in a house dat can huwt kittys. Wees always shocked by da amount of people dat let der kittys play wiff yawn and stwing and haiw twistys (which be just as dangewous as any stwing). Faks fuw da posty. 🙂

    Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses ♥♥♥

    Dezi

  • Brian Frum

    I didn’t know about those avocados either but we pretty much get nothing except our own food and the only thing interesting in the trash is…nothing at all.

  • Tamago

    I didn’t know avocado flesh in small amount was ok for kitties! We use the same kind of trash can as yours for kitchen. Trash cans without lid are hidden inside cabinets.

  • Random Felines

    huh – didn’t know that about avacados…of course, mom doesn’t like them so that is out. 🙂

    mom has to hide the trash cans around here – some girl cat likes to flip them over and shred tissues into snow

    oh – and people need to be careful of those snap top pill boxes too. mom used to use them until a pair of boys (Tim & Tom) opened a cabinet, flipped the box onto the floor where the tops popped open and Tommy ate a birth control pill (he is fine but it freaked mom out)

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    doodz…awesum post…manee thanx for all de tipz N we iz lovin de grafic with thiz post…prob ablee if we could cook…de kitshun heer in TT wood look just like thiz…burnt noodlez….burner 3 ~~~~

  • Bev Green

    Great info…the hidden dangers are everywhere..cords from vertical blinds the blinds themselves..can be a huge problem…mulch..fertiliser in the garden..all pose problems..we all try to keep them safe and any extra ideas are great 🙂 hugs Fozziemum

  • easy rider

    I thought avocado is totally dangerous, thanks for the information :o) meds and pets is a bad mix, I’ve read some really sad stories last year about dogs and cats who died. I always storage meds and treatments on a really safe place to make sure Easy can’t get it.

  • Fuzzy Tales

    I actually didn’t know about eggs and avocado. Good thing the boys don’t like (most) people food. I’ve let Nicki lick a plate with “crumbs” of leftover scrambled eggs, though, so I suppose it’s a matter of how much they’re ingesting. Oh, RAW eggs! DUH. Yuck. Who wants to eat a raw egg? LOL. 🙂

    Terrific info, thanks for this post.

    BTW, I’m with you re: the waste baskets. The boys are good about those, but I switched my bathroom one to a lidded container anyway, just to be on the safe side.

  • Maggie

    Just this morning I caught Mickey Mouser licking some coffee grounds that had spilled on the kitchen counter. I googled cats+coffee and found out that coffee in all forms is bad.

  • Raine

    Excellent information, some I knew, others were unknown. Time to take a fresh look at home and re-kitty proof it. Thank you! 🙂

  • Sammy

    Great reminders……..funny how cats seem to like so many “non-cat” things to eat AND play with……bits of this and that on both accounts sometimes are way more interesting than what we humans have manufactured for them to eat or play with. Gotta love that about cats though!

    Hugs, Pam

  • Carolyn

    Austin is amazingly uncurious except when something is new, then maybe he’ll have a quick sniff! I think his natural nervousness keeps him out of trouble in this regard. There was just this one time with a fish oil tablet …….

  • Sparkle

    My human is careful about most of these (she is currently looking for a decorative bathroom wastebasket with a lid)… but I want to say, I am sure I will never get to taste avocado because she LOVES it and selfishly keeps it to herself!

  • Kathryn

    love yoru beautiful artwork and great info!

    Mao eats onion skin. He cannot resist. As a tux, he doesn’t know what’s bad for him. When the shelter rescued him, he had a rose thorn in his nose and his first trip to the vet for that and the operation. The shelter rescued him at 2 mo and we adopted him at months. He still crunches a piece of onion skin on the floor, but I take it away from him.

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