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Just because a cat lives indoors doesn’t mean he’s always safe. I’ve written about teaching kids (and their visitors) the proper way to handle a cat, as well as how to read a cat’s body language. Anyone who spends time with kitty — adults or children — and is armed with that knowledge, definitely contributes to the safety of an indoor or outdoor cat. However, there are a few other precautions we can impart to our children to make especially sure our feline family members stay safe, healthy, and happy.
Here are five ways we can help keep indoor cats safe.
When my kids were young, they were often running between inside and outside — especially in the summer. Because they’re mainly concerned with their own play (and maybe the ringing bell of the ice-cream truck), they’re not always vigilant about making sure the doors to the outside are closed.
An open door and an inside kitty are a bad combination. My Cosmo is curious, and I remember finding him wandering around in the garage because one of my kids didn’t completely close the door. Remind your children (or young visitors) to make sure the doors are completely closed when they enter or leave your house. And on Halloween or during parties, it’s best to keep kitty in another room, behind a closed door.
Floss! I hope we all maintain our dental health and floss at least once a day. I also hope we are all flushing the floss down the toilet immediately after using it. Our Phoebe is obsessed with floss, tape, ribbon … anything she can dig out of a wastebasket and race away with. When we first saw floss was a favorite — and also a dangerous item — we immediately started flushing it. We also do our best to remember to place tape and ribbons in the big kitchen garbage can with a lid on it. These are not always top-of-mind with children, and if a cat swallows floss, tape, ribbon, or anything foreign, he’s facing the possibility of a digestive tract blockage, which is a serious problem. Place a sticky note on the bathroom mirror: FLUSH FLOSS!!
Sometimes the weather is just perfect and we want to open our windows and let the fresh breeze blow through our living space. My cats can’t wait to sit in an open window, smell the air, and watch wildlife! Unfortunately, screens are not always secure enough, causing possible injury to kitties or kids who inadvertently pushed on the screen and took a tumble. Depending on how high the window is, the tumble could wind up being deadly. Always make sure your screens are secure and warn kids against pushing against a screen in an open window.
Even though our cats are family members, there are some human foods they should absolutely not ingest. Here’s a list of some of the foods and their possible reactions, but a few of them are ones kids especially like to eat for snacks. Foods like chocolate, raisins, grapes and dairy products are no good for kitty and could make him very sick. Onions and garlic are also big no-nos for cats. Make sure your kids know to not leave their dishes and snack bowls at kitty level, and to go after those rolling grapes!
My cats love curling up inside an open drawer or climbing into an open closet or cabinet. I laugh when I see one of my cats curled up on top of a stack of towels in the linen closet, but what happens if someone unknowingly closes a drawer full of cat or shuts a closet door containing a kitty? They could be stuck for hours if you’re heading out the door, leaving them no access to a litter box, food and water … plus, as much as cats love snoozing in drawers, they would not be so fond of anxiously finding themselves with no exit. Remind your children to make sure to check open drawers and door to closets and cabinets before closing them.
Have you taught your kids how to keep kitty safe? What did you say? Tell us your story in the comments!
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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in a comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.