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5 Household Items That Must be Kept Out of Reach of Cats

As a follow up to my article on household items that are dangerous for dogs, this article will deal with household items that pose a threat to our feline friends.

1.) Yarns or other “linear” objects. Most cats cannot resist delighting in the tangling and untangling of string, yarn, ribbon, Christmas tree tinsel, fishing line, or any other such linear items they can get their paws on. When swallowed, these items pose the most dangerous type of gastrointestinal foreign body known to veterinary medicine: the linear foreign body.

These types of foreign bodies are especially dangerous because, as the smooth muscle of the intestinal tract contracts to move the object along (a function known as peristalsis), rather than move forward, linear objects instead get pulled taught. The intestines end up getting bunched up along the linear object, and once enough force is applied across it, it can lacerate or cut the bowel , leaking intestinal contents into the abdomen and causing devastating, life threatening results.

2.) Lilies. While we simply like to gaze at these pretty flowers, many cats find them quite tasty. If ingested, lilies contain a toxin that causes kidney failure in cats.

3.) Sago Palms. Like Lilies, these plants are often a tempting treat for our feline friends, but the consequences of a feline ingesting enough of this plant is liver failure.

4.) Foam flooring, foam flip-flops, foam ear plugs…basically, foam anything! Some cats love to bite into rubbery foamy textured materials. Unfortunately in the process of knawing on these types of materials, they can ingest some and pose a significant GI obstruction hazard.

I actually have personal experience with this. One of my cats, Forrest, found it particularly attractive to chew on the interlocking foam flooring my wife and I had put down for our children’s play room. We tried hot sauce, bitter apple spray, chew guard, but nothing would deter our kitty from chewing on the flooring . We eventually ended up removing it, but…

Forrest later got a hold of a foamy textured flip flop of mine, a piece of which got stuck in his gut and I had to perform emergency surgery to remove it.

5.) Antifreeze. Like dogs, many cats cannot resist the sweet taste of ethylene glycol, the active ingredient in antifreeze that, despite its delightful taste, will cause kidney failure if enough is ingested by a cat. The most common areas where these will be licked up by felines is areas where they pool when leaked from a car, such as the garage or driveway. So if you see that characteristic bright green liquid pooling from your car, clean it and fix that leak ASAP…a feline’s life may depend on it.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital and CEO/Chief Editor of the veterinary information and blog online community, Web-DVM.

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