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Just for Kids: Kitten Hazards

By: Virginia Wells

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Kittens are cute and loveable but they can get into all kinds of trouble. They investigate everything. When they find something that interests them, they watch it, they bat it around a little, they smell it and they bite it. Their curiosity about their surroundings is part of their growing up to be smart cats.

But just like babies and small children, kittens have no idea what is good for them or what can hurt them. It's up to you to make sure that your kitten's world – and everything in it – is safe for him to play in.

Here are some things that can be dangerous for your kitty:

  • Yarn. For some reason most people think it's okay for kittens (and cats) to play with yarn. There are lots of pictures of cats rolling around with a ball of yarn. But yarn is very dangerous to all felines if they eat it. Yarn does not digest and ends up causing an obstruction or blockage in the intestinal tract. The only remedy is surgery. If you want to watch your kitten chase a bit of yarn, make sure you hold on to the other end, never let him swallow any, and never leave the yarn out when you are not there.

  • Electric cords. Why do they like electric cords? Because they are there and they look like something fun to chew on. But chewing on an electrical cord can hurt or even kill your kitty. Biting on a live electrical cord can cause burns on your kitty's mouth, lips or tongue. Make sure that electric cords are kept covered or out of reach of your cats.

  • Foreign objects. Anything that isn't supposed to be eaten is a foreign object. It's amazing what kittens will eat. Some things to be careful of include fishhooks, medicines, plants (especially Easter lilies), buttons, and any small object he can find lying around on the floor or on the counter. Kittens also like to taste things they find under sinks or in the garage or basement, like motor oil, cleaning products, and garden supplies. Keep all of these thing away from your kitty OR keep your kitty away from these things.

  • Other animals. Young kittens think everyone is a friend. But some animals don't like cats and may choose some nasty ways to show it. Keep your kitten away from unfamiliar animals and don't leave him alone with other household pets.

  • Reptiles and bugs. Kittens love insects and reptiles like snakes, lizards and frogs. These animals are usually small and their movement is just the kind that interest kittens. But many snakes and even a couple of spider species can make your kitten sick. If you see your kitten toying with a reptile or insect, pick your kitten up and take him away.

  • Insecticides. If your mom sprays bug killer on that insect, keep your kitty away from that, too. These insect sprays are very dangerous to your kitten. Don't let him walk in an area that has been sprayed, because the first thing he will do will be to lick his paws clean and then the insecticide will be in his tummy. Make sure all products are locked away. This goes for flea powders and sprays made for dogs, too.

  • Holiday trimmings. During holidays the house is filled with all kinds of interesting things your kitten would love to play with. A lot of these things are shiny, like ribbons and tinsel; some just smell good, like chocolate and turkey bones; some are just colorful like poinsettias and burning candles. Keep all of these things away from your kitten.

    As you read this list, the main message seems to be that you should be with your kitten when he wants to play so you can supervise. But you should also look at your house from his point of view. Take notice of what's lying around on tabletops, counters and floors. Send yourself on a "foreign object hunt" every once in a while to make sure the things your kitten investigates are safe and fun. And make sure your mom and dad keep dangerous products locked away.

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