Pet safety is something that should remain in the forefront of any pet owner’s mind. Although the day to day groove of life can make it easy to become complacent when it comes to pet safety, the reality is that anything can happen at any time. Pet safety doesn’t stop until you no longer own a pet.
I’m writing about this today because I recently came across a question online from a cat owner about the ability to sue a neighbor because the neighbor’s 2-year-old son accidentally killed the poster’s cat. While I am no lawyer, I did a little research, and the short answer is that it’s not worth it. That being said, the more pressing concern in my mind is how the child was able to kill the cat in the first place. Which brings us back to pet safety.
Pet Safety – The Often Forgotten Imperative of Pet Ownership
I am not here to preach to anyone. Even though I worked at a vet for 7 years and saw first hand how forgetting bout pet safety can lead to tragic events, I am still guilty of not being as vigilant as I should be. Knock on wood, nothing has happened. I’m grateful for that. I try to remember all the horrors I saw at the vet as motivation to remember pet safety, and I think it’s so important that I want to address it here.
Let’s use the cat death as a perfect example of why vigilance is so important when it comes to pet safety. First and foremost, for a child to be able to accidentally kill an animal, it most likely means that the child had access to the cat while being unattended. The other possibility is that the parents were in the room but just weren’t being attentive.
This is where vigilance comes in. When you have a pet, it’s important to see all the possibilities for injury in every situation. This may sound like a bit of overkill, but you never truly know what can happen. This is especially true if you are in a room with possible hazards or if a child is interacting with your pet.
In the case of cats, vigilance is even more important. Cats are extremely mobile. They’re able to reach high spaces, low spaces, small spaces – they can pretty much get everywhere. And the more dangerous or toxic something is, the more those stinkers seem to want it. So it’s vital to be extra vigilant about pet safety with them in order to keep them as safe as possible.
Baby Proofing on Steroids
Cat proofing an area is a bit like baby proofing an area, except it’s multiplied by a thousand. As I said, cats can get into EVERYTHING. Never leave any sort of toxic substance out, even if it’s only for a minute. Always put the cap back on if you must leave the room or turn your back for any length of time. Never leave breakables out. Cats love to knock things off of counters – that includes breakables like glass or pottery. Another important note is that many household plants and flowers are toxic to cats. Cats LOVE to nibble at plants, so be sure that any houseplant or flowers that you have or that you receive are non-toxic. You can easily Google that information.
Your Cat is Your Baby
The best way to exercise pet safety when it comes to cats is to think of them like toddlers. Just like toddlers, cats get into everything, and the worse it is for them, the more interested they are. So the key is to simply assume that if there is something iffy in their general orbit, they can and will get into it. It may sound like paranoia, but trust me, bad things can happen.
Pet Safety – Doubly Important for Cats
Cats are stinkers. I love them, but they are such trouble makers. The combination of their mobility and their seemingly insatiable appetite to get into any and everything that could potentially harm them makes it incredibly important to ALWAYS have pet safety in the front of your mind.
The truth is that the original poster of the question of suing probably doesn’t have a case because the child is incapable of intent. The even more unfortunate truth is that being very cognizant of pet safety could probably have prevented the entire horrific incident. So always remember to keep pet safety in the front of your mind, especially when dealing with cats.