Animal Proofing Home Before New Pet Arrival
It is important to ensure your home or pet room is safe for the animals. Here are some things to consider before bringing a pet animal into your home.
• Ensure all medications and cleaners are out of reach of jumping, climbing kitties
• Keep trashcans covered or inside a latched cabinet
• Place dangling wires and mini-blind or drapery cords out of reach or wrap with protective covering, such;
Many house and garden plants are poisonous. The table that follows lists a variety of plants that are toxic and the symptoms that each plant can cause.
Type of Plant Symptoms
- Alocasia Salivation and edema (swelling)
- Amaryllis Nausea and vomiting
- Balsam Pear Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Bird-of-paradise Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Buckthorn Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Cacti Contact irritants / mechanical injury
- Cala lily Salivation and edema (swelling)
- Caladium Salivation and edema (swelling)
- Christmas candle Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Clematis Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Common Boxwood Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Daffodil Nausea and vomiting
- Dieffenbachia Salivation and edema (swelling)
- Elephant’s ear Salivation and edema (swelling)
- English holly Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- English ivy Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Euonymus Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Foxglove Slow and irregular heartbeat with nausea and vomiting
- Foxtail Contact irritants / mechanical injury
- Green Dragon Salivation and edema (swelling)
- Honey locust Contact irritants / mechanical injury
- Honeysuckle Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Hydrangea Vomiting, stupor, difficult breathing, coma
- Iris Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Jack-in-the-pulpit Salivation and edema (swelling)
- Japanese plum Vomiting, stupor, difficult breathing, coma
- Larkspur Slow and irregular heartbeat with nausea and vomiting
- Lily of the valley Slow and irregular heartbeat with nausea and vomiting
- Malaga Salivation and edema (swelling)
- Mock orange Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Oleander Slow and irregular heartbeat with nausea and vomiting
- Philodendron Salivation and edema (swelling)
- Poinsettia Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Pokeweed Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Wisteria Nausea and vomiting
Never play with a cat or kitten with your hands or feet as this teaches them that biting and scratching people is
Sometimes it’s not about the actual toys, but rather the configuration of the play area. A good and inexpensive way to build a play station is by using plastic milk crates. Place them in a pyramid shape, with the top (open part) facing into the room. Secure them together. Then hang toys from them or put blankets and towels inside for sleeping. Cats and kittens alike love this!
Cats have an uncanny knack of making toys from many objects we wouldn’t think of as toys. Not all of these are safe for the kitties; some are just plain dangerous. These are unsafe objects because they can be ingested:
- rubber bands,
- paper clips,
- plastic milk jug rings.
Some store-bought toys must be altered to be cat-proof. These include anything with small parts attached to them, eyes, ribbons, feathers. Oh, they are cute, but no fun to the cat when he/she pulls them off the toy and eats them!
Soft toys – Soft toys must be machine washable and be able to withstand bleach to be appropriate for use with pet kitties. Avoid stuffed toys with fillings of nutshells or polystyrene beads. These can be dangerous if they cat bites them open.
Round plastic shower curtain rings – These are fun as a single ring to bat around, hide, or carry. Also fun when linked together and hung in an enticing spot.
Balls – Provide plastic rolling ones with or without bells inside, ping pong balls, or plastic practice golf balls, especially the ones with holes in them.
Paper bags – Be sure to remove any handles. Never allow a pet animal to play with plastic bags.
Sisal-wrapped toys – These are attractive to those cats who ignore soft toys.
Empty cardboard rolls – You can get these from the toilet paper or paper towels. They are especially enticing if you unwind the cardboard a little!
Wand toys You can make you own with a dowel rod from any home improvement or craft store. Put bird feathers (you’ve collected in the yard) on the end, or a plastic practice golf ball, or just a knot. Track toys Track toys are great! Some come with cardboard scratching in the middle, others are covered.
Food and diet
It is imperative that all animals have fresh food and water daily. Equally important to note is the higher quality of food you choose to feed, the fewer stools you will clean up and the better health the animal will enjoy. Low quality foods include indigestibles and low quality nutrients, which do not absorb into the animal’s body, and therefore are eliminated. High quality does not necessarily mean expensive; you have to read the label to know if you’re buying high quality.
Some keys to getting high quality food are:
• Whole meat or single-source meat meal (chicken meal rather than poultry meal)
• A whole-meat source as one of the first 2 ingredients
• The type of meat is listed and not just stated as “meat”
• Whole, unprocessed grains, vegetables and not fragments and fractions (whole grain barley rather than rice bran, rice gluten, or brewers rice)
• Few sweeteners and not at the top of the list (corn syrup, sucrose)
• No artificial colors
• No propylene glycol – this is added to keep foods chewy
• No artificial preservatives (BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin)
There are a variety of articles about foods, ingredients, and how to read a label. You are urged to consult the resources listed at the end of this manual to learn more.
To prevent diarrhea, if you switch food brands, do so gradually. A mix of 1/3 new with 2/3 previous for 2 days and then opposite for 2 days will help the animal to adjust.
Cats are carnivores and must have meat to survive. If allowed to eat on their own, cats will eat 10-18 meals evenly distributed throughout a 24 hour period. When diet is not artificially altered, cats select food according to its aroma, consistency, texture, and taste. They will also use previous experience to determine foods they like. Cats have a remarkable sensitivity to the taste of water, making it even more important to ensure they have good, palatable water.
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