Cat Owner's Guide

Things to keep away from cats

Below are some plants and food that are harmful to cats:

Poisonous plants

  • Azaleas should be avoided as they are moderately toxic.
  • The stems and leaves of chrysanthemums can cause dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), but the scent tends to put kittens off.
  • Daffodils or narcissus cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Hydrangea flowers can cause stomach discomfort.
  • Iris bulbs are potentially dangerous but the flowers and leaves are not.
  • Ivy is potentially deadly especially in large quantities.
  • Marigold leaves and stems upset the stomach but the pungent smell will keep the cats away.
  • Keep away from lilies either cut flowers or the plants themselves. They can cause kidney failure and death.
  • Wisteria seeds are lethal to kittens.

Food

  • Chocolate can cause diarrhoea, coma or death. The level of toxicity depends on the amount consumed and the type of breed. Anything that contains chocolate has to be avoided.
  • Grapes and raisins.
  • Garlic and onions are deadly as they contain sulphides and disulphides which will lead to anaemia.
  • Tomatoes will lead to gastrointestinal problems.

Dangerous objects

  • Keep plastic bags away from cats as the handles may go over their heads and around their necks, and in an attempt to get free, they may strangle themselves.
  • Curtains should be tied neatly and should not be left to hang loosely. Cats love a mystery and crawling in between the drapes may get them entangled. The drapes might crash on them or worse, a cat can get strangled.
  • Windows and balconies should have a cat-proof screen to prevent falling. It has to be secured firmly even when confronted by a big cat. Yearly checks on the screens are essential to ensure safety of your cats.
  • Yarn balls and string may be good toys for your cats but they should not be left unsupervised when playing with these items. Cats may chew and swallow the yarn, find no way to stop and this might lead to choking and internal blockage.
  • Cellophane candy wrappers could be swallowed down, liquefy in the cat's stomach, and line it, blocking the absorbency of nutrients from food.

Be cautious should your cat show signs of distress, pain or discomfort for a period of time. Blood in stools or vomiting are possible signs of food poisoning and a hard bloated stomach could mean excess gas build up which can be painful for your cat. Seek a veterinarian's opinion when in doubt.