General Cat Safety Tips

Keeping your cat safe is the most important part of keeping both you and your cat happy. When you first adopt a cat or new breed of cat — or even better, before you adopt them — be sure to research the basics of your cat. When you finally select a cat, talk to the shelter staff about things you might need to worry about or watch out for. Of course, you can always schedule an appointment at Sunnyvale Cat Clinic in Sunnyvale, CA with your cat and our veterinarians would be happy to discuss behaviors, concerns, or anything else.

Below we’ve got some general notes on basic safety tips, whether indoors or outdoors. Remember that traveling —that’s more than a quick jog to the park or a ride across town for a play date— may require some extra steps based on the species of your cat. Traveling at any distance can give some cats anxiety, and there are other physical safety factors to consider. Come by and talk to us about what you may need, especially if you’re about to travel abroad!

Indoors

  • Use childproof latches to secure not only belongings you don’t want your cats potentially destroying, but also to secure chemicals and other hazardous materials that can be dangerous for your cat to be exposed to or ingest.
  • Similarly, ensure garbage cans and toilets are firmly closed.
  • Keep electrical cords tucked away or otherwise secured so your cat cannot chew on them.
  • Always check places that aren’t normally observed (e.g., under chairs) for items your cat may interpret as toys, but present choking or ingestion hazards (e.g., kittens swallowing yarn).
  • Keep drawers closed, especially large drawers in dressers that your cat may try to hide inside of. Check the drawer before closing it to ensure you don’t trap your cat inside.
  • Keep washer/dryer doors closed to ensure that no small cats are inside prior to use.
  • Similarly, if your cats have access to the garage, make sure they aren’t hiding in the engine of your vehicle or on top of a tire as this can be deadly.
  • Ensure ventilation openings are covered as small cats could work their way into the ventilation system, and larger cats could get stuck trying.
  • Similarly, ensure there are no openings or spaces in the wall behind various appliances.
  • Research whether or not your houseplants are poisonous to your cat.
  • Ensure that items with buttons or drawstrings, cosmetics, and medications out of reach and inside a secure cabinet.
  • Make sure that your tools (e.g., hammers, screws), craft items (e.g., sewing thread or needle), and cooking utensils (e.g., knives) are put away.
  • Regularly clean your cat’s food and water dishes (or fountains) to prevent illness from mold and scum.
  • Regularly clean your cat’s “bathroom” and restock its materials (e.g., litter) which will help to minimize accidents around the house.
  • Give your cat a safe space that’s just for them where they can retreat to if they’re feeling uncomfortable.
  • Cat-proof your furniture as best as possible and ensure that you have cat-appropriate furniture. Leather couches, for instance, won’t survive for long with a new cat, and the materials under the leather can be harmful if ingested.

Outdoors

  • Ensure your yard’s fence, whether physical or electrical, is in good condition and encloses your yard completely.
  • Always keep your cat in a collar and on a leash / in a body harness when walking with them in an unenclosed area.
  • When traveling in a vehicle, ensure your cat can’t escape out of the window. Only open the windows if they are properly restrained and never let your cat put their paws out the window. If it’s a particularly long drive, be sure to have an appropriate number of stops to allow your cat to use the bathroom.
  • NEVER let your cat ride on the driver.
  • When enjoying non-residential locations (e.g., camping in the forest) keep your cat from interacting too closely with wildlife. It is dangerous for both your cat and wildlife. Contact your veterinarian for advice if you’re an outdoor enthusiast and want to bring your cat into the wild often.
  • When boating, ensure there’s a ramp for your animal to easily board and disembark, a cat-specific life vest, cat-safe sunscreen, a crate for your cat to feel safe in, a means to keep them from falling overboard, and litter box so they can relieve themselves.
  • Be familiar with cat first aid and always have any applicable medication on hand. First aid should always be a stop-gap to help your cat until you can bring your cat to an emergency vet.
  • Please, never abandon your cat!
  • Be aware of your cat’s needs in various weather conditions. In summer they may suffer heatstroke, in winter they may suffer lameness from ice building up between the toes or illness from chemicals like antifreeze, and thunder can cause anxiety or undesirable behavior.

Microchip Your Cats

Most adoptable cats have already been given a microchip if they come from a rescue group or shelter. However, if your cat doesn’t have one, whether because it’s a new cat or one you adopted before chipping became prevalent, you should take this extra step for your cat. It doesn’t matter if your cat lives exclusively indoors or if they love the outdoors, microchipping is essential for the safety of your cat.

Why? Because it means your cat can always find its way home to you. If your indoor cat slips past you out the door and is picked up by animal control, collar or no collar, your cat is returned to you and not sent to the municipal (not no-kill) shelter. If your cat is stuck outside when there’s a weather disaster and loses its collar, rescue personnel can eventually reunite you with them. If somehow your cat is stolen, the information on your cat’s microchip will help prove the cat is really yours.

If you move or relocate, we recommend confirming that the microchip registration has your current contact information.

Having a microchip can also help ensure you’re contacted in the event of an accident involving your cat.

That’s a peace of mind we can all appreciate!

If you need a cat microchipped, make an appointment with your veterinary office today. If you live in Sunnyvale, CA, come see us at Sunnyvale Cat Clinic. Call 408-736-8296 to make an appointment.