Chris Kouwenhoven

Safety in the House

Besides some of the more obvious things like electrical cords, here are some other things to watch out for:

* Recliner chairs. Many cats will go underneath these chairs as a hiding or resting place. Cats that are caught in the mechanism when the chair is opened or closed can be seriously injured or killed.

* The dryer. Many cats find the small enclosed space with warm clothing especially inviting. Check your dryer before turning it on; your cat can be killed this way. A little aversion therapy: if you see your cat slip in, close the door and bang on the top of the dryer for a few seconds. Let the cat back out.

* Drapery and blind cords. Most cats love to play with the cords; unfortunately it is easy for cats to be entangled and strangulated. Coil the cords up to the top of the window and pin it there with a clothes pin or clip.

* Bags with handles. Cats can become stuck in the handles and panic. If this happens when you are not at home, the cat may injure or kill itself. Keep such bags out of reach of the cats, or cut their handles off.

* Stove tops. Gas or electrical stoves can present problems. One preventive measure is to obtain burner covers, available for both kinds. Most cats will stay away from anything that is actively hot, but you may wish to train them away from the stove by spraying with water, or trying other measures used to keep cats off the counters.

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