Cat Proofing Your Home

I’ve not owned cats long enough to know all the cat proofing tips out there, so I’m going to include a link to an article that provides tips on keeping your cats safe within your home.  All the obvious ones seem to be included, safeguarding your kitties from being poisoned, injured, electrocuted, and taking a spin in the family dryer.  I’d hate to see the end results of that oops … that would be one nauseated kitty!  I’m sure the clunking and yowling from dear kitty would cause a person to get the cat out of the dryer before any real damage.  However, as a cat lover and cat mom, I am unwilling to check the internet on those statistics.  I am very visual after all, and Stephen King novels provide me enough horror and gruesome details such that I need not more, especially those involving animals.  Suffice it to say that Cujo will not be on my reading list.  The movie was a source of childhood traumatic fear of an aunt and uncle’s Rottweiler.  I can hang with Rots these days.  But Dobermans and Pitbulls remain threats in my psyche even if they aren’t frothing at the mouth like lunatics.

Alas, thank God for cats …

While I borrow tips from the article referenced above and provided at the end of this post, I would like to add a couple of tips based upon personal experience with Timba.  As a Flamepoint Siamese, he is fearless, adventurous and appears to have a healthier than normal amount of kitty curiosity.  This has gotten him into a bind with regards to spaces between objects and walls or windows.  At my former apartment I had a short four-shelf high bookcase pushed against the window to minimize destruction of the blinds.  It was a window that went from the floor nearly to the ceiling, and access to the bottom would’ve been the blind’s demise.  Oh, and the book shelf served another purpose – to prevent my other cat Toby from possibly being seen by the management.  I was among the ranks of those who could only afford one cat deposit and monthly pet rent, plus Toby is persistent with blinds.  In fact it was he who ruined that set by jumping on the book shelf to poke his curious head through for a view of the trees and birds.

At any rate, this particular window faced the outside beside my first floor patio, and one day I went outside on the patio to sit.  I heard some noise against the window, and got up to discover an upside down Timba wedged between the bookcase and window.  I couldn’t help but laugh at his baffled expression, and went inside to rescue him.  Only later did it dawn on me the terrible danger of this Timba-sized crevice if the same thing were to happen while I was away from home.  I shudder to think of it.

I shuddered even more two days ago here at my new home, where Timba once again found himself upside down in the space between my bed and the wall.  I happened to be in the room laying on the bed and typically found myself laughing at his rigid legs and spread toes sticking up from the crack like twigs.  He tried to upright himself as I reached for my phone to take a picture of his latest misadventure.  But he fell in a little further and become still and silent.  A trace of alarm sparked dimly in the back of my mind and I leaned forward to help him as I called his name.  Before I could get to him, he’d struggled his way up.  Once on the bed he began gasping, coughing, and wheezing, whereby that dim alarm became a flashing brightness.  I pulled him near and pet him, talking soothingly to help him get calm.  After perhaps a minute his breathing was fine and I just pressed my face into his fur and prayed over him.

Afterwards Timba returned to normal, getting a bite to eat, drink, and walk around the room.  Yet as time proved the normalization of his state of being, mine began to deteriorate with the growing realization that my cat’s airflow had obviously been cut off while wedged upside down in a position he may not have been able to overcome.  Again, what if this had happened while I wasn’t in the bedroom? I am nearly nauseous as I sit here writing this.  You can bet your sweet tuna that the bed was immediately moved further from the wall with lesson learned.

Here is where I share those additional tips.  I’d definitely advise you cat moms and dads to be mindful of the spaces between objects and walls – beds, dressers, shelving, even stacks of boxes where they can climb to the top and fall in between.  Most of the time cats don’t venture to these places in our homes, but Timba is proof that slips can happen.  I’d also like to add to the article’s section on poisonous plants and medicines to beware of foods that can harm cats.  Onions and garlic are things I like to cook with frequently and are major “no’s” for cats.  They harmful in any form: raw, powdered, or cooked.  So be careful when chopping them that your cat doesn’t nab them from the counter.  Pick up any pieces from the floor or lingering in the sink.

Other things dangerous to cats are chocolate, bread dough, and alcohol.  I read on one website that cream based alcoholic beverages are particularly dangerous because cats are drawn to milk and cream and therefore attracted to these kinds of mixed drinks.  Also beware of moldy foods.  If I’m really sick my dishes tend to stack up on the counter or in the sink and I have at times discovered mold in containers when I finally felt better to tend to them.

While all these things, and more I’m sure, are helpful in keeping cats safe, I do believe the biggest prevention of all is knowing your cat.  Pay enough attention to them so that you are familiar with their habits, quirks, behaviors, and interests.  Some cats are drawn to things that other cats could care less about.  For example, I know that Timba is a notorious chewer and consumer of all things non-edible:  pens, pencils, yarn, rubber bands, paper clips, twist ties, cellophane or regular wrappers, styrofoam pieces in packaging, etc.  I even found a chewed off toy mouse tail in his stool once.  Who would’ve thought?!

I hope this equips you as readers and cat owners and gets you thinking offensively about the possible dangers hidden in the simplest of human things.  Pass the advice along to friends with cats if you don’t own any, and feel free to share your own tips and experiences in the comments section.  I love to hear from you!

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/cat_proofing_your_house.html

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