It’s official, spring has sprung! Well, at least technically it has. Michigan (where I am located) often takes a pass on spring and just continues winter until late May or early June 😛 Anyway, with all of the excitement of warmer temperatures and the holidays just around the corner, cat owners still need to keep spring safety in mind.
Spring Safety Tip #1 – Protect Against Potential Poisons
In the event that a pet is poisoned, get the poisonous substance away from the pet and be sure to call your veterinarian right away. The ASPCA also has a poison control number ((888) 426-4435) that can be called for a fee of $65.
Toxic Spring Flowers
With all of the beautiful new flowers finally beginning to bloom, it may be tempting to bring some into your home. Many of us use fresh flowers in our spring decor. Do a little homework and make sure that your flowers won’t make your kitty sick. The ASPCA has a complete list of plants that are toxic to cats (click here to view the list). Here are a few common toxic spring time flowers:
- Easter Lilies
- Baby’s Breath
Harmful Human Foods
Human food is a problem for pets year round, but it is especially problematic around holidays. Keep an eye on you cat while you are preparing and eating your big Easter or Passover meal. The list of foods that are toxic to cats includes (this list is not exhaustive):
- Foods containing the sugar substitute xylitol
- Grapes and Raisins
- Onions, leeks, chives, garlic
- Yeast dough
- Foods that are high in salt
For a lot of people, spring time is when all of the cleaning products come out in force. You may also be planning to do some renovations on your home. Make sure that cleaners, paints, adhesives and other chemicals are kept out of reach of your cats. Cats are not only affected by directly ingesting toxins, but also by licking them off of their fur after they have incidentally brushed up against them. Also, be aware of the fumes created by the chemicals you use; make sure your cats have access to fresh air (sans chemicals).
Spring Safety tip #2 – Environmental Hazards
Easter Odds and Ends
Easter can be great fun for both humans and cats, but there are a few things that might spoil your celebration. The fake grass that goes in Easter baskets can really hurt your kitty. If the cat ingests it, it can become entangled in their digestive tract and cause a lot of damage. Also, as mentioned above, keep the cat away from the candy -especially chocolate and candies containing xylitol. Be careful that your cat doesn’t get a hold of your Easter egg dye either.
The Not-So-Great Outdoors
Spring brings back to life a number of threats for cats. Here are a few:
- Parasites – fleas, ticks, misquitos, mites, etc
- Open windows. This is not such a big deal on the ground floor, but if the window is second story or higher, your cat could get really hurt jumping/falling out of it. To avoid this problem, put screens on your windows.
- Mating season. If your cat is not spayed or neutered, you may get some furry little surprises should you allow your cat outdoors.
- The spread of disease. With more cats being allowed out doors in the nicer weather (and the number of feral cats born in the spring), an outdoor cat has a higher chance of coming in contact with a contagious disease like FIV, Distemper, or FeLV.
- Allergens. Cats can be allergic to dust, pollen, and more just like humans.
- Fertilizers and Pesticides. The same stuff humans use to help make their garden grow can make kitties really sick.