Take a look at our free guide for information on keeping your cat safe from everyday household hazards and what to do if your cat has an accident at home.
Cats are curious pets by nature. They like to explore their home environment and can easily get into all sorts of mischief. That’s why it’s important to know what in your home could be a potential danger to your cat.
To keep your cat safe at home, make sure you supervise them around any dangers and hazards. Learn some cat first aid tips and always call your vet if your cat becomes injured or unwell.
Common household hazards for cats
There are a few things around your home that could be dangerous for your cat. This includes:
- wires and cables. To our cats, wires and cables look like fun toys. Sharp teeth and claws could easily make their way through wires and hurt your cat. Use cable tidies and clips to keep cables out of paws’ reach
- string. A cat chasing string might be cute, but if left alone they can sometimes eat string which can cause life threatening problems if it gets stuck in their gut. It’s best to stick to cat-safe toys
- washing machines and tumble dryers. Always try to keep the doors to washing machines and tumble dryers closed, and double check for any feline visitors before you turn them on
- windows. An open window far above ground level can be tempting for your cat to jump out of, but could cause injury if they’re too high. Certain kinds of window, such as tilted windows, can trap cats and they could get stuck and hurt themselves. Make sure windows are locked or not wide enough for your cat to squeeze through
- fires. Cats love to curl up somewhere warm and in front of a fire may seem very inviting. You should always supervise your cat around fires and put a guard around open fires to keep them at a safe distance
- decorations. Ornaments, Christmas baubles and trinkets could be a potential choking hazard for cats who see them as fun new toys. Try to keep them away from your cat and make sure you offer them lots of safe alternatives to play with
- antifreeze and poisons. Make sure antifreeze, any rat or mouse poisons and insect killers are kept in a cupboard away from your cat
- medicines. A lot of our medicines, and medicines we use for other pets in the home, are poisonous to cats. Keep them in a cupboard where your cat can’t get to
- essential oils. Some of the essential oils we use can harm our cats. Try to avoid them if possible. If you do use them, only use them in well ventilated areas and clean up any spills straight away
- perfumes and deodorants. Many perfumes and deodorants have very strong smells which cats don’t like. Avoid using perfumes on wrists or near hands then touching your cat
- batteries. Batteries have a lot of chemicals in and cats could easily swallow smaller ones
- reclining chairs. Always check underneath for your cat before you push it back in
- hot tubs and pools. A lot of the chemicals used in the cleaning and maintenance of hot tubs and pools are toxic to cats. Keep chemicals locked away and make sure your hot tub or pool is covered when you’re not using it
- water butts. Keep any water butts outside covered with a lid as it is easy for cats to fall in and get stuck
Cats and cleaning products
As you can imagine, a lot of household cleaners are harmful to cats. We’ve broken down which household cleaners are likely to be unsafe:
- laundry detergents
- toilet cleaners
- carpet cleaners
- oven cleaners
- drain unblockers
Sometimes we can’t avoid using these products, but there are some extra steps you can take to keep your cat safe:
- if you use strong cleaners down sinks or toilet bowls, close the door to the room to keep your cat away
- if any products you use have a strong smell, ventilate the room well and keep your cat out until the fumes have gone
- try to avoid using strong, heavily scented detergents on your cat’s blankets and bedding
- store all cleaners well away from your cat, regardless of whether they are toxic (it’s better to be safe than sorry)
While using some products is unavoidable, you can make small swaps which are safer for your cat:
- many pet shops sell household cleaners that are safe for pets (and still do the job)
- you don’t always need harsh chemicals – scourers can help you to remove stubborn dirt with a bit of elbow grease
- vinegar and baking soda can be a great homemade cleaner and is really effective
- wash your cat’s bedding on a hot wash rather than relying on chemical cleaners
Cats and human food
A lot of the food we enjoy is actually toxic to cats, such as chocolate, alcohol, grapes and onions. It’s best to keep your dinner far away from your cat to avoid any accidents.
Some people like to give their cat an occasional treat from their plate, but even if you feed them something non-toxic a lot of our food is too high in fat and calories for our cats.
It’s best stick to food made for cats and commercial cat treats if you want to give them something special. They might even prefer a new toy or some extra playtime with you.
Find out more about poisonous food for cats in our poisons guide.
A new bunch of flowers or a pot plant are great to brighten up the home, but not all of them are safe for cats.
Lilies in particular are very toxic to cats. All parts of the plant are poisonous (including vase water) and if they accidentally eat any they could die.
There are a few indoor plants that are cat friendly, though, including certain ferns and palms.
Find out more about which houseplants are harmful for cats and which are safe.