5 Ways to Kitty-Proof Your House

This is Animal Poison Prevention Week, so it’s a great time to review some of the common household items that are dangerous to our beloved cats, yet may spark their ever-present curiosity.

When kitty-proofing your home, here are five areas on which to concentrate:

  1. Poisonous indoor plants

Many of us like to bring the outdoors inside, especially around the holidays. The trouble is that we don’t always know which plants and flowers are considered toxic to our cats. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Aloe
  • Azalea
  • Lily
  • Poinsettia
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Mistletoe
  • Tulips

For a complete list, click here

Photo Credit: Rochelle Hartman, Flickr

  1. Human foods

Occasionally some humans give their cats a little bite of whatever they’re eating, especially if kitty seems especially interested. Here are some examples of what to avoid, and what to keep away from inquisitive paws:

  • Alcohol
  • Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Chives
  • Xylitol (found in some sugarless gums and candies)


  1. Human medications

It’s important to lock down over-the-counter and prescription medications so our kitties don’t get their mouths on something that could be life-threatening. Cats love bags, and sometimes pill bottles can accidentally open in our purses, so make sure the lids are closed tightly. As an extra safety measure, don’t store your pills in resealable plastic bags, which are easily penetrable by sharp kitty teeth. Medications that are toxic to cats include, but are not limited to:

  • Antidepressants
  • Cold medicines
  • NSAIDS (Aleve, Motrin, Advil)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • ADD/ADHD medications
  • Sleep aids
  • Birth control

Photo credit: Onesharp, Flickr

  1. Household cleaners and chemicals

Store your household cleaners behind closed doors, in containers with tight-fitting lids. Remember that even though a cabinet is closed, some cats might show off their Houdini skills and find a way around the situation. If your cat is a master of door-opening, think about installing some baby-proofing locks. These cleaners are among those that are especially dangerous to cats:

  • Bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Surface cleaners
  • Antifreeze
  • De-icing salts that aren’t pet-friendly
  • Herbicides
  • Fertilizers

Photo credit: Tommy Oleson, Flickr

  1. Other hazards

In addition to the toxic items listed above, diligently keep these hazards away from your cat’s reach, as they can cause choking, strangulation, or intestinal blockage:

  • Dental floss
  • Holiday tinsel
  • Yarn and string
  • Chicken bones

If you believe your cat has swallowed something dangerous, act quickly. Call ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435) and keep your vet’s number close by. Some signs to look for are:

  • Breathing problems
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Seizures
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Shivering


Knowledge is power!

Photo credit: Christian Holmer on Flickr


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All photos licensed under Creative Commons 2.0