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Common Household Dangers for Cats

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Learn about kitten proofing ideas, what are some common dangers, poisons, and risks, to cats in our homes, and garages. How to keep a cat, or kitten, safe in our house. Pet safety. What things are poisonous to cats? What plants are poisonous to cats?

Around our homes, inside, and out, are many dangers for our pet cats.  Some of these dangers are things we commonly involve our cats in, but we need to be aware of the risk factors for our cats in order to keep them safe.  This information is particularly important for new cat, or kitten, owners, but will be of value for all cat owners.

A Bad Diet

Although a bad diet might not seem like a household danger, it is.  A cat on a bad diet may become obese, diabetic, or develop cancer, or urinary tract problems.  A bad diet could shorten a cat's life.  Kittens, pregnant, and nursing, cats should all have a good kitten food.  Adult cats need adult food, and senior cats need a food that is appropriate for them.  Cats should not be fed human foods such as ham, pork, diary, anything with onions or garlic, or even tuna.  Understanding the proper diet of a cat is a tricky thing, most people assume that if a cat likes a food, it must be good for them.. but we like a few things that are not good for us. 

Most cat foods meet minimum standards and stop there.  When we realize that cats are true carnivores, and note that many cat foods contain corn as a primary ingredient, we can understand why so many cats have health problems related to diet.

A good cat food has a good meat source as the main ingredient, and does not use chemical pesticides, such as Ethoxyquin, nor would it contain color dyes (linked to allergies), BHT, or BHA (lower quality preservatives).  Cats are not meant to be Vegetarians.  Cats should not be fed dog food.

Rather than listing all foods that are bad for cats, or poisonous, it is best not to feed them anything that is not meat, however cats can digest some grains, although poorly.


Our garbage cans can contain things that interest our cat.  Chicken bones (and really any cooked bones) being a big risk, but as well any plastic that contained meat.  The cat may swallow the plastic while licking the meat taste.  To be safe, it is best to keep our garbage out of our cats ability to get into.


If we use any chemcials on our house plants (or outdoor plants) we are endangering our pet.  Cats like to chew plants, if they eat the chemicals used for growth, to kill bugs, or even to clean the leaves, they could get poisoned, or develop cancer. 

Certain plants are in themselves poisonous, Ivy being one.  Certain Lilies pose an unusual risk - Tiger Lilies and Easter Lilies have a pollen that is toxic to cats.  Should this pollen fall on a cats fur the cat will ingest it while cleaning itself, and this is highly fatal. 

To keep cats safe we should keep indoor plants away from our cats, or offer them "Cat Grass" or catnip as an alternative if they do not go outside.  Cats who go outdoors generally will not chew, or eat, plants that are toxic to them. However, as mentioned, if the plants have any chemcials on them, the cats may come into contact with the chemicals and these can be deadly.

In our Garage

Our garage is full of dangers for our cats. The fumes alone should be reason why our cats should not be kept in the garage, but many people use this area for the litter box. These fumes can contribute to cancer in our pets. The more common garage risk is an antifreeze leak. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that pets cannot resist, however it is a deadly killer.

In cold winters cats have been known to crawl up into car engines - only to be killed, or injured later when the car is started.  Some cats enjoy sleeping, or sitting, in wheel wells.

Children's Toys

Cats view just about every thing as their own personal toy.  Some smaller toys are risks if swallowed, or stuck in a cats throat.  Another concern are toys on strings, the cat will view the string itself as a toy and can get this caught around their neck, or paw.  If a cat tries to swallow a string it will have problems also.  Strings will interest any age of cat, but kittens are of particular concern.

Window Treatments

Horizontal blinds can trap a kitten who is eager to play with the birds he, or she, sees out the window.  Worse still is the danger presented by the cords that hang down from our curtains, and blinds.  These cords are an invitation to play, and can be tangled around the neck of a playing cat or kitten.  If tangled around a leg, the animal risks having its circulation cut off. 

painting of cats eyes

painting by author ©

Sewing & Hobby Equipment

Although it is classic to see kittens playing with wool, if unsupervised this can be dangerous.  Sewing threads can be swallowed, and this can be a real danger if a darning needle is at the other end.  Swallowing things is a real risk to cats - their tongues are designed to steer things down their throat, not back up.  Other hobby equipment should be kept away from cats and kittens, especially if it is something they might see as a toy, or if it has any chemicals they would inhale.  Hot glue guns should not be left unattended around any pets. 

Household Sprays

Although we use sprays around our homes all the time, we must remember our pets are often closer to the surface of areas treated with sprays and chemicals (such as the floor, lawn, carpet).  Our cats come into direct contact and get particles on their fur, which they then ingest while grooming.  This is of note because cancer is often linked to chemcials and cancer is a leading killer of pets.


An open door is a curiosity to a kitten.  Eventually cats become frightened of the noises they make but kittens are not so aware of the dangers of things such as a clothes dryer, refridgerator, or dishwasher, and may even climb inside for a peak.

Other Concerns

Some products that are sold for cats may not be as safe as many consumers think.  Flea collars and over the counter flea and tick medication have been linked to pet deaths.

Only proper break away cat collars should be used on cats, other items, even dog collars, are not safe.

Guests and children may be dangers to our pets.  They need to be aware how to hold a cat properly and to watch for it when opening, and closing doors.

Many medicines that are fine for humans are toxic to cats.

Other Reading

Risks to Cats Outside


Posted on Jan 9, 2011
Jerry Walch
Posted on Jan 8, 2011

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