by Nomi Berger
The best way for your kitty to live all nine of her lives, happily and healthily, is through the prevention of needless accidents.
Being hit by a car: Even if yours is an independent outdoor cat, there are steps you can take to ensure she stays safe. If financially feasible, and you live in a home, have your yard fitted with an invisible fence, slip on her custom computer collar receiver, and have the fence’s parameters stop well before the street. If such a fence is not an option or if you rent your home, create an enclosed, outdoor space for your cat to play in. Failing that, consider placing a reflective “Cat Crossing” sign at the end of your street to alert motorists that they should drive with caution in your area. But most importantly, whether you live in a home or an apartment, have your outdoor cat micro-chipped so that you can be contacted promptly in case of an accident.
Poisoning: There are countless items — from cleaning and beauty products to insecticides, pesticides and anti-freeze, from non-flowering plants to flowering plants and flowers, from chocolates and alcohol, fruits and vegetables to artificial sweeteners and over-the-counter medications — that can either sicken or kill your cat. Educate yourself fully about all things toxic and eliminate them from your home or store them securely in places out of your cat’s curious reach.
String, string everywhere: While photos of kittens playing with fuzzy balls of yarn are both adorable and alluring, in reality, thin, pliable items like yarn, string and thread are too easily ingested, often requiring surgery to untangle and remove them. Opt instead for toys designed specifically – and safely — for cats.
Turning on the dryer with kitty inside: Cats love warm, cozy places, and enclosed ones like dryers, which are especially tempting, can easily kill them. This type of tragedy typically occurs when warm, dry clothes are already in the dryer, damp ones are added, and the machine is turned on again. To keep this from happening to your cat, limit her access to your laundry facilities and check both the washer and dryer before turning either one on.
Pet on pet aggression: If you have two (or more) cats and they begin fighting, their long, sharp and pointy teeth can cause serious harm in the form of puncture wounds. And these deep wounds can easily lead to abscesses and infection. For multiple cat households, always use initial training methods to lessen the chances of their fighting. If, however, they appear “heated” for some reason, quickly separate them, and keep them separated until they’ve settled down.
Pest-borne illnesses: While simply aggravating more often than not, they can sometimes prove fatal. If your cat’s bitten by an infected tick, she could be exposed to such deadly illnesses as Cytauxzoonosis (caused by a lethal parasite) and Tularemia (a fever that can lead to severe infection and sometimes death), as well as to other serious pathogens. While rare and requiring the right circumstances, even indoor cats can bring nuisances like ticks, mites or fleas into your home. A monthly preventative medication is a simple but highly effective manner of keeping pest-borne illnesses at bay.