Cat Care & Advice

Dangers in the House

Here we list some of the many dangers that your cat may face inside the home.

Never leave a running or full bath unattended. Cats have been drowned or scalded in hot water.

Toilet lids ought to be kept down. Cats who drink from toilet bowls regularly – as noticed by their paw marks – are in danger of drowning. I have read of a cat who slipped in and was unable to turn around or climb backwards. A plumber had to dismantle the toilet to remove the body.

We all know of fatal accidents in washing machines and tumble dryers. Unfortunately cats are attracted by open holes, warmth and laundry baskets. The doors and lids should be kept shut when not in use and the animal kept well out of the way when the machines are filled.  Only recently we were asked for help finding a lost cat.  It emerged the cat had been shut inside the owner’s tumble dryer for almost two days.  Fortunately the cat was OK.  Also, if you believe your cat is missing do please check the house thoroughly, including all rooms, cellars, attics and cupboards.

Hot cooking rings can burn paws. Tempted by the cooking smells even an ‘obedient’ cat might forget its good manners and jump on the kitchen surface and walk across the stove. Do not leave unattended.

Toys on string can cause accidents; ‘cat-dancers’ and even the very short string which attaches balls to scratching posts can act like a noose around the paw cutting off the circulation.




Needles and thread and tinsel are obviously also dangerous. Burning candles and open flames must not be left unattended.

Medicines and toxic chemicals such as disinfectant, bleach and antifreeze must be kept locked way.

House plants may  provoke cats and especially kittens to play and nibble. The poisonous ones have to be removed well out of the reach of pets. The most common ones are True Ivies, Philodendron, False Jerusalem Cherry (with typical small bright arrange and yellow fruit), Dieffenbachia (commonly with heart shaped while speckled leaves), Elephant Ears, Poinsettia. Oleander, Parlour Palms and Chinese Money Plants.


We also received this letter illustrating another potential danger…..

Deadly Panic – A Letter with a Warning….

The other day – and I think this is a warning to owners of playful cats – I was undoing my shopping from plastic bags and Susie, being so inquisitive, started to play with one and she rushed out of the kitchen with her head caught in the handle. She flew up the stairs, crashed into the wall at the top, dislodging a picture, and ran into my bedroom. I found, sometime afterwards, that she had crashed into the sun blinds. She finally ended up in the airing cupboard still with the bag round her neck. She was so frightened. I managed to get the bag off, but it was not easy to get her out of the cupboard so I left her. Eventually, in her own time, she came out. Poor dear, she was so frightened. I’m glad to say she seems none the worse for her ordeal, but it has taught me not to let her play with a plastic bag again. A lesson to us all.

Mollie R, London


A reply from CAT77 – We are grateful for the above letter because it demonstrates that being caught in a plastic carrier bag can have a terrifying effect on a cat – quite in contrast to the comic effect it could  look like to us.   Being caught by an object that it cannot escape from and petrified by the rustling noise of the plastic, cats get into a state of utter panic. If there is no human being present to free it, as luckily, there was in Susie’s case, the cat could strangle itself in its frenzy, should the bag be caught on something.

This must have happened to a feral kitten which we found not long ago, strangled by a plastic handle, tightly twisted around its neck that had become caught on a piece of barbed wire on the ground. In its extreme panic the kitten must have rolled around on the ground to free itself, tightening the noose. Since this tragic find I make sure that no handles are ever exposed and all bags, whether full or empty are stored safely unless the handles are cut through.


We hope that this list of warnings is welcome and will help prolong your cat’s life. Every cat is a unique and irreplaceable little personality which we sometimes take for granted and only fully appreciate when it’s too late. Although cats often get themselves into trouble through no fault of the owner, we must still do our best to protect them and caution is better than complacency. I have so often heard upset people say that they did not realise the danger their cat was in…

We have tried to cover all the dangers which we have come across. However, please let us know of any others you have discovered.

Elke de Vries

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