Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 10, 2023 by Crystal Uys
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.