How To Keep Your Cat Safe

Keep your cat safe

We love our cats and we want to keep them safe and happy.

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Sometimes, times that are joyful for us can be stressful for our cats. They don’t understand what is going on, and they will generally want to retreat to what they consider a safe place.

They are observant creatures who are equipped to react to dangerous situations. Sometimes their reactions will put them in more danger.

Here are some tips for keeping your cat safe:

Independence Day

The 4th is the most likely night of the year that your pet may disappear due to stress. Fireworks, strange people in the house, loud celebrations; these sounds and smells will make your cat want to hide out until everything is back to normal.

  • Set up a safe room for your cat; he will need somewhere safe to hide. Alternatively, consider boarding your cat over the holiday period.
  • Even if your cat is used to being able to go outside, keep him inside starting a few days before the holiday.
  • Take extra care to prevent your cat slipping out. If your festivities are outside, it would be best to set up a safe room to keep your furry friend protected.
  • If you’re going out and you’re pretty sure that the fireworks noises will be heard at your house, don’t leave your pets alone at home. If none of your family wants to stay at home, you could hire a sitter.
  • Play some music to mask the sound of the fireworks and other activities.
  • Keep everything associated with fireworks, including glowsticks, away from your cat.

Happy Halloween Cat

Halloween is a fun time for 2-legged people, but it can be hazardous for 4- legged people. You might have been waiting all year to dress up as a witch or a vampire, but this time of year is not so good for your pets. Not everyone is kind to animals.

  • Keep your cat inside during October, especially your black cat. It's so sad that a lot of animal shelters need to postpone adoption of black cats in October. I find it hard to understand people who adopt a living breathing animal just to decorate their house (or worse) and then return the cat to the shelter in November.
  • It’s best to keep your cat in a safe room on Halloween until the fuss is over, well away from the goblins at the front door. Halloween is the second most likely night (after July 4) that your pet might disappear due to stress. Some cats don’t react at all when the doorbell rings, but when it rings all evening and there are voices shouting “trick or treat”, this can make them very nervous. Check on your friend at intervals.
  • Candy, especially chocolate, is very dangerous for animals. Even sugar free candy contains harmful chemicals. Keep candy well out of reach.
  • Discarded wrappers can be extremely dangerous if swallowed.
  • Your pets should be kept away from decorations. Animals can become entangled in decorations, or swallow smaller pieces. Candles and Jack-O- Lanterns can start a fire if your friend investigates them.

Are Cat Costumes a Good Idea?

  • If you choose to dress your cat up in a costume, don’t leave them by themselves until they decide if they approve or not.
  • If your cat is distressed, take the costume off immediately. Obviously, your cat is not a future contender for best costume on the block.
  • Some animals don’t mind wearing a costume, but it should not be tight or uncomfortable and should not have any small bits on it that can be swallowed. It should still allow your pet to walk around normally.
  • Even if they don’t mind it, only leave it on long enough to get a photo. They will be eagerly waiting to do their hair again after the costume is removed.

Keeping Your Cat Safe At Christmas

Christmas is a festive time for us, but it can be hazardous our furry friends. We’ve been waiting all year for this happy time, but we need to take a moment to think about our pets.

Even cats that love to meet new people can feel stress with lots of visitors, especially if this includes young children.

  • Make sure your cat has somewhere safe to retreat to. Set up a safe room with their food, water, litter tray, toys, bedding and somewhere to hide.
  • Check on your friend at intervals.
  • Stay observant. This time of year is very confusing for cats. The house changes, strange people turn up. Pay attention to your pet as you always do, and reassure them.
  • Try to ensure you keep your cat’s routine as close to normal as possible.

Cat vs Tree

  • Real trees are more dangerous for cats because the needles can cause harm to a curious cat, and are toxic if chewed.
  • Ensure that the water level is kept up so that needles don’t fall.
  • The water container needs to be inaccessible to your pet as this water is potentially toxic.
  • Pick a spot for your tree with space around it and away from bookshelves and other potential launching pads.
  • Decorate your tree when your cat is not around; they would consider “assisting” you to be a great game.
  • Attach decorations to the branches of the tree so they can’t be flicked off.
  • Put delicate decorations at the top of the tree.
  • Keep tinsel and angel hair away from the bottom of the tree.
  • As you would in a work situation, you need to take care with electrical cords. Taping them up and out of the way will protect your furry friend.
  • Ensure your tree has a strong and stable base so it won’t topple over.
  • Turn off the Christmas lights if there is not a responsible adult around.
  • Put deterrents around the bottom of the tree. Wrap foil around the base of the tree to discourage kittens from climbing. Cats don’t like citronella or the smell of chest medication such as Vicks Vaporub. You could spray or coat disposable decorations for the bottom tree in these smelly products, as long as your family can stand it. Your pet’s nose is much more sensitive than ours, so you don’t need to camphor the place out.
  • Have a spray bottle of water handy to teach your kitten to stay away from the tree.

Keep Kitty Calm During Remodeling

If we think something is noisy, imagine how loud it is to a creature with such sensitive ears. If our noses are offended by a strange chemical, imagine how that affects your cat.

We know that all of this upheaval will lead to an improved house, but your cat doesn’t. At best, your cat will know there is something going on and be on guard. Or the worst result is that they feel distressed. Make sure your cat feels loved.

During The Remodeling

  • If you’re going away during the remodeling, don’t leave your cat in the construction zone. Book your cat into a boarding facility or take him to stay with a familiar friend.
  • If you are doing the work yourself, it is not possible to do the best job with the remodeling and also to keep an eye on your cat. If there is a person around who is not part of the construction team, they can have the responsibility of looking after your cat. However, cats are very smart and slippery, and even if they are being watched, they can make a nuisance of themselves. A safe room would be the best idea.

Preparations To Keep Your Cat Safe

  • Tell your contractor or contracting company about your cat. Discuss your plans for keeping him safe.
  • Plan to keep to your normal routine as much as possible.
  • Stock up on treats or your cat’s favorite food.
  • An anti-anxiety medication, such as Feliway, can reduce your cat’s stress.
  • Make sure your cat is microchipped, and that your contact details are current.
  • Check that you have an up-to-date picture of your cat.
  • Ensure the phone number on your cat’s collar is current.
  • Keep emergency phone numbers in a prominent place so you, your family and the contractors can see them.
  • Your Vet’s phone number
  • The phone number of a nearby emergency Vet in case your Vet is closed or is a distance away.
  • Poisons advice phone number.
  • The phone number of your power company, with your customer or account number for quicker service.

The Safe Room

Why a Safe Room?

  • Think of your cat like a three-year old child. Cats not only love to snoop into new things in their territory, they feel that it is their duty.
  • Cats want to supervise. If they have the run of the house, chances are they will be watching the tradesmen. They may even attempt to help them.
  • Cats love to chase moving objects. A construction area is full of dangling and dancing cords.
  • Tradesmen are there to do the remodeling work, not to look after your cat. You can ask them to close doors behind them, but renovations involve a lot of walking back and forward from their truck, so this may not be practical. You don’t want Kitty making an escape from the strange people and smells only to wind up lost.

Safe Room Tips

  • Plan for the safe room to be as far away from work as possible.
  • Is your cat good at opening doors? Make sure the room is secure.
  • Keep the windows closed. Plan for ventilation with air conditioning or electric fans placed high.
  • Gradually accustom your cat to the safe room. Sit in the room with your cat, play with him.
  • If the remodel is going to take more than a day, start feeding your cat in the safe room a couple of days before.
  • Play a radio or TV to mask some of the construction noise.
  • Make sure there is a safe place to hide.
  • Put a sign on the door to ensure nobody accidentally lets your cat out.
  • If the remodel is going to take some time, a cat tree with a window view will keep your cat entertained.

Every Evening

  • Pick up loose screws and nails.
  • Put the chemicals away in a lockable cupboard.
  • Put small tools and other items in closable containers.
  • Look around for anything your cat might chew on, and put it out of reach.
  • If you have tradesmen doing the work, ask them to put their equipment and chemicals away.
  • If the remodeling is in a separate room, securely close the door.

This is Mum's cat Sukey showing off her agility.

After Remodel is Complete

  • Allow your cat to explore as quickly or as slowly as they want.
  • Keep the safe room set up in case they want to retreat.
  • Keep your same routines. If a new routine is required due to the changes in the house, start the new routine as soon as possible.
  • Don’t let your cat into the renovated area until the paint is dry and all building equipment is removed.
  • Don’t get rid of your cat’s old bed or toys to make your house beautiful. If this is the plan, do it gradually. Wait until they are comfortable with the new items before getting rid of the bed or toys that they are used to.
  • Of course, you know that any new piece of furniture will need to be inspected by your cat. A supervised introduction is a good idea.
  • Keep in mind that even if you have the same furniture, but it has been rearranged, it will take your cat some time to get used to it. They are creatures of habit.

My Remodeling Story

As I write this, there is a man drilling holes in my roof. Bubby and Tux both slunk out the cat door and are now biding their time in the garden. My cats are inside/outside cats, and I am lucky to have a garden with lots of hiding places.

If I were living in some of my prior homes, like on a main highway in Sydney, I would have set up a safe room for them. It would have enough furniture to give them places to hide, and would be self-contained with food and a litter box. Some music to mask the sounds of construction would be beneficial. I like to put on something familiar to them. In my case, that’s music by The Eagles.

When I was at Wentworth Falls with Pruney, I took up two layers of carpet and one layer of very well glued linoleum in order to have the timber floors sanded and polished. It was me who did this work, so strange faces were not the problem. It was the furniture moving, and piles of boxes and possessions in strange places.

After taking up the floor coverings, there was glue on the floor which would later be sanded. Pruney was having trouble standing up and I was very worried that something was wrong with him. Then I realized he was sticking to the floor. He was also walking much more slowly because he had to lift each paw out of the old glue. Some strategically place newspaper fixed the problem.

The sanding was going to be done in two halves. All the furniture needed to be moved to one side of the house. Then after the first side was done, the furniture would be moved carefully to that side of the house.

It became Pruney’s daily challenge to locate my (his) bed. Well, the mattress anyway. The rest of the bed was in pieces in the bathroom. I can still remember how satisfied he looked when he settled himself down after finding the mattress.

I made sure to pay special attention to Pruney, observe him and reassure him. And he took special care of me. When I took a break from using the heat gun and scraping up linoleum, he would come and lean on me and purr.

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