Is Your Cat Safe from Common Household Dangers?

June 21, 2017

in Cat Health

Are you aware of the wide range of common household items and products that can be hazardous to your cat’s health? Although it is not all-inclusive, this article is intended to help you recognize some of the common hazards found in the home.

Home Cleaning Products

Household cleaning products should be safely stored and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Product labels usually include warning statements such as “keep children and pets away from the area until it is completely dry”. Cleaning products containing chlorine bleach can cause chemical burns when skin contact is made. If swallowed the effects can be deadly. Stomach pain, vomiting, excessive drooling and vomiting are typical symptoms when these products are ingested.

Cleaning products should be stored in their original packaging if they can be resealed. If resealing is not possible, transfer the products to a properly labeled container that can be securely closed.

Herbicides, Insecticides and Other Pest Control Products

Flea and tick control products intended for external application should be kept safely out of reach to avoid ingestion or over exposure. As with cleaning products, read label directions carefully before using as these are poisonous chemicals that must be used only as directed.

Mouse and rat poisons must be kept well sealed and in a secure location out of your ragdoll cat’s reach. These compounds, if swallowed, can cause serious organ injury and may be lethal.

Gardening chemicals (herbicides, fertilizers, insecticides, etc.) must also be used safely in order to ensure your cat’s health. When applied to lawns, keep all pets away from the treated area until it is considered safe according to the manufacturers directions. Lawn and garden chemicals that stick to your cat’s paws may cause severe skin reactions. If the cat later licks his paws the chemicals may be ingested.

Human Foods Cats Should Avoid

Some foods that are perfectly fine for human consumption can be dangerous – even deadly – to cats. No matter how much he begs, these foods should never be given to your pooch:

Chocolate, Yeast Dough, Chewing Gum, Persimmons, Grapes/Raisins, Alcohol, Onions, Coffee & Grounds, Tea, Potato Peelings, Nutmeg, Mushrooms, Garlic, Avocados, Nuts, Salt, Raw Eggs or Fish, Most Bones, Baking Soda/Powder, and Sugar Free Foods Containing Xylitol.

Keep household garbage in securely closed trash cans. For some reason cats seem to find garbage in plastic trash bags absolutely irresistible and they can easily rip them open in search of “goodies”. However, rotting food can be harboring nasty bacteria and molds that could cause your cat to suffer from food poisoning.

Bathroom Hazards

Unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so, never give your cat medications that are used to treat humans. To avoid accidental poisoning, keep all medicine in tightly closed, secured containers well away from your pooch. Particularly hazardous over-the-counter medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, antihistamines, cold medicines, vitamins, diet pills, and topical creams/ointments.

Other health and beauty products such as skin lotions, toothpaste, nail care products and even some soaps can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain so keep them secured and out of reach. Also remember to keep toilet lids closed. Cats seem to love drinking from toilet bowls but if they do so it can be risky due to chemicals in toilet bowl cleaning products.

Toxic Plants

Some plants typically found in homes and in the yard can be hazardous to a cat’s health. A few of the common plants that may be dangerous include:

Schefflera, Lilies, Tulip and Narcissus Bulbs, Oleander, Azalea, Hydrangea, Hibiscus, Cyclamen, Yew, Amaryllis, Autumn Crocus, Pothos, Rhododendron, English Ivy, Sago Palm, and Chrysanthemum

The ASPCA provides a very useful data base of plants, both toxic and non-toxic, on their website. As it is searchable, it is easy to use and will help to identify plants in your home than can be dangerous. The data base can be found at

Other Household Hazards

– Ethylene glycol antifreeze and coolants can be fatal, even is very small quantities. Although less toxic, propylene glycol antifreeze can still be dangerous.

– Ethylene glycol antifreeze and coolants can be fatal, even is very small quantities. Although less toxic, propylene glycol antifreeze can still be dangerous.

– Paints and Solvents

– Paints and Solvents

– Small objects that fall on the floor can be easily swallowed by a curious cat. Such items as coins, small toys, jewelry, screws, nails, buttons, batteries, etc. may result in internal injuries and may require surgery to remove them.

– Electrical cords should be covered and blocked to prevent access. Chewing on a live wire could prove deadly.

– Electrical cords should be covered and blocked to prevent access. Chewing on a live wire could prove deadly.


Do Not Delay! Time is very critical for successful treatment of accidental poisoning. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-425-4435. Be ready to provide your cat’s age, weight, breed, and any symptoms. Have the product container or a sample of the plant at hand so that the poison can be correctly identified and an appropriate treatment can be recommended.

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