International Cat Care has always worked towards making the world a safer place for cats. When the charity was founded in 1958, almost nothing was known about treating injured or ill cats, and if they were given treatment, they were thought of as small dogs. Products and chemicals declared safe for animals were actually unsafe for cats.
Things have progressed massively since then, but many of the day to day dangers can’t be altered or eradicated, and it’s important that cat owners and the public at large are aware of them. That’s why at International Cat Care we believe it’s crucial to raise awareness of the range of issues affecting cat safety, and it’s for this reason that we’re relaunching our Keeping Cats Safe campaign.
We originally ran this campaign in 2015 and 2016, and this year we are revisiting some of the key topics to update them with the most relevant information. As part of the 2020 campaign we’re holding an open call for stories from cat owners and cat professionals for how their cats, or cats that they’ve worked with, have been affected by issues in the campaign, and we’re releasing these stories throughout the month dedicated to each topic.
April 2020: Microchipping
We’re beginning the campaign with microchipping.
When microchips were first introduced, they revolutionised the way in which missing cats and their owners could be reunited. As a 1989 issue of the charity’s journal stated before the introduction of microchips ‘The chances of finding a stray, even if it has only gone a few miles, are fairly remote’.
Microchips remain the best option for the identification of cats, and it’s vitally important that the contact information attached to them remains up to date. Read the first article of the campaign on microchipping here.
A vitally important part of ensuring that microchips remain effective is keeping the contact details attached to them up to date. Find out how to do this in the second article of the campaign here.
The final article for this topic is a round-up of our activities throughout the month, and a summary of our advice on microchipping that can be read here.
May 2020: Plants and cats
The second topic in the campaign is ‘Plants and cats’.
Cats are generally careful about what they eat, but they can come into contact with, and ingest, plants that are poisonous to them. Throughout this month we will be raising awareness of plants that pose a danger to cats, and also for plants that are cat-friendly.
Read the first article of this topic here.
Lilies are an attractive and popular flower, but they are extremely toxic to cats. Find out more here.
Some plants have a positive effect on cats. Catnip is the most well known, and we discuss this, and others, here.
To raise awareness of the danger that lilies pose to cats, we’ve designed a poster that can be downloaded for free. Find our more here.
We finish this topic with a round-up of our work this month. For an overview of the key messages and links to more detailed articles on each subject, click here.
June 2020: Cats and household chemicals
Because cats are fussy eaters, some believe that they’re less easily poisoned than dogs, but because of their grooming behaviour and curious nature, intoxication isn’t that uncommon. Once exposed to a poison, their small size, ability to hide so it isn’t quickly discovered, and the fact they lack certain liver enzymes as obligate carnivores meaning they can’t breakdown certain chemicals, mean that effects can be serious.
Read the first article here.
Lots of household disinfectants, including antibacterial products and patio cleaner, contain the cationic detergent benzalkonium chloride, and this can be dangerous to cats. Find out more here.
Many DIY products contain chemicals that can be harmful to cats and are present in most households. Read our article here.
There are a wide variety of products available for controlling weeds, but those available for domestic use generally only use a few different herbicidal compounds, we discuss these here.
The final article in this topic is a roundup of the different subjects that we’ve looked at this month. Read this here.
July 2020: Cats and foreign bodies
As we’ve discussed with plants and with household chemicals, the assumption that cats are fussy eaters is no guarantee that they won’t eat something that they shouldn’t, and the ingestion of foreign bodies is actually quite common. Find out more here.
Pica is a compulsive eating disorder, where non-food items are eaten. Read the article here.
August 2020: Permethrin
Permethrin is generally used as an insecticide and is found in some flea spot-on products made for dogs, however, for cats, exposure to concentrated permethrin can result in serious illness and death. Find out more here.
We look at a variety of different products for controlling fleas and make recommendations for what to use and what to avoid here.
September 2020: Paracetamol
Although considered to be a mild drug used for all sorts of mild pain relief in humans, paracetamol is extremely toxic to cats. Find out more here.
For an overview of how cats are affected by paracetamol, watch our video.
October 2020: Halloween and bonfire night
Halloween and bonfire night can be an exciting time for us, with celebrations happening not just over one or two nights but over several weeks. Unfortunately these times often aren’t so enjoyable for cats, with firework displays often causing stress and other potential dangers such as bonfires, sparklers, glowsticks and halloween decorations. We’ve produced some advice to help you keep your cat safe and a free downloadable poster that you can find here.
We’re still looking for stories from cat owners and cat from cat owners and veterinary professionals detailing incidents relating to cat safety as a way of helping other owners to keep their cats safe.
If you can answer yes to any of the following, we would love to hear from you:
- Has your cat ever been poisoned?
- Has it ever been affected by antifreeze, permethrin, lilies or another toxic substance?
- Has your cat ever ingested a foreign body?
- Have they ever been lost before – if so how were you reunited?