This has been specifically written for cats and their owners, a lot of the information will apply to dogs and their owners as well. If your cat is special to you, is a pedigree cat, or has unusual or special markings please, get it chipped. In Portugal this will cost between twenty-five and fifty euros and can be done by most vets. These cats have a high risk of being stolen.
Spay or neuter your cat if possible — this means they will wander less and will not attract wild males when they come in season. In Portugal this costs around sixty euros for a male and one hundred and twenty five euros for a female. Some vets will offer discount for more than one animal.
In cities the second biggest risk to your cat is the motor vehicle. Cats always come off worst and accidents with traffic are nearly always fatal.
The third biggest risk is poisoning. Three main sources of poisoning in cities are eating vermin that have been poisoned, drinking water polluted by petrol or diesel or swallowing household chemicals.
Signs to look for a possible poisoning include excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, twitching, nervousness, convulsions, coma, and a smell of a chemical on the body.
If you find your cat in a coma or any of the above — wrap them up in a blanket and take them straight to the vets. In the case of domestic spillage being ingested take any bottles with you.
The following domestic chemicals are all dangerous to cats. Bleach, detergents, dishwasher powder, the water that is emptied from the dishwasher — take note if your dishwasher empties into a sink, drain cleaner, grease remover, oven cleaner, toilet cleaners — put the lid down, floor wax, furniture polish and shoe polish.
If you smell any of the above on your cat, first rinse out their mouths and then give the cat a bath in warm soapy water. Once you have done this watch for signs of vomiting — if the cat vomits take to vets immediately.
Keep your alcohol, nuts, raisins and your chocolate to yourself — these all poisonous to cats.
The following indoor/cut plants/flowers are poisonous to cats. Aloe Vera, Amaryllis, Avocado, Azalea, Bird of paradise, Calla lily, Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, Daffodil, Day Lily, Dieffenbachia, Easter lily, Gladiolus, Hyacinth, Iris, Marijuana, Philodendron, Tomato plants, Tulips and Yucca.
The following outdoor plants are poisonous to cats all of the above plus Apricot, Black-eyed Susan, Box, Chrysanthemum, English ivy, Holly, Hydrangea, Mistletoe, Narcissus, Rhododendron and Yew.
If you need a more comprehensive list please check here.
The rural cat owner has to add natural predators to the danger list.
In Portugal these can include roaming dogs, birds of prey, mongoose, wild boar and foxes.
You also have to watch for amphibians especially during the breeding season in spring. Some of the frogs and most of the toads are poisonous to cats — the toads especially so as they secrete poison when under attack. This poison covers their skin and can also be squirted at the eyes of the attacking animal i.e. the cat does not have to eat the frog or toad, just brushing against it can cause poisoning.
Remember cats are curious animals and sadly curiosity can kill the cat. Be responsible with your medicines, your food, your cleaning products, your garage and your garden.