On the whole, cats have enough sense to keep out of the way of builders who are working in your home. The noise and upheaval are usually sufficient warning for them to stay away. The trouble may arise, though, when builders leave dangerous substances lying around after they’ve left the building. The old saying, `curiosity killed the cat’, may come alarmingly true. Warn the builders that there is a cat around and ask them to take every precaution.
Kittens, in particular, may think that builders’ debris is a new toy – left out just for them!
I’m planning to have a lot of the surfaces in my house painted and varnished soon. How is this likely to affect the cat?
Cats are sensitive to strange smells, and the smell of paint and varnish will repel most of them, with the result that your cat will probably steer clear of freshly painted and varnished surfaces. The chances are, therefore, that you have nothing to worry about.
Q. My cat has managed to get emulsion paint on its coat where it brushed against a recently painted wall. What can I do to remove it?
You could try bathing your cat but, if it is not used to this treatment, it may hate it and react violently. The paint will be fixed, however, once it is dry, so you may have to wait for the paint to grow out. If in doubt, consult your vet. As anyone who’s gone through the experience knows, having builders in your home is a stressful experience at the best of times, but just think how even more distressing it must be for a cat, which can have absolutely no idea what is going on – let alone why. Discuss elegant refurbishment with your cat and it won’t know what you’re talking about! The best and most prudent thing to do is to try to shut your cat in another room, where work is not going on, so it is kept safely out of harm’s way.
The danger arises, however, with any dangerous substances or materials that the builders leave lying around the house when they’ve gone, and which the cat may try to investigate. The old saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’, has more than a grain of truth in it. A cat may spill something toxic, or knock over something sharp or heavy, with potentially harmful consequences. It is therefore always a good idea to warn the builders that there is a cat around – if it’s been shut in a separate room while they’ve been around, they may not even have noticed a feline presence – and ask them to take all the necessary precautions.
- It is important to protect a wet concrete path with wood until the concrete has dried. Otherwise, your cat may walk over it leaving a trail of footprints behind.
- Gloss paint requires the use of a solvent to dissolve it, and this must then be carefully washed off. It would be best to consult your vet.
- Be careful to check your home after the builders have left for any sharp objects such as nails that may have been left lying around.
- Builder’s sand is a great temptation to any cat, and makes an ideal litter tray! Warn your builders to watch out when they mix the next batch of cement, as cats like to bury the evidence.