Cat Safety Tips

Read these 41 Cat Safety Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cat tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I get a cat out of my car enging during the winter months?

Honk that Horn!

Even if you keep your cats inside, it is a good idea to honk your horn, or slap the hood of your car each and every time you get ready to leave.
The residual heat that car engines radiate will attract cats trying to keep warm during the winter months. It is very common for cats to climb up in car engines and then are injured or killed when the unsuspecting human starts the car.

What should I do for my cat in winter?

Food, food and more food

With the temperatures dropping, your cat will notice the change even inside. You should be prepared for changes your cat's body makes in response to the changing seasons. They gain weight; their coat gets thicker; their activity increases.
One of the first things you should notice, is that your cat is eating more; up to 25% more than in warm months. Be sure to keep the crunchy bowl full or try a dispenser. They are inexpensive, available at any department or pet store, and make it much easier to keep food out at all times.

Is it dagerous for cats to eat bugs?

Bugs and Indoor Cats

The greatest risk kitties have from eating/playing with the cockroaches/bugs is from ingesting the poison you put out to kill the bugs.
You can accidentally poison your kitty when they eat a bug (or mouse) that has been poisoned.
It's been my experience that the only side effect cats have from eating a simple bug is they usually will throw up the legs and shell, since that is too hard to digest properly.

What kind of winter shelter should I provide for my cat?

Warm, dry shelter

If you must keep your cat outside, or you manage a feral colony, now is the time to create suitable shelters for your cats. Although some people think cats won't use some sort of house, I know that a cat will find, and defend a place that is warm and dry during the cold winter months.
Shelters with small round openings-those just big enough for a cat to fit into, will attract them quicker. This gives them security that nothing larger than themselves can come into the shelter; it will be easier to defend when they are inside, and the small opening will help keep the wind and precipatiation out.
GURU'S NOTE: Be sure to have some means of changing the bedding; such as some sort of trap door, or a removable top.

Should I worry about my black cat at Halloween?

Protect Your Black Cat

It is horrendous to think, but Black Cats are at great danger the week before Halloween (October 31.) Too many black cats been mutilated or killed to celebrate Halloween and they were not the ritual killings of some cult; they were the mindless pranks of cruel people.
If you own a black cat, or even a cat that is mostly black, keep it contained in the house or garage over night during the week before Halloween and especially Halloween night. This will protect Kitty's life during a time when it is most vulnerable from human predators.

Why should I keep my cat inside during the winter?

Short Trips outside

When the cold winds blow, while snow and ice blanket the ground, it is a good idea to shorten your pet's trips outside. Inside Kitties won't be adjusted to the extreme temperature change and that could bring on illness. Also, cats can get frostbite just as easily as humans, another reason to not let kitty outside for as long.

What kind of bedding should I put in my cat´s outdoor shelter?

What Kind of Bedding is best

Cloth and newspaper are not the best answer for bedding in your cat's outdoor winter shelter: they can absorb moisture and freeze.
Hay or straw are the recommended bedding materials for outdoor shelters. If you don't have access these bagged wood shavings for hamster cages are good substitutes.
Do not use Cedar chips since this can irritate a cat's respiratory system.

What types of things are poisonous to my cat?

Antifreeze Warning

Not all pet owners know that antifreeze is a deadly poison to pets. What is frustrating, is that antifreeze smells and tastes good to most pets.
Take extra precautions when working with Antifreeze: collect it in a bucket to prevent it from running down the gutter. Mop up any spills immediately. Keep your pets contained while working with anitifreeze to prevent any accidental ingestion. Check the Links Section for Antifreeze Warning-by Dr. Allen Schoen for a MUST READ article that details the symptoms of antifreeze poisoning.

Why should I check my laundry room machines before I use them?

Caution in the Laundry Room

If you leave the doors to your washer or dryer open periodically, be sure to check inside before you turn the machine on. Kitties love to explore dark hiding places and they might be inside. More than once, I have found one of my cats curled up in one of the machines taking a nap.

What toys should I NOT buy for my cat?

Hidden Dangers in Manufactured Toys

Avoid any toys that have small bells or any small parts that may fall off (or be pulled/chewed off) and the cat could swallow. It is amazing the cat toys out there that could be potentially dangerous to your pet. I even had a catnip toy that the cats tore open and were starting to eat the stuffing inside. This was immediately thrown away so it would not cause any health risk to them.

Why does my cat beg at the table in winter?

Time to re-introduce the wet food

As your cat's body prepares for winter, he will begin to eat more, and demand more food-especially those wonderful smelling table scraps.
Try re-introducing his favorite wet food that he stopped eating in the spring. By complimenting his never empty crunchy bowl, with tempting wet food, it will help curb his demands for table scraps.

How do I provide a shady place for my outdoor cat?

A Shady Corner without Trees

Not everyone can have trees in their yard, but you can choose one section of your yard and allow it to grow wild.
Allow the grass and/or weeds to grow all summer long without cutting them. Once they are 2-3 feet tall, they will provide a fun and shady place for your cats.

How can I help my humane society & still be anonymous?

Paying the Price Incognito

You want to donate money to help stop animal abuse and neglect, but you don't want to be subjected to every other 'cause' begging at your door, because they bought a mailing list.
Purchase a money order, or cashier's check in the amount you wish to donate, then send it with no return address, and only a short note to explain the check.
You will remain anonymous, while helping your cause.

How do I care for my kitty while I´m on vacation?

What to do for Kitty when I am vacationing?

You will find all of my best tips on caring for kitty while you're on vacation under the Category:
Travel & Moving.

I have tips on kitty sitters, traveling with kitty, and boarding kitty in that section.

How do I provide a shady place for my outdoor cat?

Winter Warmth to Summer Storm Shelter

For those who must keep their cat outside, you should create some type of outdoor shelter for your pet to protect him from the heat, and summertime storms.
Removing most of the hay from his winter shelter should provide him with protection from storms.

My cat is bored inside during the winter months, what can I do?

Kitty is Bored all cooped up inside

Because it's cold outside, Kitty doesn't get to go out as much, and now he is bored. You can take some simple measures to help him cope.
Spend more time with your cat playing and giving him special attention. Buy him a couple of new toys.
Keep the bird feeder full to attract birds for him to watch. Make certain the bird bath isn't frozen over. Add a squirel feeder, also. These should give Kitty plenty of distraction until spring.

Do cats need water outside in the summer time?

Water, water, water

If you must keep your cat outside, or you manage a feral cat colony, you must keep plenty of fresh clean water out for your pets. Although animals can live quite some time on little to no food, they can't survive more than a few days without water.
To maintain your kitties' health the water should be clean and fresh. Most cats won't drink stagnant water unless they are desparate, since they can suffer from internal parasites as much as humans.
Folks in humid areas may need to change the water every day to prevent mosquitoes from nesting in your pet's water dish.
Those in arid and hot regions may need to add water more than once a day due to evaporation.

How do I get rid of indoor insect pests without poisoning them?

Eliminate the Food Supply

Cats can be accidentally poisoned from eating a bug who was poisoned. There are some tips I use to keep the bugs out of the house without the threat of poisoning my kitties with bug spray.

The most important thing I've done is to put all of my Pantry food stuffs in Plastic, glass or metal containers, and get them out of the cardboard boxes/paper they are packaged in. Roach eggs can be carried in the flaps of food boxes, and/or the pests can lay their eggs in these flaps once they get to your home.

Initially, I could have bought stock in the Rubbermaid company, I bought so many plastic storage boxes. Since then I've added rubber seal stopper jars, gallon Pickle jars from concession stands and institutional kitchens; I bought a vacuum sealer and several cases of canning jars, and steel/aluminum canisters.
The concept is: if they can't get to the food, they won't come in.

How do I provide a shady place for my outdoor cat?

Wildflower Shade

A beautiful and easy way to provide your outdoor cats with shade is to plant a flower bed in Wild Flowers, or naturalizing Day Lilies.
These will grow tall enough, and thick enough to provide your kitty with protection from the sun, and a fun place to play.
Of course, you can't get angry if they 'mash' a few plants while lounging in the shade.

What kinds of toys are good for my cat?

String Warning

Cats love string, but they can have severe troubles with it. Never let your cat play with a small fine string or thread unless you can supervise them. The natural bristles on a cat's tongue can catch a string, or yarn and force the cat to swallow the string. This could be disasterous if a cat plays with sewing thread, or knitting yarn because they could swallow unlimitable yards of thread. At the very best, they will eventually throw up the undigestable portion of string, at very worst, the thread could create lower intestinal blockages.

How do I prevent injuries to my cat from falling?

Prevent Injuries from falls

If you live in a house, always screen upstairs windows, high porches and balconies to prevent kitty from jumping/falling from them.
A stalking kitty doesn't always look before they leap, so prevent that trip to the vet for a shattered shoulder by screening in high places kitty likes to visit.

How can I stop animal abuse?

Observe while you exercise or commute

For those that run, jog, bike, or walk in their exercise program, or those that take the same route to work everyday, you can be a crucial link in stopping animal abuse or neglect.
On your daily run or commute, check the animals on that route. Do they look sick, listless, or too thin? Does their overall quality of health seem to deteriorate over time? Do they have adequate shelter from the cold and heat? Do they have a constant source of water? All of these can be signs of abuse or neglect, and should be reported to your local authorities.

Why shouldn´t I use rat poison in my home?

Rat Poison

NEVER USE RAT POISON TO RID YOUR HOME OF RODENTS! Even though you may be able to put the poison out of reach of your children and pets, there are other risks. If a mouse eats poison and your cat catches the mouse, your cat can be poisoned simply by eating or killing the mouse.

Also, when mice begin to feel the effects of the poison, they will retreat to their hole and die. Leaving you the unsavory task of finding that hiding place and removing the decaying corpse.

What kind of outdoor shelter should I give my cat?

Outdoor shelters should have dry floors

Elevate your cat's outdoor shelter off the ground to prevent water seepage from getting in. The frozen floor could contribute to frostbite on your cat's toes.

What can I do to help my cat through winter?

Add a litter box to mimic outdoors

During the months you keep Kitty inside more, try adding another litter box to compensate for what he usually does outside. Be sure to add some dirt and leaves to the litter in this box, to give him the satisfaction of going outside to do his business.

How do I keep cats and other animals out of my chimney?

Avoid Trapping a neighbor's cat

Try attaching a wire mesh-like chicken wire-around the top of your chimney. Or find a heavy grate that will sit over the opening of your chimney without blowing off in the wind. This will prevent birds from trying to nest in your chimney, and it will also prevent the neighbor's cat from trying to follow those birds down the chimney.

How do I provide a shady place for my outdoor cat?

Simple Shade

Most cats will find their own shade, but if the trees and bushes are scarce in your area, you should create some sort of shade cover for your cat.
A large board leaning against a tree or the side of your house is a quick and easy means of creating shade for your outdoor cat.

How should I use chemical poisons in my home?

When you must use poisons....

Sometimes, there is no alternative but to use chemical poisons to rid the home of insect pests.

Try to limit the areas you poison to those your kitty doesn't have access to. Areas such as underneath the stove, refrigerator, washer/dryer, freezer or under the base boards of your kitchen cabinets or between the counter and the refrigerator.

I suggest you contact your vet and read out the ingredient list of the insecticides you are using.

Your vet will be able to give you a list of symptoms to look for in case of accidental poisoning from your kitty playing with or ingesting a poisoned insect. Your vet can also suggest the best first aid measures to take until you can get your kitty to the office for more serious measures.

How can I prevent falls?

Kitty high-rise syndrome

Despite the myth that a cat always lands on his feet, a cat falling from a high place often gets hurt. Broken legs to shattered shoulders are just some of the injuries that can happen if a cat jumps from too high a distance. Cats that live in apartments have higher risks of injury from a fall off a balcony, so screen in your balcony to keep Kitty contained.

Do cat´s need shade in the summer?

Shelter in the summertime

For those who must keep their cat outside, you should create some type of outdoor shelter for your pet to protect him from the heat, and summertime storms.
Removing most of the hay from his winter shelter should provide him with protection from storms.

What kind of bedding should I put in my cat´s outdoor shelter?

What Kind of Bedding is best

Cloth and newspaper are not the best answer for bedding in your cat's outdoor winter shelter: they can absorb moisture and freeze.
Hay or straw are recommended for bedding materials for outdoor shelters. If you don't have access to hay or straw, bagged wood shavings for hamster cages is a good substitute.

Will using herbs as natural flea control harm my cat?

Protecting Kitty

When using herbal alternatives, research each herb thoroughly prior to placing it where your cat can get into it (keeping in mind that there is very little a cat cannot get into if they are determined enough). By using an herbal remedy without knowing the pertinent facts, you could inadvertently injure your cat. Speak to your veterinarian about any herbal remedies you would like to try for pest control or as holistic healing techniques for your cat.

How do I get rid of indoor insect pests without poisoning them?

Minty Insect Repellants

Poisoning indoor bugs can poison your cats if they eat the bugs, so I use other means of ridding my home of insect pests.

Since most insects have sensitive 'noses,' they can't tolerate certain strong herbs and spices.

I purchased little clay scent pots that I fill with Essential Oils to emit smells for an extended amount of time. Pennyroyal and most members of the Mint family are some of the best insect repellents.

I keep several bottles of these Essential oils in the house at all times, and continuously keep the Kitchen Garbage Can area filled with mint oil.

How can I let my kitty play with sack/bags and not get hurt?

Grocery Sack/Bag warning

Some cats have a fascination for grocery sacks. They love to crawl into them, push them around with their front feet; I've even had a cat that crawled inside a paper bag and took a nap when he got tired of playing with it.
If you allow your cats to play with plastic grocery bags, be sure to cut the handles so your kitty won't get his head stuck and strangle himself. The same is true of large paper shopping bags from department stores.
Although I've never had any problems with my kitties playing with plastic bags, I still watch them closely to prevent them from getting trapped and suffocating inside the bag.

How do I get rid of indoor insect pests without poisoning them?

Herbal/Spicy Insect Repellants

Trying to protect your kitties from poisons, and get rid of those nasty indoor insect pests, can be achieved with a few different steps.

Most insects have a very sensitive oalfactory sensory organs, so strong herbal smells will cause them to run. Strong herbal smells are like a toxic gas to them, so they avoid it at all costs.

I bought several salt shakers with large 'holes' in the shaker lid. I put various strong smelling herbs and spices in these shakers and scatter them through my kitchen. Oregano, Yarrow, Rue, Garlic and Onion are some of the herbs I use in the salt shakers.

What kinds of identification should I have for my cat?


Make sure that you have some type of indentification such as photos, name tag on a collar, or microchip implant for each of your pets. This will help identify your pet should he/she become lost. Keep copies of this information in a specific place so if the time comes, you have it readilly available.
This information will be invaluable when contacting your area Animal Control, or proving to a concerned animal lover that you are the owner of the pet she found, as well as, thwarting a possible con artist trying to collect on any reward you post.

How can I let my kitty play with string?

Alternative & Safe String

Everyone who has ever had a cat, knows that they love string. However, cats have a tendency to swallow string when it gets caught in the bristles of their tongue.

A safer alternative to conventional string is the plastic 'lariat' type of cording available at hobby stores. It is used in macrame projects.

If you can't find this, you can use any type of cord that is at least as big as a pencil. This will be large enough that your kitty won't get it caught in his tongue bristles and swallow it.

And be sure to keep your needlework in a secure container when you are not working on your project. If the idea of your kitten swallowing thread doesn't make you tremble, think about that needle going down its throat as well!

How do I get rid of indoor insect pests without poisoning them?

Watch the Garbage Can

I don't use pesticides in my home due to my asthma, allergies, and of course my kitties. Eating a poisoned bug or mouse, can poison your kitty.

My approach to Pest Free living is to create a household that does not attract bugs. Eliminating easy access to food is the best way I've kept the bugs out of my house.

In the summer months, I have to carefully watch the kitchen garbage can. I try to put as much food refuse as possible in the compost pile or down the disposal; plus, I get the trash out of the house as soon as possible when there is some type of food in the kitchen garbage can.

How can I stop animal abuse?

How should you report abuse/neglect

NEVER APPROACH THE OWNER OF AN ANIMAL YOU SUSPECT IS BEING ABUSED OR NEGLECTED! This will only invite trouble for yourself, because not all pet owners are as well informed as they should be. What you see as abuse, they may see as a form of discipline or the natural way to treat a subhuman species.
To protect yourself, and the animal, report your suspicions to your local Humane Society or your local law enforcement. They have the training and authority to approach individuals who appear to be breaking the law. They can provide education on the proper care of animals for some cases, and can legally rescue the animal when necessary.

Can my cat eat candy?

Candy can be poisonous!

Do not give candy to your kitty. It can be a fatal mistake! Chocolate, in particular, has several chemicals that are toxic to cats. Just a few ounces will kill a cat.

If you want to treat your cat, feed him treats that are designed for cats and kittens.

Is medication intended for human use safe for cats?

Cats and Human Medications

Most pet owners know to keep their detergents and household cleaners safely stored out of their pet's reach, but some are not aware of the serious risk human medications pose to their cats. Both over the counter and prescription medications are often to blame in the case of feline intoxications and fatalities. Though these are not the only toxic medications, this is a list of some of the most commonly ingested by cats.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs, the most common cause of pet poisoning, are over the counter pain and fever reducers like naproxen and ibprophen found in brands like Aleve and Advil. In even the smallest doses, these medications can cause irreversible damage to your pet.

Acetaminophen: Most commonly found in Tyelnol, acetaminophen causes severe anemia in cats, damaging red blood cells and inhibiting their blood's ability to transport oxygen through their bodies.

Pseudoephedrine: A common ingredient in over the counter decongestants, pseudoephedrine causes elevated heart rates in cats, which results in raised blood pressure and body temperature and can sometimes cause seizures.

Vitamin D Derivatives: Vitamin D analogue supplements (such as Vitamin D3), when ingested by cats, cause spikes in blood calcium levels and subsequent kidney failure. Symptoms (loss of appetite, vomiting, and increased urination and thirst) usually do not appear until 24 hours or more after initial exposure.

Antidepressants: Antidepressant medications cause fatigue and vomiting in cats. Ingestion of some specific antidepressants will lead to serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of this condition include raised body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, as well as stress, disorientation, vocalization, and seizures or tremors.

Methylphenidate: Found in medications like Ritalin prescribed to humans for ADHD, methylphenidate acts as a stimulant and causes life-threatening spikes in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. It can also cause seizures.

Anti-Diabetics: When ingested by cats, orally taken diabetes treatments will dangerously drop pets' blood sugar levels. Symptoms of low blood sugar in pets include disorientation and seizures.

Baclofen: Present in drugs used to treat muscle spasms, baclofen can impair a cat's nervous system. Symptoms include disorientation, vocalization, depression, seizures, and coma.

This is only a short list of medications which are toxic to cats. If you suspect your cat has ingested or been exposed to any medications, call your vet at the first sign. Often with cases of animal intoxication, the quicker you make a phone call and get your pet to treatment, the better chance your pet has of surviving. Always be sure to keep medications stored away tightly where your cat's curious paws cannot reach.

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Guru Spotlight
Candi Wingate