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Make Your Home Cat-Safe - How To Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy

* Lock things up that could cause harm

* Keep the washer/dryer door closed at all times

* Honk the car horn before starting it up

* Use fire carefully

* Keep all upstairs windows closed or screened

* Store string away tidily

* Keep floors free of small things

* Be constantly aware of what your cat is doing

Curiosity gets most cats in trouble at some point in their lives. As your cat's caregiver, keeping her safe sometimes seems like a "mission impossible." With a little foresight and action, however, you can create a "home, safe home."

When you're trying to provide the best home possible for your cat, it pays to think like her. Put on some old clothes and get down on hands and knees and take a look around. Is that shiny crystal vase on the shelf a tempting target? Remember that cats will jump onto shelves and tables.

That dangling drapery cord would be fun to leap and grab. What's in this big pot? In case you need help identifying what might catch a cat's eye, here's a list of common household items that are often the cause of cat injuries:

* Roach and ant traps

* electric and phone cords

* cigarettes in ashtrays

* open doors and windows

* rubber bands

* housecleaning chemicals

* lit candles

* Christmas trees

* ornaments

* paperclips

* rocking chairs

* uncovered toilets

* trash cans

* human medications

* chocolate

* anti-freeze

* unattended boiling pots

* electric stove burners

* plastic bags.

Cats find plants irresistible as playthings. They love to pounce on them and shred them with both their claws and teeth. Although they are carnivores -meat eaters-they sometimes eat plant material. For these reasons, it's important to make sure the plants in and around your home won't pose a health risk. The following are some common house and landscape plants that are toxic to cats:

* Philodendron English ivy

* caladium dieffenbachia "elephant ear"

* poinsettia

* mistletoe

* azaleas

* holly

* berries

* boxwood

* wisteria

* hydrangea

* oleander

* chinaberry tree

If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, keep an emergency pet supply kit with your own. Include a week's worth of food as well as any medication your cat takes on a regular basis. A photo of your pet is also good to keep with your emergency supplies, in case you are separated from your cat during the event, you'll have a way to get the word out to locate her.

A collar with an identification tag is one of those things that you might never need, but will wish you had if you need it and don't. Even if your cat is strictly and indoor pet, the unexpected could happen. A door or window is left ajar, or a natural disaster creates an opening in your home through which your frightened feline escapes.

Your cat's identity tag should include the following information

* Pet's name

* Owner's name and address

* Telephone numbers (day and evening)

* Medical problem requiring medication

* Veterinarian's name and number

* Current Rabies vaccination information

* Reward offer should pet become lost

Many people have their cats micro-chipped for identification. A small silicone chip containing the owner's contact information is painlessly inserted under the cat's skin. Most animal shelters automatically scan lost pets to read the owner contact information. However, if your cat is found by an average citizen an identification tag will speed up your reunion.

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