For all of us here at Cat Care Professionals, our cats aren’t just pets. They’re part of our families, and ensuring their safety is one of our main responsibilities as their guardians. They depend upon us to look after them, and in return we are rewarded with their loyalty and (most of all!) their love. This month, we want to celebrate National Animal Safety and Protection Month by providing the following tips on how to protect your cat in almost any situation.
Pet First Aid Kit
For all minor injuries and illnesses, a pet first aid kit can really be helpful. Whether you make one yourself, buy one online, or find one at your local Lake Oswego pet store, just make sure that it has all of the following items.
- veterinary and emergency contact information
- your cat’s vaccination records
- photos of your cat that show distinctive markings
- disposable gloves
- pet thermometer
- hot/cold packs
- small flashlight or penlight
- oral syringes
- small scissors with blunt ends
- cotton balls/gauze
- wound disinfectant
- antibiotic ointment
- hydrocortisone ointment
- sterile eyewash solution
- cornstarch/styptic powder
Did you that the American Red Cross teaches cat and dog first aid classes right here in Portland? Just visit their website to register for the next class!
When traveling with your cat, always transport them in a comfortable and secure carrier (even if they are one of those rare kitties who tolerate walking on a leash). It’s important to make sure that they can be secured into the car (i.e. buckling the carrier into the seat) just in case you have to make a sudden stop or a sharp turn.
The following crash test video is a good example of what can happen during an accident if your cat isn’t properly restrained while riding in the car:
Cat Proof Your Home
To keep your cat safe from harm while inside the house, make sure to remove all potential household hazards.
- Kitchen and Laundry Area – keep trash cans covered, don’t leave food out on the counters (especially toxic foods such as chocolate, raw bread dough, garlic, onions, etc.), keep all silica gel packets out of reach, store all cleaners where your cat can’t access them, and always keep the laundry dryer closed (an open dryer full of warm clothes is an inviting place for a cat to curl up and take a nap)
- Garage – make sure cleaners, motor oil and gasoline, glues and paint, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. are all stored where your cat can’t get into them; be certain that your kitty is in a safe place when you open and close the garage door
- Bathroom – keep the trash can covered, restrict access to dangerous substances that might be tempting to a cat like dental floss and hair bands (not only is this a choking hazard but it can cause a blockage in the intestinal tract if consumed)
- Living Areas – keep recliners in the upright position when you aren’t using them (also, make sure your cat is out of the way when you move the chair because cats can easily get caught inside), be mindful of curtains and blind pulls to prevent accidental strangulation, don’t leave out small objects that could pose a choking hazard such as paper clips, keep electric cords and cables tucked away (try spraying them with a taste deterrent such as Bitter Apple), keep toxic plants out of the house
Winter Weather Preparedness
If possible, bring your cat inside during cold winter weather. If your cat cannot come indoors, make sure that their food and water is easily accessible and won’t be blocked by snow or ice. Also, don’t forget to provide them with some form of shelter from the cold. You can buy an insulated cat house or even build your own. Lastly, keep in mind that there are several dangerous substances used outside during the winter that your cat should not have access to. Examples include salt and other chemicals used to melt ice that irritate a cat’s paws and could be toxic as well as antifreeze (which, unfortunately, could kill a cat with a single lick). If these kinds of substances are used around your home, at the very least make sure to clean all spills and keep them out of a cat’s reach.
Lastly, in the winter many outdoor cats seek shelter and warmth inside the hood of cars. Starting your car with a cat inside could lead to serious injuries or death. Before leaving for work in the morning, check under the hood of your car or at least knock a few times on the hood or honk your horn to alert any sleeping cats that it’s not safe to stay there.
Consider Pet Insurance
If you don’t have pet insurance, consider investing in a plan. There are many companies that offer this service. The best part about pet insurance if that you’ll never have to worry about the cost of an unexpected injury or illness so it really helps to protect your cat (and your wallet!).