How to Keep Your Cat Safe

How to Keep Your Cat Safe

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Caitlyn loves animals of all species and sizes. Yes, that includes creepy-crawly bugs and snakes.

4 Ways to Keep Your Cat Safe and Healthy

The world we live in today is incredibly unsafe for our animal friends. Some people will purposefully hurt your pets if they can get their hands on them simply because they can. Others may harm them because they find it amusing.

Whether your pets are dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, birds, or whatever else you may have, you will likely have more time to enjoy with them if you look after your furry friend!

1. Keep Your Cat Inside

This is incredibly important. Most cats hate being in the house. Their instinct tells them to try to get to the outside world. They have no comprehension of the dangers beyond the walls, animal or human.

Why shouldn't you let your cat outside?

  • Cars. No matter how smart your cat is, dealing with auto traffic is inevitable and dangerous.
  • Outdoor cats are oftentimes extremely dangerous, especially to indoor cats. Cats are extremely territorial and therefore will fight anyone that isn't supposed to be on their land. Indoor cats are unprepared for fighting off a cat who has lived its whole life fighting. Not only could your cat get hurt or killed, but cat bites are extremely infectious.
  • Another danger outside the home are the people who find stray animals as they can be incredibly cruel to them, and for absolutely no reason. House cats generally trust humans, which these types of people will take advantage of in order to get close to them.

The best thing you can do is keep your cat inside your home. Don't leave your windows open for them to climb through. Keep your eye on them always.

2. Don't Have Too Many Cats

As much as cats love playing together when they are young, once they hit adulthood, things will change. If you have more than one cat:

  • The cat who was there first can become stressed out by the other cat(s) in their home, especially if the cat is older than the newcomer.
  • They can fight each other, leading to injuries that can be fatal.
  • They might feel the need to protect their food, keeping the other cats from being able to eat.
  • The house will smell like used liter constantly. No matter how much you change the box, it WILL smell.
  • If the cats aren't fixed, there are two possibilities: If they are males, they will spray (which stinks) and they will fight, especially if a female is present. If it's one boy and one girl, there will be plenty of kittens.

How many cats is too many?

The best number to go with is usually two, depending on whether they are spayed/neutered and if you have males or females.

Think carefully before adopting another cat. Consider the temperament of your current furry friend to see if he/she is compatible with other pets.

3. Cat-Proof Your Home

This one may seem extreme, but they deserve the same considerations you might give a puppy or a baby. The saying "curiosity killed the cat" didn't just come out of nowhere. Cats are naturally cautious and curious creatures.

Avoid a trip to the vet or unnecessary worry by checking each room of your house for hazards to your cat. From cords he might chew to plants he can't eat, you have to make sure you remove and store anything they might get into.

Household Dangers to Your Cat:

  • Wires from the television, chargers, computers, etc. Cats love string right? Cords are the dangerous version of those toys cats love...only, your cat doesn't know this! Find covers for your loose wires/cords so your kitty won't chew them up!
  • Certain household plants are extremely dangerous for cats to chew on! Plants such as lillies, Heartleaf philodendrons, and Jade Plants are poisonous for cats (and dogs!) to ingest. The reactions range from a mild illness to death depending on the plant. Do your research before purchasing any household plant, and keep them out of reach of your pets!
  • Don't let them eat anything that is poisonous! Most people know that chocolate can be deadly for pets, but there are other human foods that not many people know are dangerous, or even deadly, to cats (and dogs sometimes). Some particularly dangerous foods include: grapes/raisins, coffee/tea/energy drinks, and dairy products.
  • Anything you don't want them to tear up or get into. Cats love to pretend things are their prey and beat it up. They also love hiding in boxes and other private places. If you don't want you cat to beat up your stuffed monkey or hide in your box of important papers, put them up where your cat can't reach them.
  • Paper products and trash are things cats LOVE to tear up.Paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper all fall victim to their boredom. Pick it up and put it away to avoid them making a mess of things.
  • Finally, plastic bags are extremely dangerous for cats. They love playing in them, but if they get stuck, or if a handle gets wrapped around their neck, they can suffocate. Take the time to pick them up after groceries are put away to avoid them getting hurt.

There are many things you can do to keep your cat safe in your home. Keeping windows closed or screened off keeps your cat from jumping out of the house after birds or rabbits in the yard. If you lay down any pesticides to kill bugs or mice, don't lay them where a cat might get to them.

Finally, if you have any doubts, look it up or ask a vet. They will tell you what is safe and what isn't safe for your furry friend.

4. Learn to Understand Your Cat

Much like dogs and people, cats express their feelings through body language and facial expressions. A cat licking his mouth has just eaten something, for example. It is important to learn what your cat is trying to tell you so that you, as well as your family, don't get hurt.

Common cat signals and what they mean:

  • Switching/wagging tail: this means he's very full of energy and is about to pounce! This can be both playful and angry wagging, so be aware of what's going on around him. If his ears are down and he's switching his tail, he's angry.
  • Arched back/fluffed tail/wide eyes: commonly thought of as aggression, this is actually fear. When a cat is scared from a situation or action, he will fluff up his fur and arch his spine in order to appear bigger.
  • Rubbing his face/body on you: this is commonly seen as affection by people. What he is actually doing is marking you as his property; he is leaving his scent on you.
  • Tail tip twitching/Ears perked: he is listening and attentive to his surroundings. He is keeping watch.
  • Crouched low/tail twitching/eyes wide: he is going to pounce! When we slide string along the floor, they will get into this mode (much like a tiger when hunting) in order to catch his "prey".
  • Tail straight up: he is feeling super friendly and wants you to pet him! (or maybe feed him...)

Halloween Tip: Keep Cats Inside!

This one is especially true if you own a black cat. Often seen as bad luck, black cats are the ones that are most often left behind at shelters and harmed when spotted walking around. They are just like any other cat, and deserve love just like anyone else.

Halloween is a dangerous time for any pet. Keep them safe by not letting them out of the house, even just to see the kids trick-or-treating.

Better to be safe than sorry!

Stay Away From Strays

This one isn't for your cat in particular, but for keeping the stray and yourself safe from harm. Whether they were born on the streets, or abandoned by their previous family, it's heartbreaking to see stray animals and most people want to help them, but this can actually be bad for them.

Many stray cats are born feral, so they are not socialized and extremely dangerous, as well as being afraid. They can attack any pets you have at home already, as well as you and your family. Cat bites are very dirty and can get severely infected if left unclean.

If you do see a stray, do not call to them. Friendly stray cats that come up to you can be later targeted by people. If you see one, scare them away. The more scared they are of people, the safer they will be.

If you can take the cat in, and it's friendly, feel free to do so. They will need a visit to the vet to make sure they are safe to be inside your home and around your family.

Another thing: don't leave food/water out. Feeding them once means they will forever hang around your home, bothering your pets and you. If they live outside, they more than likely can get food on their own.

When it comes to cats, they are probably just fine without us.

Do Not Use Craigslist!

This one is incredibly important! If you find you are unable to keep you cat or kitten, posting an ad for them on Craigslist, or any site like this one, is very dangerous.

In order to find a safe home for your cat, here are some tips:

  • Ask friends, family, church members, etc first. Even the friend of your friend, if recommended. As long as you know they are going to a good home.
  • If you do decide to post to Facebook or other sites, hold interviews to make sure they are fit to own a pet. Have them answer questions about themselves, their home environment, etc.
  • Always have a re-homing fee posted! Abusers won't want to pay too much money for something they will just hurt when there are free ones everywhere. To keep your kitty (or any pet) safe, post a decent fee. If you don't want to make money off of them, still post the amount and just let the person know that once you have met them.

Always trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling about anyone, be polite and move on to someone else. The safety of the animals is more important than a quick sell. Please don't ever give them away for free!

Final Thoughts

As long as you follow these tips, check you cat into the vet every once in a while, and take care of his basic needs, you and your cat will have a happy life together!

© 2016 Caitlyn Booth

Pet preparedness: How to keep your cat safe during a disaster or emergency

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Are you prepared to take care of your pets during an emergency?

Earthquakes, floods and other disasters can strike without warning. Being prepared ahead of time can reduce stress, save time, and possibly save lives - including your pets.

We turned to Cat Behavior Consultant, Daniel Quagliozzi and San Francisco Animal Care & Control for tips on how to make sure you and your pets are prepared to evacuate, if necessary.

Identify Your Pet
During the stress of an emergency, it is easy for pets to get lost. A collar and ID tag, including your phone number, can provide immediate identification. Since collars can come off easily, especially on cats, getting your cat microchipped is the best form of permanent identification. It is your responsibility to keep the information current. So make sure to double check that you are listed as the contact, not the organization where you got your cat.

Carrier Train Your Pet
Get your pet used to being in the carrier. If you need to evacuate, or even head to the vet, a cat will very likely run and hide. Try leaving the carrier out in your home like a regular piece of furniture so your kitty will get used to it. Next, place treats and toys in the carrier to encourage your them to go inside. You can even feed your cat a few of their regular meals while inside the carrier to reinforce a positive connection. Lastly, practice your evacuation plan with a 'kitty fire drill'.

Some carriers are specifically designed for emergencies. The Evacsak is an emergency carrier designed for small animals. The larger opening can make it easier to get cats inside. It also has shoulder strap that allows your hands to remain free. always useful to open doors and carry more items.

Prepare a Disaster Kit for Your Pet
Store your pet's disaster kit along with yours.

Here are the items recommended by San Francisco Animal Care & Control:

  • Bottled water for 7 days for each animal and bowls.
  • Your pet's regular food (at least a 7-day supply for each animal).
  • Portable carrier or crate.
  • A copy of your pet's vaccine history and medical records for chronic conditions.
  • Your pet's medication and a copy of the prescription.
  • Recent photos of your pet (especially with you in the picture).
  • Litter boxes and litter.
  • Fresh bedding for small animals.
  • A leash and collar (dogs) or harness (cats) extra ID tags.
  • Plastic bags for litter disposal/dog cleanup.
  • A manual can opener and plastic lid for canned food.
  • Phone numbers and locations of your vet, the local emergency clinic, and your local shelter.
  • Phone numbers for your emergency contacts, relatives, and friends.
  • Extra blankets, paper towels.
  • A pet first aid kit with large and small bandages, scissors, tweezers, Q-tips, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, elastic tape, eyewash, ear cleaning solutions, and K-Y jelly.
  • A supply of cash to pay for emergency boarding.
  • If you have room, include chew toys, special treats, blankets, bedding, and other items that your pet loves. If your pet can play or stay with something familiar, she or he could feel more relaxed during an emergency.

Evacuation Tips
If it's not safe for you, it isn't safe for them. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if at all possible. Whatever happens, do not leave them inside a carrier, in an evacuated home. They stand a better chance of surviving if they can move around.

Feeding Your Feline

For many cats, it’s a good idea to create a feeding schedule, typically two meals a day, about 8 to 12 hours apart. Your vet can tell you how much your pet should eat every day based on their size and how active they are. And though you may worry that your cat will get hungry, it’s best not to leave a bowl of food sitting out all day. That can mean your cat could decide to eat as much as they can, which could make them gain too much weight.

If your cat begs when you sit down to eat, resist the urge to feed them from your plate. Some human foods are bad for cats, like onions, garlic, raisins, some nuts, and chocolate. Other foods, like milk, are hard for many kitties to digest and can make them sick.

And always make sure your cat has access to fresh water 24/7.

Keep Outdoor Cats Safe and Healthy

Nancy Huggins’s kitty, Norman, is a cat about town. Even though he runs the house, he likes to take a jaunt outside from time to time, just to make sure his territory is safe. “He protects the kingdom very well,” Huggins laughs.

For 11 years, Norman, a 20-pound tabby, has been going in and out of his home without a care. But Huggins is sometimes concerned that he may get into trouble.

“I hate it when he's out after dark,” she admits.

About 70% of the estimated 95.6 million pet cats in the U.S. live indoors only. But millions of kitties are still allowed outside, where they face more dangers.

“Predators, cars, diseases, poisons, and the bully cat who already possesses the territory your sweet kitty has just been let into are only a few of the reasons that indoor cats live significantly longer on average than cats that venture outside,” says Chris Miller, DVM, veterinarian and co-owner of Atlas District Veterinary Hospital in Washington, DC.

“Assessing the risk of an outdoor lifestyle is always important before sending a cat outside for any amount of time.”

Many vets say owners should limit outdoor time as much as possible, or just choose to keep the cat inside. Another option, says Ariel Mosenco, DVM, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, is to let your pet out only in a confined, fenced area while you’re watching.

Still, “There are benefits for cats when they go outside like increased exercise, social activity, and decreased boredom,” Miller says. But it’s up to you to make sure they have the most protection possible.

Get the chip. Most humane societies recommend microchipping your pet. It’s an excellent way to identify them if they are located after wandering off. When you get one, make sure you keep your contact information up-to-date on the chip. A collar for your cat with a tag that has your phone number is also a good idea.

Don ’t declaw. Veterinarians say you should never let a cat outside that doesn’t have claws. “They cannot defend themselves from dogs and other cats, and they cannot climb on trees to escape a threat, making the outdoors even riskier,” Mosenco says.


Get vaccines. Let your vet know if your cat goes outdoors so they can make sure they have the proper shots. “Outdoor cats will need additional vaccinations like the feline leukemia vaccine and possibly others depending on what part of the country you live in,” Miller says.

Spay or neuter your pet. Cats who aren’t fixed are more likely to roam away from home, Mosenco says. That raises the chances they’ll get hit by a car or get into a catfight. So after around 5 months of age or before, make sure your kitty is spayed or neutered.

Always keep food and water handy. Huggins says she makes sure Norman’s water dish is outside in the summer. And she also adds more calories to his diet during the winter months. “Especially because the cats expend more calories in the wintertime than they do in the summertime,” Huggins says.

Have a litter box indoors. It’s important to have one ready so your cat has options when they want to be inside.

Watch out for toxins. Scraps from trash cans, pesticides, and other poisons are a danger to your cat. There are even more risks in the winter months.

“Antifreeze and even the salt that people spread on the front of their houses to prevent slipping from ice is something that can damage the paws,” Miller says. Ingesting antifreeze is deadly for cats.

Provide shelter. As the weather gets colder, keep in mind the chilly temperatures and snow and ice can affect a cat’s health.

“They can still get frostbite and hypothermia, just like people can,” Miller says. He also recommends you make sure your cat isn’t climbing into the hood of your car to stay cozy during the winter months or cool in the summer.

The best bet is to bring cats inside when the temperatures drop. But if you can’t, set up a small wooden enclosure or heavy box to keep your cat warm. In extreme weather conditions, many times, cats can figure it out for themselves. Norman does.

“In the very cold months, he doesn’t even want to go out,” Huggins says.


Humane Society of the United States: “Outdoor Cats: Frequently Asked Questions.”

ASPCA: “Your Cat – Indoors or Out.”

Chris Miller DVM, co-owner, Atlas District Veterinary Hospital, Washington DC.

Ariel Mosenco DVM, DACVIM, associate professor of internal medicine, University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School of Medicine.

Potential Food Poisons

Whether it be fed directly to your pet or something your dog or cat ate on its own, there are certain foods that can be dangerous. It is somewhat well known that chocolate is not safe for dogs, but you may not be aware that dark chocolate is the worst culprit. Onions are garlic in large quantities are also harmful, as are raisins and grapes. Unbaked yeast bread dough, food and drink with caffeine and the sugar substitute xylitol, as well as alcohol should all be kept away from our furry friends.

Watch the video: Outdoor Cat House