When you think about it, our homes can present a minefield of possible hazards for cats. Here’s some help navigating the dangers, and making your home safer, happier and healthier for your cat. Checkout our full list below.
Top Toxins in Your Kitchen for Cats
1. Garlic – in all forms
2. Onions & Onion Powder, Chives – in all forms
3. Cheese & Milk – cats are lactose intolerant, they aren’t able to digest dairy products due to their digestive system
4. Alcohol – this may seem obvious, just even a tiny amount is toxic and can cause coma and death
5. Raisins and Grapes – these can cause kidney failure in cats
6. Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, Cola, Caffeine — these can be fatal in cats depending on the amount, and this is true for any caffeinated beverage
7. Chocolate – any kind of chocolate can be lethal due to methylxanthines, but dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate are the most toxic
8. Candy, Gum and Foods Sweetened with Xylitol – Xylitol sweetens “diet” foods and can lead to liver failure and death
9. Fatty Foods & Bones – avoid giving cats meat or chicken scraps from your dinner plate or meat served to humans, the danger is in the bones that they could ingest but also in the cooked and uncooked fat that is harmful
10. Raw Fish & Meat – can lead to food poisoning due to bacteria; and certain fish enzymes destroy thiamine in cats which can cause neurological damage, convulsions and coma
11. Raw Yeast Dough – this is toxic due to yeast fermenting leading to alcohol poisoning and yeast expanding, which if ingested causes severe gastrointestinal pain and problems
12. Moldy & Spoiled Foods
13. Avocados – all parts of the avocado are toxic to cats due to Persin, sometimes it can even be fatal
14. Kitchen Cupboards – be sure to keep your cupboard doors closed as many products can be harmful for your cat; store your food in cabinets above the kitchen counter not in the cabinets above the floor where your cats may be able to open the doors and go inside
Top Toxic Household Products for Cats
These products are especially dangerous for cats, keep them secured in cabinets, cupboards and drawers and don’t leave them out where cats can encounter them.
1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.)
3. Cold & Flu Medications
6. Insecticide products for home use
7. Rat & Mouse Poisons / Bait
9. Disinfectants, Household Cleaners
10. Fabric Softener
13. Lighter fluid
14. Diet Pills
15. Anti-Cancer Drugs
16. Solvents, Paint Thinner
17. Flea & Tick Products (only Advantage or Frontline in proper dosage)
18. Liquid Potpourri
19. Slug & Snail Poison / Bait
20. Oven Cleaner Sprays
22. Tobacco products of any kind
23. Drain Cleaners
24. Fly Bait
25. Lime/Scale Remover
Most Harmful Household Objects for Cats
Keep the following objects off the floors, tables and furniture and instead keep them safe in drawers, cabinets, or put away. These can cause puncture wounds, choking, or colon and internal organ damage to cats.
1. Loose thread, string, yarns, ribbon, dental floss
2. Plastic bags and sacks
3. Grocery or shopping bags with handles – cats can get their head through and choke
4. Cat Toys with string, ribbon, tiny objects that can be swallowed
5. Batteries – especially the small disk batteries
7. Sharp Objects (Knives, scissors, razors, needles, etc.)
8. Dried flower arrangements with small berries
9. Paper Clips
10. Hair clips, pins, small barettes
11. Glass – if glass is broken, make sure to thoroughly clean up the floor or counter
13. Cotton Swabs
15. Holiday decorations, lights, and Christmas tree water
Dangerous Areas for Cats in the House
These are the areas of the house where your cat can be seriously injured. Keep your cat away from these places to safeguard your home for them.
1. Decks / Balconies – consider netting in your deck railings (I did this, it works great) or keep cats off of decks and balconies
2. Washer / Dryers – cats can crawl into your washer or dryer so always check both before running them, and keep doors closed when you’re not using them
3. Fireplace – if you have a fire going supervise your cats, clean up any exposed ashes as cats can eat them, and keep a screen up to protect cats from touching hot doors with their fur, nose, bodies
4. Electrical Cords – cats can be electrocuted if they bite or chew on electrical cords that are plugged in
5. Bath Tubs – cats can drown in an unsupervised bathtub
6. Toilets – keep the lids down, as cats can drink from the toilet which may have bacteria and germs that can make them sick
7. Cabinets, Cupboards and Drawers – cats can get inside, and not back out
8. Open Windows – cats can fall and suffer severe injuries, even from just a story or two above the ground
9. Garage – cats can get trapped in the garage, hide in a car engine, and find toxic products that are stored in the garage
10. Garbage Cans – cats can get stuck in garbage cans or large containers outside looking for food
Dangers Outside the House for Cats
1. Antifreeze & Coolant – contains ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic to cats (and dogs), even in tiny amounts
2. Oil & Gasoline
5. De-Icing Salts – shop for Pet-Friendly de-icing salts
7. Swimming Pools & Hot Tubs
The Worst Offenders Overall – Top 10 Household Cat Poisons
1. Topical Spot-on Insecticides
2. Prescription Human Medications (e.g., Antidepressants, etc.)
3. Household Cleaners & Household Products
4. Lilies & Flowers/Plants
5. Insoluble Oxalate Plants (e.g., Diefenbachia, Philodendron, and other houseplants)
6. Cold & Flu Medication (e.g., Tylenol, etc.) and over-the-counter human medications
7. Human & Veterinary NSAIDs
8. Glow Sticks
9. Mouse & Rat Poisons / Baits
10. Lawn & Garden Products – fertilizers, weed killers
Top Holiday Hazards for Cats
Watch out for tinsel, ribbon and string, when decorating your tree. If ingested, these can cause intestinal blockages and require major surgery to extract, and even cause death. Hang small ornaments toward the middle and top of the tree, they can be swallowed and also cause intestinal blockage and death. Cats can be tempted to drink the water in the tree pan, replace the water regularly, and be sure to cover the tree holder completely so your cat cannot drink it.
Holiday Poisonous Plants
Holly, mistletoe, poinsettia’s, pine needles and lilies are the most toxic plants of all during the holidays. They can cause vomiting, severe diarrhea, difficulty breathing, shock and even death. The Lily family is the most toxic of all plants for cats, and can cause liver and kidney failure and death within 48 hours if any part of the plant is ingested. Every part of the lily plant is considered 100 percent toxic to cats. Avoid buying them, and if you receive one, consider giving it to a friend or neighbor that doesn’t have cats.
Electrical Cords & Christmas Lights
Holiday lights and electrical cords can cause electrical shock and death if chewed on. Tape down all cords along the floor by completely covering them to prevent any temptation to chew on them for your cat.
Avoid leaving packaging ribbon on the ground. Try to keep all ribbon and string off the floor by putting it immediately into a paper sack or bag, and dispose of it in the garbage. If ingested, it can cause intestinal blockage requiring major surgery, and can cause death. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
Keep candles out of reach of cats and stay close to any candles you do burn. The best and safest option is to use battery-operated, flameless candles that are safe for pets. They are inexpensive, look authentic and are worry-free!
Toxic Food & Drink
Keep cats far away from high fat foods, turkey bones, chicken bones, fat trimmings and dark chocolate on your counter or tabletops. Bones can cause choking and death, fat trimmings and meat can cause pancreatitis and liver disease and damage, and chocolate can cause difficulty and rapid breathing, severe diarrhea, and gastro-intestinal distress.
With new houseguests and people coming into your home, coupled with changes in schedules and distractions that take our attention away -– provide your cat with a safe, quiet, secluded refuge far away from all the turmoil, noise and household traffic. Give them in a quiet room closed off from the hubbub or an open closet where they can hide and feel safe. Add a cat bed, a feeding area and begin a feeding routine before guests arrive, and put a litter box close by — until the guests are gone and the holidays are over.
Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) for more information. $65 consultation fee.
If you think your cat has been exposed to and ingested a poison, immediately call and take them to your local veterinary clinic or emergency animal hospital.
For more help, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.