I’m a pretty paranoid cat mom and really try to view everything in my home from a cat’s perspective, especially in terms of whether anything could possibly harm Allegra and Ruby. Even though cats tend to not get into as much trouble as dogs when it comes to household hazards, there are still plenty of items that can harm your cats.

Rubber bands, hair ties and dental floss

These items are particularly dangerous because most cats think that they’re the purrfect toy. If swallowed, they can cause dangerous life-threatening intestinal blockages that may require emergency surgery.

Electrical cords

Cats who like to chew on electrical cords are at risk to be electrocuted if they chew through the outer layer of the cord. Use cord covers to keep cats safe.

Salt lamps

I have never seen Allegra or Ruby lick my salt lamp, but some cats are drawn to these lamps. If your cat excessively licks your salt lamp, get rid of it. Salt poisoning in cats is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.


Allegra loves to lick my hand or arm after I put on body lotion. I use “natural” skin care products, but I still don’t let her do it for very long, because I don’t think that too much of even the most “natural” hand lotion is good for her. If you use products containing harmful chemicals, don’t allow your cats to lick your skin.


Many human medications are toxic to cats. Of special concern are topical ointments and creams. Even if your cat only ingests a small amount, it can be deadly.

Cleaning products

Many commercial cleaning products are not safe to use around cats.  The chemicals in these products can be extremely toxic, and even deadly. Cats are especially susceptible since they groom themselves by licking and as a result ingest anything that comes in contact with their feet or fur. Use natural products instead, or better yet, use vinegar and baking soda – they clean just about any mess in your home safely and effectively.


Cats are very sensitive to scent, so using a lot of scented products around the home is not a good idea in general. Liquid potpourri in particular is very dangerous – the heated oils may cause serious skin irritations and burns. If ingested, they can cause burns to the mouth, esophagus and stomach.

Toxic plants

Many cats like to chew on plants, and if you’re going to have live plants in your home, you must be aware of which plants are poisonous to cats. The effect of poisonous plants can range from mild gastrointestinal upset to severe neurological damage and death. For more on toxic plants, read Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats.

Certain people foods

While most foods that are off limits to cats are foods that cats aren’t naturally drawn to, there are cats with some rather unique food preferences. Toxic foods include raw potatoes, unripe tomatoes, apricots, cherries, apple seeds, avocado, grapes, and certain nuts. While these foods may not be deadly, consumption may cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Onions and garlic damage red blood cells & can cause hemolytic anaemia. Be especially careful when feeding baby food to a cat who’s lost her appetite, because some brands contain onion flakes or powder.

11 Comments on 9 Common Household Hazards for Cats

  1. I’ve read this article before but it’s always good to come back and review. We’re real careful about most of these things already, our only real cord chewer is Shiva our newest kitty, fortunately he pretty much just chews lighter thigns like usb cables and headphone cables and the like, not that we’re happy when he thrashes one but at least it’s very low voltage. We’ve found bitter apple to be pretty effective at discouraging him from doing this, the only drawback to that is you need to remember to keep applying it until he loses interest. I’m not familiar with these cord covers you refer to, how do those work?

  2. Hello; I read an article you wrote regarding nutritional yeast and it’s been a godsend for me with my two finicky boys; however, they are now addicted and was wondering about the safety of feeding it to them everyday and it’s long term use… indeed approximately 1/2 tsp twice a day, sometimes more…. thanks

    • There shouldn’t be any issues with feeding them that amount of nutritional yeast unless one of your cats is in renal failure. Nutritional yeast contains phosphorus. A dose of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon only contains about 14 mg of phosphorus, so unless your cat is in advanced renal failure, or eats a diet already high in phosphorus, I wouldn’t worry about it.

  3. PLASTIC. I have several who will chew on plastic (including treat bags, tape on shipped boxes, hard and soft plastic – ALL of these had to be put out of reach!) My brother’s cat likely died from eating Easter “grass”, which is essentially plastic.

  4. Thanks so much for the info. The salt crystal lamps is a new one for me…..I have 4 of them about the house but have never seen the cats interested in them, thank goodness.
    One of my cats likes to lick some peanut butter occasionally, and the other one gets a dollop of organic yogurt daily….and they both have healthy fur and behavior

  5. Great information! Thanks! I love my kitties and I would go crazy if I knew they were harmed because of my stupidity


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