Home hazards: physical

Electrical cords

Try to keep exposed electrical cords covered or secured, and as short as possible.  A long, floppy electrical cord can be a very enticing play-thing for a cat.

Toilet seats

Many cats are fascinated with water, and it is not uncommon to see a cat happily using one paw to flick water back and forth in their bowl or even from perched on the side of a bathtub.  Likewise, they will also often look for readily available open sources of water when thirsty.

In these cases a raised toilet seat can present quite a risk, as it is reasonably easy for a cat to fall in from being perched on the edge.  Once in, the steep and frictionless sides of the toilet can make it almost impossible for them to climb back out without assistance.

Hot things

Stove elements, candles, Christmas fairy lights, fan or column heaters, oven warming drawers, bedside lamps with high wattage lightbulbs – all come with the risk of piercing yowls, singed paws, and the smell of burnt hair.

String, streamers, ribbons, or wool

Items like string and streamers are not only enticing for your cat to play with, but can also be easily swallowed.  Once swallowed, they can lead to intestinal blockages or other internal injuries. 

Especially around Christmas, try to avoid leaving ribbons and streamers lying around. Be careful with dangling cords such as drawcords on blinds or curtain stays which can also be a strangulation risk. 

Plastic bags, glossy printed papers, and sellotape

The same concerns that exist around string and ribbons also apply to plastic bags, glossy and printed papers, and interestingly sticky and chewable items like sellotape. 

Cats will often enthusiastically tear pieces of paper or thin plastic such as supermarket bags to shreds, using both their claws and their teeth.  Whilst they are no doubt having enormous fun being ‘cat the hunter’, they can also easily swallow pieces if not carefully supervised.

As with the ribbons and streamers above, when Christmas rolls around try to avoid leaving small pieces of wrapping paper or torn-off pieces of sellotape lying on the floor, impersonating a tasty treat for your moggie.