Keeping Your Foster Cats Out of Trouble

June 5, 2019

two small kittens

Cats and kittens are some of the cutest, and often, the most curious animals out there. Their never-ending wonder is adorable, but this wonder also leads to an uncanny ability to get into trouble. From playing with everything that they see, to climbing everywhere they can or getting into everything they can get their paws on, there are plenty of opportunities for cats and kittens to be exposed to things that they shouldn’t be. As we continue to encourage people across the nation to consider becoming purrfessional kitten cuddlers during our Meow for Now campaign, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), wants to make sure that you are fully aware of all of the potential mischief and missteps your curious kittens can get into while they take up temporary residence in your home.  

Below you’ll find APCC’s top four home items that could be problematic for your tiny houseguests. 

1. String: Anything long and stringy will grab a cat’s attention. The big concern with things like rope, fabric, string, yarn, tinsel and grass from holiday baskets, is the risk of a foreign body entering the digestive system. Often, kittens will eat string during playtime. The string can get stuck in their stomach and intestines, which can require emergency surgery. Signs to look out for if your cat has ingested string include vomiting, diarrhea, decrease in appetite and not wanting to eat. The best way to avoid a situation like this is to make sure all things with strings are kept out your cat’s reach.

2. Cords: For some reason, kittens (and sometimes naughty adult cats) love to bite into electrical cords. Not only can this cause severe burns in their mouths, it can also lead to a build up of fluid in their lungs. Signs that could indicate that your kitten may have chewed on an electrical cord include drooling, not wanting to eat, coughing, difficulty breathing and a decrease in energy. To prevent your kitten from chewing on cords you can hide them behind furniture, redirect your kitten to something they should play with if you see them going for a cord, or apply a bite deterrent spray found at pet stores onto the cords.

3. Plants: Kittens love to taste-test plants. If you have plants in your home, it is a good idea to check out our full poisonous plants list to see if they are toxic or not. If the plants are toxic, it is best not to have them in your home, or at least keep them far out of paws’ reach. If they are non-toxic, some plants can still cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested, so you may want to keep them somewhere your kittens don’t go. One of the most toxic plants to cats and kittens is the lily. The pollen, leaves, stem, flower and even the water that the flower sits in can all cause kidney failure in your cat. It is best to not have any lily plants in your home if you have a cat or kitten.  

4. Medications: Kittens love to bat anything around, including pills or capsules left out in the open. So all medications should be kept out of reach or locked safely away in a medicine cabinet. If your pet finds some loose medication, they may bat it off the counter or dresser, take a lick, or even eat a whole pill. Due to their small size, it does not take much of any type of medication to be a problem for cats and kittens.

If your cat or kitten may have been exposed to anything potentially dangerous, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at 888-426-4435 for assistance.