- Extinguish open flames - Cats are curious and love to investigate around the home. Be sure to put out candles, lanterns, fireplaces, incense, and bbq grills, and never leave cats unattended near open flames.
- Protect stove nobs - The NFPA says that inadvertently turning on stove burners is a leading cause of accidental fires started by pets. Consider using covers or removing burner nobs when the stove is not in use.
- Flameless candles - In comparison to a traditional candle, it’s much less likely that a small bulb in a flameless candle will start a fire when tipped over by a rambunctious cat. Give them a try as a safer alternative.
- Electrical wires - For some cats, the urge to chew electrical cords is irresistible. Tie up loose wires and cords of household electronics and appliances, or use covers to keep cords out of reach (and bite!)
- Glass on wood decks - A glass bowl can act just like a magnifying glass, and can focus the sun’s rays enough to start a fire on a wood deck. If your cat spends time outside with you, or if you provide food and water for community cats, consider using ceramic or stainless steel dishes instead.
IN CASE OF FIRE
- Emergency plans - Plan ahead for a quick exit from the home. Practice escape routes WITH YOUR CAT and put together an emergency kit with items she’ll need for a few days. Extra food, dishes, medications, blankets and a carrier can all be gathered ahead of time and placed near exits. Always have the phone number of your vet and an emergency animal hospital on hand.
- Communicating - Emergency personnel must be alerted to the presence of your cat. If you’re the one to call 911, tell the operator there are cats or other pets in the home that need rescuing, and tell first responders right when they arrive. Let neighbors know you have pets so that they can tell responders too, and consider putting static cling pet alerts in windows around the house. They’ll alert firefighters to the presence of cats in your home if you’re not there. You can get a free static cling alert from the ASPCA here.
- Make rescue easy - When you’re away, confine cats to areas near entrances so firefighters can quickly and easily locate them, and try to block hidden or hard-to-reach hiding places. Carriers, harnesses, and leashes should be kept near entrances as well.
And always remember, the number one rule of home fire safety is to make sure you’ve got working smoke detectors, and are testing them every month.