Cat Injury Prevention

Cat owners can help prevent cat injury, saving their pets from pain and poor health and saving themselves from paying expensive vet bills. The following tips can help decrease a cat's chances of coming down with an injury.

Keep the Cat Inside

Although there are always exceptions to the rule, domesticated indoor cats live an average of three to four times longer than outdoor cats or indoor/outdoor cats. Cats that roam outside have a greater risk of injury due to the potential exposure to traffic, dogs, other cats, wild animals, animal abusers, poisonous and sharp objects in trash cans, and other hazards. Once the cat is unsupervised outdoors, there is little an owner can do to prevent injury.

Pet Proof Dangerous Areas

Cats that are kept indoors are still not immune to injury. It is the owner's responsibility to pet proof potentially dangerous areas of the home, to decrease a cat's chances of injuring itself. Some common areas in need of pet proofing include:

  • Electrical outlets and wires: Cats like to chew exposed cords. Cover unused outlets with plastic electrical outlet covers used for children, to prevent a curious cat from sniffing or sticking a paw in exposed outlets. Organize all electrical cords and cover them with split tubing wire loom, which has an opening in which you can snap the cords in place.
  • Medical and cleaning cabinets: Any cabinet or dresser in which people store sharp or poisonous objects should have a child safety lock placed across the handles to prevent cats from opening them and exploring their contents, as cats can open cabinets by pulling at the doors with their paws. Medicine, cleaning supplies, beauty supplies and sharp utensils and tools all pose potential danger to cats.
  • Plant life: Many plants, such as lilies, azaleas, ivies, aloe vera, bird of paradise and morning glory, are poisonous to cats. Owners should avoid keeping any plant life that may be poisonous to cats in their homes. All other plant life should be kept on a high window sill and sprinkled with cayenne pepper to keep them out of reach of curious cats. If the pepper doesn't work, try wrapping the planter with aluminum foil. Cat's don't like the sound of this.

Soften Surfaces

The more hardwood and flat surfaces in the home, the less problem with dander and fur clean-up, but the greater risk for cat injury of the joints. Cats like to climb, explore and jump. The more often they land on hard surfaces, the more wear occurs in their joints. Older cats especially can come down with injury from jumping on hard surfaces. Owners should place rugs or pillows in some of their cats' favorite places to jump. They can also buy padded cat furniture and encourage their pets to keep their climbing and jumping to the padded surfaces.

Even with prevention, a cat may still become injured. Pet owners who suspect cat injury should make sure their cats are seen by a vet as soon as possible. Signs of injury are not limited to open and infected wounds and may also include limping, watery or red eyes, pale gums and lethargy.