We all know holiday lights and tinsel are hazardous to cats, but you might be surprised to learn that everyday items lying around your household could be dangerous too, even toxic. To help you keep your home safe for your feline companions, Alley Cat Allies has created a list of little-known but potentially dangerous objects and substances, with advice about how to take the necessary precautions:



If you need complete silence to sleep soundly, you probably wear earplugs. But what you might not know is that earplugs left out in the open could become toys cats play withand possibly swallow. Earplugs are the perfect size to lodge in a cat’s intestines.

Solution: Be sure to keep these stored in a box or a drawer and out of your cat’s reach.


Electrical cords

Electrical cords keep our busy lives moving, and many of us have them in every room. From phone and computer cords to kitchen and bathroom appliances, it’s wise to take precautions to prevent your cat from getting shocked, or worse, when cords are plugged in.

Solution: Never let cords dangleunplug and put them away when not in use. Replace cords immediately if the outer layer is exposed.


String and similar products

String, yarn, thread, loose dental floss, rubber bands, hair ties, holiday lights, and tinsel are particularly alluring to cats. But these items are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal obstructions.

Solution: It’s best to keep these stowed away, and to keep holiday lights and tinsel out of reach.


Household cleaners

Household cleaners containing bleaches, detergents, and disinfectants can be damaging to cats. But you may not need to buy special products to avoid a risky situation.

Solution: Using these cleaners and waiting until they dry before letting cats near them (and rinsing with water if instructions indicate) is an easy way to keep cats safe. If your cat does walk on these surfaces before they’re dry, wipe off her paws before she can lick them. And don’t forget to store all household cleaners where no animals can get to them!


Lilies and other plants

You’ve probably read that poinsettia plants, a holiday favorite, are poisonous to cats. But did you know that other plants such as lilies, azalea, palm, gardenia, mistletoe, and rhododendron can also make cats sickor worse?

Solution: Do research before you purchase plants if you’re unsure. Check out the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control list to learn more.


Plastic bags with handles

Cats tend to gravitate toward plastic bags, but as they’re playing, they can get their heads stuck in the handles. Next thing you know, your cat is running through the house trying to escape from the bag.

Solution: Avoid this dangerous situation by keeping plastic bags safely stored away.


Veterinary medications

You probably know that leaving your over-the-counter and prescription pills loose and lying around could be hazardous. Did you know that even medications given to you by your veterinarian can be harmful to your cat if used improperly?

Solution: Comply with your veterinarian’s instructions when giving your cat medication.


Trash cans

Perhaps you’ve never thought of trash cans as hazardous. But if a playful cat knocks over an open trash can, she could get into all kinds of things, including plastic wrap, dental floss, bag ties, meat bones, pillspretty much everything on this list!

Solution: Keeping lids on your sturdy trash cans can keep your cat out of danger!


Essential oils

You might be wondering whether essential oils and oil diffusers can be dangerous to cats. At the moment, the jury is out on a definitive answer. Some articles have reported conflicting views on the subject, but there hasn’t been enough scientific information to draw a conclusion. Given this uncertainty, it’s best to keep all essential oils in any form out of your cat’s reach, turn them off when you’re not home, and never put any essential oils directly on your cat.