Adopting a new cat requires a lot of pre-planning. You’ll not only need to meet your new member of the family and ensure it’s the right fit, but you’ll also need to get all the essentials: a litter box and litter, food, toys, a pet carrier and more.
But one thing that can often be missed in all the excitement of bringing your kitten home for the first time is kitten-proofing. In the case of both young kittens and older cats, there are certain steps you should take to ensure your home is safe for your new furry friend.
Kittens vs cats
Young kittens only a few months old are usually the most intense in terms of exploration and getting into things they shouldn’t. However, older cats can still be harmed by some things left lying around the home, so it’s a good idea to take precautions for cats of all ages.
The thing to remember about kittens is that they’re small, meaning they can find themselves in tiny nooks and crannies you typically forget about. Older cats may have the ability to leap to higher places, for example, on the top of the refrigerator. It’s important to consider these things as you get your home ready for your cat’s arrival.
Steps for kitten-proofing
To effectively kitten-proof, you’ll want to consider all the things your new cat could get into and hurt itself with as it is exploring its new home. Things like electrical cords, toxic plants and chemical cleaners are obvious dangers. However, things like long, hanging cords and small toys littered around the house can be equally as dangerous.
Here are some things you should pay attention to as you prepare your home.
- Electrical cords: Dangling objects like electrical cords look like fun toys to cats, and they are likely to try to bat at and pull on them before sinking their teeth in and chewing. Not only will this destroy your cords, but it can be quite dangerous for cats. Keep cords secured behind furniture, adhered to walls or covered by plastic tubing or other concealments.
- Toxic plants: If you like to have plants in your home, double check each one to make sure they aren’t toxic to cats. Certain plants and flowers, like Easter lilies, are extremely toxic, while others are less so. It’s a good idea to remove very toxic plants and move others to areas where your cat won’t be able to access them.
- Cleaning supplies/chemicals: Any chemicals or cleaning supplies you have in your home should be concealed in cabinets or closets your cat won’t have access to to ensure it does not accidentally get poisoned. Be mindful when you use these products, as well.
- Small objects like hair ties and toys: Very small office and home products, as well as small toys like Legos or doll pieces, can quickly become a choking hazard if they are found and ingested by a curious cat. Pick up things like twist ties, rubber bands, hair ties and more, and do a thorough sweep or vacuum to make sure you got everything off the floor.
- Scratching protection: Cats can be tempted to turn just about any piece of furniture into a scratching post. To avoid this, get your cat a scratching post of its own (or two!) and encourage it to use that by placing it in the same room as furniture it might scratch. You can also use combinations of tape and aluminum foil to dissuade scratching in certain places as your cat is training.
Remember that cats love to explore and find things, so don’t just clean the obvious areas of your home. Do a deep clean beneath the couches and other furniture and find the tiny objects lost in small nooks before your cat does.
Also, just because you kitten-proof prior to bringing your cat home does not mean it won’t find things to get into! Carefully observe your cat for the first few days and redirect it if you find that it gravitates toward things you overlooked initially.
Creating a space is important, too
Remember that readying your home is not all about hiding or closing off areas you want your cat to stay away from. You should also be working to create places for your cat to relax in and enjoy, too!
Many pet owners create safe spaces within one or multiple rooms where their cats can retreat to for peace and quiet. Implementing cat shelves in an office corner, a cozy blanket under the bed or even an entire nook dedicated to a cat tree and toys can help your cat stay out of the places it could get hurt and in the places you’ve designed just for it.