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Springtime Health Hazards For Your Cat
Spring is a breath of fresh air. After the cold weather, cosying up indoors, spring comes with beautiful sunshine and promises of new life and new hope. And your cat knows this too. Now that the sun is out, your cat is bound to spend more time outdoors. But you’ll need to be careful as more time outside may mean more hazards for your pet. To help you keep your feline safe, here are nine spring-time dangers to look out for and how to avoid them.
1. Toxic foods
Spring comes with alfresco eating and bbqs. You may be tempted to give your cat some table scraps or treats during one of your happy reveries, but you should know that certain foods are poisonous to your cat. Onions and garlic found in most foods can lead to anemia in your cat. Raw meat can lead to E.coli and salmonella poisoning, while small bones can cause choking or damage your feline’s teeth.
If you plan to indulge in chocolate this season, the pet food experts at Pet Food Sherpa warn against this, saying: “Don’t give chocolate to your cat as methylxanthine found in chocolate and caffeinated drinks can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and muscle tremors. Be careful of small amounts of raisins and grapes too.”
The warm spring weather makes ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas become more active. Fleas can cause skin disease, spread tapeworms, and reduce your cat’s immunity. In the most severe cases, fleas can even lead to feline asthma. Ticks are even worse as they are potentially life-threatening.
Mosquitoes that carry the dangerous heartworm parasite are also present during spring. Consider a pest preventive solution to avoid parasites and regularly brush your cat’s fur to check for parasites to catch them as early as possible.
3. Cleaning chemicals
Spring cleaning is a common tradition in many households at this time of year, but we have to stress the importance of keeping all the cleaning chemicals well away from your pet. Keep your cat away from recently cleaned surfaces too. Even home improvement products such as paints and solvents can be toxic and even cause poisoning in cats. Always ensure your furry friend is in another room during cleaning or home improvement.
4. Dangerous animals
As winter weather fades, an increasing number of wild animals come out from hibernation. Some may find their way in your backyard or neighborhood. Wild animals can be a danger to your pet, and of course, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your cat safe. Some of the animals that may pose a threat to your feline include:
- Snakes – snakes can pose a big threat to the health of your cat. If you suspect your cat has been bitten by a snake immediate veterinary treatment is vital.
- Porcupines – A porcupine quill can puncture your cat and cause damage. They also have bacteria that can lead to infections or abscesses.
- Processionary caterpillars – Processionary caterpillars are often found in pine trees. If inhaled or ingested by your pet their stinging hairs can cause severe damage to your pet’s internal organs.
Always ensure your garden or deck is clean. Do away with clutter or leftover foods that may lead animals to your home. You can also keep an eye on your pet when they’re outside to ensure nothing bad happens to them.
5. Seasonal allergies
Cats, like humans, have allergies. Spring allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and mold can lead to lots of discomfort for your cat. Skin irritation is the most common allergic reaction in pets. You may also notice lots of sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, or a runny nose. To avoid allergens, make sure to bathe your cat frequently to remove potential allergens from the skin. In case of severe allergic symptoms, take your cat to the vet.
6. Poisonous garden plants
Spring is the best time to tend to your garden. While in the garden, always ensure that your cat is safe from poisonous plants. Cats love to nibble on grass and plants to get added nutrients and sometimes just out of boredom. While some plants aren’t harmful to your feline, some are toxic.
Plants such as velvet grass, nightshade, smartweeds, pokeweed, bloodroot, baneberry, buttercup, and morning glory are poisonous for cats. Other toxic garden plants and flowers include tomatoes, onions, potatoes, lilies, crocus, daffodils, morning glory, and foxglove.
Be particularly careful of foxtail grass that has spikelets with sharp tips that can lodge themselves on your cat’s skin, nose, ear, genitals, mouth, or feet. A foxtail spikelet can burrow into your cat’s body, reaching their internal organs leading to infection, pain, or abscesses.
If you find a foxtail in your cat’s fur, try to remove it using tweezers. But if it’s lodged in your feline’s skin, you need to get to the vet immediately.
7. Open windows
A fall from an open window can be fatal for your precious pet. Spring months are particularly unsafe for indoor cats as this is when most cat owners open their windows during spring cleaning or just to get a breath of fresh air. Due to their hunting instincts, cats often leap from open windows or balconies to catch a flying bird or insect. Tilted windows can also get your cat trapped as they try to slip through the window gap. Always ensure your open window has a safeguard such as a grill, screen, or a net to prevent a fatal plunge.
Hairballs are frequent in spring as cats shed their winter fur. Cats like to groom and will often swallow the excess fur to get rid of it. This indigestible hair may end up in the litter box, but if ingested in large quantities, it will end up forming a mass that will lead to constipation, vomiting, or bowel obstruction. Constant brushing of your long-haired cat can help avoid hairballs. You can also help by giving your pet lots of high-fiber food.
9. Spay or neuter your cat
Spring is the mating season for cats. A cat on heat can howl and spray your walls and furniture with urine. They may also constantly try to get outside as they look for their mate. If you don’t want lots of extra kittens running around, make sure your cat is neutered or spayed.