Posted in cats, dogs, pet health, pets

Please don’t eat the compost

We take very good care of our pets, but our outdoor cat has some bad habits we can’t quite cure him of.Saturday I found him nibbling on some stale bread from the compost pile, and I was concerned.

Pets are a little like babies, as they don’t always know what’s okay to eat. Most pets are fortunate to have complete and balanced meals fed to them daily. But what about when they’re alone? It’s a good idea to keep an eye on what your pet has access to, just in case their hunger follows their curiosity a little too far.

Many things may be poisonous to a pet, depending on what and how much is eaten. The U.S. Humane Society site (www.HSUS.org) can supply a list of some potentially poisonous plants.

For example, right now in my own garden are the toxic tulip, narcissus, daffodil, and crocus, all flowering bulbs that most pets should avoid. Most grasses are safe in small quantities, but don’t be surprised if even that comes back up with a ball of fur included.

A few foods which pets may not be able to tolerate include potatoes (leaves and stem), tomato plants, eggplant, and peppers which are all in the nightshade family. The green parts of these plants are toxic to both animals and humans. Potatoes which have turned green are not good to eat either. Avocado, garlic, onions, cherries, peaches are also on the toxic to pets list. Caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol are to be avoided.

The theobromine in chocolate and caffeine are stimulants which can be deadly to pets, especially in large quantities. You may have read that mulch made from the husks of the cacao bean can be dangerous for a pet to eat, another item that may be a hazard to your pets.

Be proactive to protect your pet:

• Limit what your pet can reach, especially if there are ways that your pet can climb to hazardous plants or foods which are possibly harmful.

• Keep your garbage covered or inside a cabinet or outdoor shed.

• Be aware of what plants and foods are toxic to your pet, ask your veterinarian if you have any doubts.

• Learn what symptoms may result from eating poisonous plants, and learn what to do if it’s suspected a pet has eaten a dangerous plant.

More about poisonous plants can be accessed on the Cornell University Animal Science website (www.ansci. cornell.edu/plants).

As for our freerange feline, he always has access to his own food, but now I’m going to have to turn the compost more frequently to make sure that anything appealing to him isn’t within his paw’s reach.

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Owned by three cats over age 13