Even responsible cat owners have items that they should throw away for their kitties’ safety. It can be tough to keep up with replacing and repairing all the stuff that we need to take care of our cats, but it’s important. Old, expired, or worn-out items can be a health hazard for your cat. Here are 10 things cat owners need to throw out right now.
Plastic food and water bowls may be cheap and easy to use, but plastic is much more difficult to effectively clean than other materials, and chips and cracks can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Plastic is easy to chew and chip, and if your cat is unsupervised for even a short time, the shards can be a choking hazard or cause internal bleeding. Also, as the plastic begins to break down, it can leach into your kitty’s food and water, and it’s full of harmful chemicals that can cause serious health problems. Toss out the plastic bowls and stick with a safer material like stainless steel or silicone.
Your cat may have a favorite toy, and that toy probably has ages worth of bacteria living inside of it. These bacteria can cause everything from diarrhea to gum disease. Some toys can be microwaved or tossed in the laundry for a quick cleaning, but that doesn’t stop the toy from becoming a choking hazard as it ages and starts to fall apart. Stuffing, stray threads, or tiny parts that fall off can all wreak havoc on the digestive system. Cat toys are typically inexpensive, so try finding your kitty a new favorite instead of keeping the old one around.
Maybe your cat got sick one time and your vet gave you a prescription. After the condition cleared up, you figured you would keep the medicine around in case you ever needed it again. This may seem like a cautious move, but it’s not a good idea. Medicine expires and loses its effectiveness after some time. Also, your cat’s medical needs might not be the same as before. Some owners might think that a medication for one pet can be used to treat another pet, but this is also a mistake. Different animals have different needs. Toss the old meds and go to the vet when your cat needs you to.
If you’re like me, you get special birthday and holiday treats to share with your kitty. Those are nice, but it’s best not to keep them around until next year. Check the expiration dates on the package and do not give your cat expired treats. Food that has gone past expiration loses nutrients, and the preservatives break down leaving the treats open to contamination, mold growth, and bacteria infestation. Get some new treats once a year for special occasions, and if they aren’t finished, throw them out.
If you groom your cat yourself, you may have scissors, sheers, nail clippers, and all sorts of grooming items that are getting worn down. The problem with dull blades is that they tend to crush instead of cut. That can lead to tugging on your cat’s fur during the grooming process, and when it comes to clipping nails, crushing is very painful. Grooming can already be a stressful thing for your cat, so don’t add pain on top of that. Replace any dull equipment.
A new bed can take some getting used to. Most cats like the smell of their old bed and find it comforting. But that doesn’t stop an old bed from falling apart. Like old toys, tattered bedding can pose both a choking hazard and a problem to the digestive system if your cat chews on it. Threads, pieces of cloth, and stuffing can cause blockages and obstructions that may hurt your kitty. If your cat is having trouble adjusting to a new bed, use positive reinforcement and familiar scents to ease her into it.
As carriers and crates get used and beat up, they can become dangerous. Faulty latches can let the door swing open, chipped plastic or broken wires can be sharp, and broken zippers or tears in fabric can present choking hazards. If your crate or carrier has seen a lot of use, it may be time for a new one. Inspect it thoroughly, and if you find anything dangerous, get rid of it.
A first-aid kit is a must for any pet owner. If you’ve had one for a while, you could have already needed to use it. Replacing old bandages, wound cleaners, and other materials might not be on the top of your to-do list, but you don’t want to be unprepared when you need those things the most. You may want to get a completely new first-aid kit if yours is getting outdated, or you may simply need to replace the items you’ve already used.
If your kitty is the type to wander outside or make a move to escape the house from time to time, you should have a collar with your information on it in addition to a microchip. Over the years, collar tags can get worn down to the point of being difficult to read, and if you’ve moved recently, you might not have gotten around to updating the information on the old tags. If your cat gets lost, you’ll want her to come home as soon as possible. Make it easier on whoever finds her and update her tags with fresh, legible information.
Many litter boxes are plastic, and for the most part, that’s fine, but the major problem is that plastic scratches easily. Cats tend to dig with their claws when they use the litter box, and that can leave small scratches and nicks that collect bacteria and odor. Even after a thorough cleaning, these scuffs can hold smells for a long time. Try to get a new litter box about once a year, and your kitty will be much happier when doing her business.
What other items should cat owners throw out or replace? Let us know in the comments below!