How to Keep Your Cat Safe
The world we live in today has become less safe for animals than it has ever been in the past. People will purposefully hurt your pets if they can get their hands on them simply because they can; they get entertainment out of hurting someone that is a member of your family.
This can be prevented though if you are careful. If you look after your pets, whether they are dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, birds, or whatever else you may have, you will enjoy a long and happy life with your favorite furry/feathered friend!
Keep Your Cat Inside
This is incredibly important. Most cats hate being stuck up in the house with you when there are birds chirping right outside their window. Their instincts push them to go outside and hunt, even though they get all the food they need from you. They may try to bring their kill in as a gift of appreciation to you. They might want to save it for later.
The important thing is you have to stop them.
Outdoor cats are often meaner than indoor cats. They can be bitten by a cat and killed, or bring the germs back and infect your family. Indoor cats may not stand a chance against a stray cat living in the neighborhood protecting his territory or her kittens.
Also, people who find stray cats are cruel. Any animal that is outside runs the risk of being injured or killed by a kid or adult who find killing an animal fun. Cats who are well socialized and nice to people are at even more a risk because a mean person will call them over, give them love, and then abuse them.
Just for giggles too.
The best thing you can do is keep your cat inside your home. Don't leave your windows open for them to climb through either. Keep your eye on them always.
Don't Keep Too Many Cats Together
As much as cats love playing together when they are young, once they hit adulthood things go down south. The best number to go with is two. Once you have more than that, they become hard to control and will fight each other quite often. Breaking up a cat fight is pretty much impossible.
If you have more than one cat:
- The cat who was there first can become stressed out by the other cat(s) in their home, especially if the cat is older than the newcomer.
- They will fight each other, leading to injuries that can be expensive to treat. Sometimes they can even be fatal.
- When there are too many cats, they might feel the need to protect their food, keeping the other cats from being able to eat.
- The house will smell like used liter constantly. No matter how much you change the box, it WILL smell.
- If the cats aren't fixed, there can be a lot of breeding, leading to your home being overrun by unwanted kittens. This leads to them filling up shelters and possibly ending up in abusive homes.
Think carefully before adopting another cat. Think of the temperament of your current furry friend to see if he is compatible with other pets.
Cat-Proof Your Home
This one may seem extreme- I mean, it is just a cat- but they deserve the same considerations you might give a puppy or a baby. The saying "curiosity killed the cat" didn't just come out of nowhere. Cats are naturally cautious but curious creatures, which means your furry friend will be getting into everything and anything he can get his paws on.
Avoid a trip to the vet or unnecessary worry by checking each room of your house for hazards to your cat. From cords he might chew to plants he can't eat, you have to make sure you remove and store anything they might get into. We don't want him to get hurt, or damage your house, by getting into things he shouldn't.
Items to remove from your cat's reach:
- Wires from the television, chargers, computers, etc. Cats love string right? Cords are the dangerous version of those toys cats love...only, your cat doesn't know this! Find covers for your loose wires/cords so your kitty won't chew them up!
- Certain household plants are extremely dangerous for cats to chew on! Plants such as lillies, Heartleaf philodendrons, and Jade Plants are poisonous for cats (and dogs!) to ingest. The reactions range from a mild illness to death depending on the plant. Do your research before purchasing any household plant, and keep them out of reach of your pets!
- Don't let them eat anything that is poisonous! Most people know that chocolate can be deadly for pets, but there are other human foods that not many people know are dangerous, or even deadly, to cats (and dogs sometimes). Some particularly dangerous foods include: grapes/raisins, coffee/tea/energy drinks, and dairy products.
- Anything you don't want them to tear up or get into! Cat love to pretend our things are their prey and beat it up. They also love hiding in boxes and other private places. If you don't want you cat to beat up your stuffed monkey or hide in your box of important papers, put them up where your cat can't reach them.
- Paper products and trash are things cats LOVE to tear up. As a current kitten owner, I know they love to tear up paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper. Trash is also their playground! Pick it up and put it away to avoid them making a mess of things.
- Finally, plastic bags are extremely dangerous for cats. They love playing in them, but if they get stuck, or is a handle gets wrapped around their neck, they can suffocate. Take the time to pick them up after groceries are put away to avoid them getting hurt.
There are many things you can do to keep your cat safe in your home. Keeping windows closed or screened off keeps your kitty from jumping out of the house after birds or rabbits in the yard. If you lay down any pesticides to kill bugs or mice, don't lay them where a cat might get to them.
Finally, if you have any doubts, look it up or ask a vet. They will tell you what is safe and what isn't safe for your furry friend.
Halloween Tip: KEEP THEM INSIDE
This one is especially true if you own a black cat. For some reason, someone thought it would be a great idea to dub black cats as bad luck or even evil; this is simply not true. As a proud owner of two black cats, I can say they are just as loving and amazing as any other colored cat.
Halloween is a dangerous time for any pet, but black cats get the worst of it. Many will be tortured and killed this coming Halloween season for no reason at all. Keep them safe by not letting them out of the house, even just to see the kids trick-or-treating.
Better to be safe than sorry!
Stay Away From Strays
This one isn't for you cat in particular, but keeping the stray and yourself safe from harm.
As a huge animal lover, it kills me to see stray cats and dogs roaming around without anyone to love them. Whether they were born on the streets, or abandoned by their previous family, it's heartbreaking to see. If I could, I would take them into my home and give them all the love and treats they could ever want.
Sadly, this shouldn't be done unless a) it's safe to do so and b) you are able to take in a stray. Many stray cats are born in the streets of towns across the world, so they are not socialized and extremely dangerous! They can attack any pets you have at home already, as well as you and your family. Cat bites are very dirty and can get severely infected if left unclean.
If you do see a stray, do NOT call to them. Friendly stray cats that come up to you can be later targeted by cruel people who will abuse them for no reason. If you see one, scare them away. Make loud noises or throw something near them (never AT them!) to scare them off. The more scared they are of people, the safer they will be.
If you can take the cat in, and it's friendly, feel free to do so. They will need a visit to the vet to make sure they are safe to be inside your home and around your family.
Another thing: don't leave food/water out. You will attract them to your home, which seems nice to do at first, but this can be dangerous and annoying. Cat fights might break out by your door, your cat might be attacked or stressed out from the amount of trespassers on their turf, and they will never go away.
Be smart when it comes to stray animals on the street. When it comes to cats, they are probably just fine without us.
Do Not Use Craigslist!
This one is incredibly important! If you find you are unable to keep you cat or kitten, posting an ad for them on Craigslist, or any site like this one, is very dangerous. Abusive people go to these sites looking for free animals to take and torture, or feed to their own pet.
In order to keep your pet safe, here are some tips:
- Ask friends, family, church members; anyone you know and trust. Even the friend of your friend, if recommended. As long as you know they are going to a good home.
- If you do decide to post to Facebook or other site, hold interviews to make sure they are fit to own a pet. Have them answer questions about themselves, their home environment.
- Always have a re-homing fee! Abusers won't want to pay too much money for something they will just hurt when there are free ones everywhere. To keep you kitty (or any pet) safe, post a decent fee. If you don't want to make money off of them, still post the amount and just let the person know that once you have met them.
Always trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling about anyone, be polite and move on to someone else. The safety of the animals is more important than a quick sell.
DON'T EVER GIVE THEM AWAY FOR FREE!
Learn to Read Your Cat
Much like dogs and people, cats express their feelings through body language and facial expressions. A cat licking his mouth has just eaten something,for example. It is important to learn what your cat is trying to tell you so that you, as well as your family, don't get hurt.
Common signals and their meanings:
- Switching/wagging tail: this means he's very full of energy and is about to pounce! This can be both playful and angry wagging, so be aware of what's going on around him. If his ears are down and he's wagging his tail, he's angry.
- Arched back/fluffed tail/wide eyes: commonly thought of as aggression, this is actually fear. When a cat is scared from a situation or action, he will fluff up his fur and arch his spine in order to appear bigger.
- Rubbing his face/body on you: this is commonly seen as affection by people. What he is actually doing is marking you as his property; he is leaving his scent on you.
- Tail tip twitching/Ears perked: he is listening and attentive to his surroundings. He is keeping watch.
- Crouched low/tail twitching/eyes wide: he is going to pounce! When we slide string along the floor, they will get into this mode (much like a tiger when hunting) in order to catch his "prey".
- Tail straight up: he is feeling super friendly and wants you to pet him! (or maybe feed him...)
Most people know what noises cats make when they are upset or angry; basically any sort of growling and hissing combination means stay away. Purring means he is very happy. Straight meows means he is trying to get your attention- food, water, or litter changing is probably needed.
As long as you follow these tips, check you cat into the vet every once in a while, and take care of his basic needs, you and your cat will have a happy life together!
Tip: I advise buying your cat a collar with tags in case he escapes from your home. That way he doesn't end up in a shelter or with someone else looking for a cat. You can also chip him if you prefer that.
A happy cat is a happy life after all!