Friday, May 4, 2012

Lawn and Garden Hazards for Cats

Spring rolls around and we find ourselves wandering down the lawn & garden aisle of our local home improvement store. Maybe we even take a trip to the local nursery. But as you stroll through these areas, take a look at many of the products offered. Most of them will be toxic to cats and other animals, so you'll have to be careful when it comes to the products you use on your lawn and in your garden. Some of these products can kill your cat while others can bring on serious illness.

Almost all insecticides are highly toxic to felines in any concentration. These products, used to reduce or eliminate the number of annoying and damaging insects, should be used sparringly. Try some natural alternatives to insecticides first, such as soap and water.

Herbicides and fertilizers are also highly toxic, but usually only in their concentrated form. If you must use them, keep the bags and containers out of reach of your cats. Once applied to your lawn, keep your cats out of the area for at least an hour. After that, your pets should be able to safely walk on the lawn. However, you should read the manufacturer's directions first, as they may recommend a longer wait time before permitting pets on the lawn.

Many gardeners have a problem with pests of the larger variety. But beware. Poisons designed to kill mice, rats, gophers, moles, and other vermin will also kill your cat. Even the smallest amount of these products can kill or seriously injure your cat and there is usually nothing your local vet can do to safe your poor kitty. Keep them safely tucked away. When you must use them, place them only in areas your cat cannot access. This same rule applies for snail and slug baits.

Mulch is normally safe enough, but check the ingredient list. Mulches that contain cacoa bean can be toxic. Unfortunately, they also smell great, especially to cats. When you first lay it down, your cats may not be able to resist the delicious chocolately aroma. Keep your cats away from it until after a heavy rainfall, which usually reduces both the aroma and the toxicity of the mulch.

One product that many people think nothing of is citronella candles. They're great for keeping away the mosquitos but if a cat starts to eat a candle, there can be serious and lifethreatening problems. Sometimes even the gas emitted from a burning candle can cause a problem, so don't let kitty sit right next to a burning candle.

Setting up your garden in the spring shouldn't be fraught with dangers for your feline companions. Read all warning labels before you purchase any product and apply only according to the manufacturer's directions. When it doubt, keep it away from kitty, because even seemingly innocent products can cause illness or even death for your cat.

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