Q: I'm getting my first cat. Are there any household poisons or other dangers I should be concerned about?

A: Cats are not as likely as dogs to scarf up any old thing they run across, but they are still at risk of accidentally ingesting toxic substances such as ammonia, bleach, cleaning agents, disinfectants, drain cleaner, gasoline, oven cleaner, paint and rodent poisons.

Maybe you mop the floor with pine-scented cleaner and your cat walks across it while the floor is still damp. If your cat licks its paws to clean them off, he could become poisoned from ingesting the cleaner. That can happen with many substances if your cat walks through them. Antifreeze drops on the garage floor are a big concern, for instance.

Anytime you use cleansers on floors, counters or other surfaces, put your cat in another room until the surface is dry or you have thoroughly wiped up the residue. Clean up antifreeze spills immediately, and never assume that poisons are out of your cat's reach.

Put anything toxic, especially if it could leak, inside a locked cabinet away from your cat's normal living area. That includes weed killers, pesticides, turpentine and dried-up paint rollers. If you have a rodent problem, use traps that kill instantly instead of rodenticides or sticky traps.

Other household dangers include washing machines or dryers with doors left open.

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