How To Keep Your Indoor Cat Safe – Good and Bad Plants and Toys

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There are so many house plants that DON’T pose a problem for your cat, that it is actually easier to list those that are to be avoided!

But first, here are the favourites of cats that won’t hurt them…

coleuses…

geraniums…

ferns…

orchids…

…and the like, which are all cat-friendly.

To really please your kitty you can offer some barley or rye grass grown in a pot for their nibbling pleasure.

Sometimes they like herbs, such as parsley, or Valerian. And let’s not forget catnip!

Bad Plants For Cats

However, the baddies to be aware of include amaryllis…

cannabis…

castor bean plants…

chrysanthemum…

cyclamen…

English ivy…

lantana…

most kinds of lilies…

peace lilies…

poinsettia…

pothos…

rhododendron…

schefflera…

and tulip.

Some of these you would not have IN the house, but just in case, I include them. If in question, do some research, and don’t leave it up to chance!

People think I’m overboard when they hear I kitten-proofed the house before the newcomer arrived. And I would say it’s good to do this for cats of any age. Just like a baby who is starting to explore, there is no end of damage they can do, and accidents they can cause, and injury they can suffer, if this step is undone!

If you care less about your cat than your money, think of it this way, you don’t want to pay the vet more than you have to. By the same token, you don’t want kitty to break or destroy your objects or furniture, things you’ve paid hard-earned cash for. Even if you have not paid much for your things, at least they have value for you, and you don’t want to replace them!

Besides, kitty needs your love, not your resentment for having broken the precious, one-of-kind handmade pottery urn. Or your favourite bowl. Or the irreplaceable teapot that has gotten you through thick and thin (don’t ask me how I know).

So first of all, environmental protection. Your environment.

Safe Space

As you would for a toddler, store and lock away anything poisonous. Anything that can be knocked down. Anything that can be eaten. Kittens and cats can climb and get to places a toddler can’t reach, so look around your place and size up the situation on many levels. Since cats are small, they can also squeeze into holes and gaps and get stuck, or even get into the walls or under ceiling tiles! They can climb into ovens, fridges, freezers, washers, anywhere! So don’t turn your back on a curious kitty.

Scratching

You need to keep her from scratching everything. Everything. She will scratch anything with a tactile, scratch-able surface. Including wooden tables, antique armchairs, leather couches, the beautiful Tiffany blue leather cover of your agenda. Anything (don’t ask me how I know).

Solution? Provide a designated scratching post. You can make one, you can buy one. But GET ONE! It can be made of cardboard, sisal, carpet, wood…as long as it has texture and it is not toxic, because she will tear small pieces off and probably eat some of it by mistake. Personally I like the sisal scratching posts, they come in various sizes and styles, and have a simple rather nautical feel. 

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Bathroom Needs

A designated litter box place, somewhere discreet but also accessible. Lots of models are available, some people use a simple dishpan style and place it within a second, larger receptacle to prevent spilled litter. Some people caution against clumping litter, as cats will inevitably ingest some, and you can imagine what that could do their insides.

Cat Toys

A bored cat is a dangerous animal! She will seek adventure, because she is a primal creature, one who is designed to hunt and use her strength and skill to bring down the wily mouse, the darting bird, the…fluttering leaf.

Well, it doesn’t matter much to her what she hunts, as long as there is something to hunt. A good selection of toys is a necessity! And it doesn’t hurt to have a playmate as well.

Read our article, “The Best Indoor Cat Toys To Keep Fluffy From Clawing Your New Leather Couch”

If you don’t have time to play with kitty, consider having more than one cat. 

Of course, all cats are different and some don’t like to share with other cats. You will have to figure that one out!

For their safety, there are some things to avoid when it comes to cat toys. Here are the worst culprits in my view:

  • Anything made with foil. This includes woven string foil, Xmas tree “icicles” and trimmings, and balls made with pieces of foil. Cats love the rustle, it sounds like a mouse in dry leaves. But it is very dangerous should they eat bits of it, and could be fatal or leave you with a hefty vet bill. Amazingly, many cat toys make use of it. Avoid foil at all costs! If you have them, toss ’em.

  • Anything with string. String is deadly if swallowed. This includes yarn, thread, fine rope, embroidery silk, twine. It will knot inside the intestines and kill, slowly or quickly. Cats cannot spit things out, they just keep swallowing if something like that gets in their mouths. A vet friend had a cat brought in, it was looking off, and acting weird. He found a thread snagged around one of the tooth, and slowly pulled it out. At the end of the thread was a needle. Whoops! Thankfully kitty was fine, but it was a close call. Don’t let it be you. Don’t leave sewing needles and craft supplies out in the open, or loose in any cupboard or drawer a cat could open. It’s not worth it! Use a child-proof box to store these items.

  • Anything too small. The hazard of swallowing a marble or other very small toy is quite possible, especially with kittens who, like babies, are apt to try just about anything once.
  • Toxic materials. Squeeze toys made of plastics which are unsafe.

We hope this article gives you some ideas on how to keep your indoor cat safe and occupied, living the good kitty life and not the bad one!

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