Saturday, November 20, 2004

Cat Products: Are They Dangerous For Cats?

I spent a lot of time planning for this adoption, and now I spent a lot of time in trying to anticipate and elminate possible dangers in the apartment. So you can imagine how angry I was when I found out that the scratching post and kitty condo I bought for them hold hidden dangers.

This looks like an ordinary scratching post, but the carpet below the post sometimes sheds, particularly when the boys are teething at it. This morning we just barely stopped Arthur from eating a piece of loose carpet from the base of the scratching post. As everyone knows, if a cat eats string, he could die. Would eating a piece of carpet fiber harm my boys? I don't know, but I'm doubting that the manufacturer gave it much thought. I don't even know who the manufacturer is (I bought it at Petco, but it only had a price tag) so I can't write a letter of complaint.

By the same token, this kitty condo I got them seems to be shedding little pieces of string-like plastic, even though it is made of carpet. Again, I don't know what would happen if one of the boys swallowed one, but I am cutting them off as soon as I see them. Still, it would be nice if the people who made these things and sold them at the pet store were more concerned with pet safety and did this kind of thinking themselves.


socidoc said...

Hello again Avram and friends,
I know what you mean about the little nylon 'hairs' that come off of the carpeted scratch posts and condos. I've never bothered to cut them off, and my cats have been OK. But I would suggest you find a good "Natural" food/pet store nearby. I buy ALL MY CAT FOOD at such a place. They are very careful to only stock foods made with (first ingredient) either chicken meal, which is good, or human-grade protein. NEVER NEVER buy food with 'animal by-products' in it. Perhaps you already know that since Franny Syufy is your friend! Anyway... there may be a natural food store whose staff would tell you about the dangers of these nylon strings... and/or who would be able to find you a source of scratch post. Hey! I just thought of something! I did buy for my cats, one time (they didn't use it I ended up giving it away) a PURE WOOD scratch post. It was literally made out of a stump! Maybe you could search for it? I don't remember the name but it was reasonably priced... maybe $35. If you want more info (google it? wooden scratch post?) maybe I could help more. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've found that almost any cat furniture made with carpet has to be vacuumed thoroughly when you get it home. They should do it when it's made, but it's pretty obvious most don't. If there are any long plastic looking threads, that is usually from the backing, and there are sometimes a few unraveling at an edge. Search for any you can find and trim them.

I agree that it is frustrating that not all products produced for cats are safe for cats. Keep in mind that not all products produced for humans are safe for humans, either. I'm sure you already found this in your product research, but many scratching posts, especially tall condos, can be dangerous if they tip over. All should be checked to make sure they have a wide, secure base. It's also a good idea to secure tall ones to a wall or ceiling to prevent them from falling over.

Heidi3046 from the About Cats forum.

Anonymous said...

If you are worried about lose carpet lying around, I would suggest getting a scratching post made out of sisal fabric. You can get them at, as the "Ultimate Scratching Post", or at Since they are made of sisal fabric, you don't have to worry about lose carpet. My cat condo is made out of carpet as well and sometimes carpet strings come loose, but I just try to trim it regularly if any come loose.

Anonymous said...

That idea to use a simple stump of wood is great! Thank you! Why didn't I think of that before. After all, small trees are what our cat uses outdoors. We may not need an indoor scratching post, but it would be cheap - just get a stump of wood, nail it to a small plank for a base - and it's natural.

Those carpet scratching posts aren't cheap. I hear that they also fall apart and look kinda ugly after a while.

I got one of those cardboard scratching boxes and tried to get our cat to use it, including putting some catnip on it, but there was absolutely no interest. Thank goodness she stopped scratching the sofa, and has been doing great with the outdoor trees.

We are very blessed with her - a former adult stray who adopted us after she took a liking to our little condo backyard and lay claim to it. We were the intruders when we interrupted her nap in the sun on the steps. She hissed at us at first and it took some time for her to stop doing that, and to stop running out when my partner (male) came around.

She does very well indoor/outdoors and would have a major problem being confined indoors. So, not meaning to rub it in, but no litter boxes (we think she goes under the deck outside) She uses the former doggie door even though it's probably a little uncomfortable for her.

She must have been someone's cat, because she knows how to use a litter box and for a while kept looking for one. I guess they did not bother to spay her and she was kind of a pain in the butt when she was in heat. When we took her in to get spayed, we thought maybe she herself was still a juvenile as she looked kind of small, but the vet said she was at least 3-4 years old, and that she was already pregnant!

Now she has gained plenty of weight, and she still has a hearty appetite. We're just glad to know it's not because of little kitties to come since we could not cope with a whole family of cats, just one is plenty!

We've been told to use a spray bottle of water to train her, but somehow even without really using it i have managed to get her to understand that much as i love her, i cannot have her sleeping in bed with me as she keeps me up all night with her grooming, purring, etc.