The autumn weather is here and most of us enjoy cozy evenings at home. If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace in your house, you have probably snuggled up by the fire with your cat, but is that safe? Unfortunately, as much as we like chimneys, cats like cats too, sometimes a little too much.
Safety Concerns About Wood Fireplaces
Dr. Jamie Richardson, Chief Medical Officer at Small Door Veterinary explains, “One of the major safety concerns with wood fires is that the surface or hood can often become very hot.”
Because cats tend to go to warm areas, Dr. Richardson notes that cats may be attracted to warm surfaces and try to jump on the fireplace, which can result in burned paws.
Sharon Cooksey, Kidde Fire Safety Educator at Kiddee Fire Safety, points out that the most important safety precaution is to monitor your cat whenever your fireplace is lit and to keep your cat away from the fireplace. “Fireplaces can ignite and ignite nearby objects, and fire grilles, gates and tools can feel hot to the touch. Also, keep the bedding a safe distance away, ”says Sharon.
Fireplace safety tips for cats
To protect cats with a fireplace in your home, it is a good idea to use a glass door if your fireplace has one, as well as metal fireplace covers to keep cats a safe distance from the fireplace. Sharon encourages cat guards to “consider installing a baby gate to create a safety zone of at least 3 feet around your fireplace and to keep all firing tools like pokers, lighters, lighters, and liquids behind the house barrier to keep them out of easy access. “
To keep the cat happy, Dr. Richardson suggests that you “put your cat’s favorite bed close enough to the fireplace where they can feel the warmth they are looking for, but at a distance safe enough to keep them safe from harm.” This will protect your cat from direct burns from jumping on / into the chimney and also prevents the risk of embers flying out of the chimney, which can also lead to injuries.
It can seem tempting to decorate your mantelpiece during the fall and winter holidays. “Garland and tinsel decorations can be particularly appealing to curious cats. I would therefore recommend avoiding these types of decorations in cat households as they can lure a cat close to the dangers of the fireplace, ”advises Dr. Richardson.
Carbon monoxide risks
In addition to the risk of burns from chimneys, “Chimneys can also be a source of carbon monoxide that pet owners and their furry companions can get from carbon monoxide poisoning,” says Sharon.
Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and colorless, which makes this gas extremely dangerous.
To avoid carbon monoxide problems in your home, Dr. Richardson: “It is important to have regular cleaning and maintenance of all homes with a working fireplace, with the fireplace and hatch always open, and working carbon monoxide alarms in the home to reduce the risk of human and pet poisoning. “
When carbon monoxide is present at home, pets and people experience similar symptoms that Dr. Richardson often start with dizziness or lack of coordination and quickly lead to drowsiness, difficulty breathing and ultimately loss of consciousness.
Cats can also vomit or have difficulty breathing. Other symptoms to look out for include:
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Uncoordinated movement
- Gait disorders
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- to cough
If you suspect you have a carbon monoxide problem in your home, get your cat and any other family members out of the house immediately and call 911. Then contact your local veterinary clinic or poison control. Sharon says that “Veterinarians may not immediately suspect CO poisoning. So if you think your pet has been exposed, ask for a CO toxicity assessment. This can be done through a blood test. “
Just as you keep your cat out of your fireplace under supervision, and gates / barriers are the best way to prevent burns, the best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is prevention. It is best to have your fireplace professionally cleaned / swept annually and to have carbon monoxide alarms installed in your home. Alarms should be placed at least on every level, including in / near bedrooms. Test your carbon monoxide alarms regularly to make sure they are working properly and follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for how often to replace them, usually every seven to 10 years.
Continue reading: This is how to make sure your cat is comfortable this holiday season