Photo: Anel Rossouw
Original Article by Marc Asher for PetsBest
You’ll never forget your kitty’s gotcha day. It becomes an annual celebration that is as meaningful as a birthday. But if you get caught up in the excitement of bringing your kitten home the first time and don’t take the necessary precautions to acclimate him, you’ll regret it. Yes, I’m talking about kitten proofing your home. It’s imperative before you expose your kitten to his new environment to take some adequate time to do a home makeover. Kitten proofing your home will keep your new feline friend out of surprisingly dangerous situations that reside within your home.
If you think like a spunky kitten, you’ll instinctively spot some potential hazards, but many hidden animal attractions await you. This article will provide you with kitty proofing tips, including protecting your furniture, putting childproof latches on cabinets, and ways to ensure that your backyard and garage are vetted for harmful items. By following the next ten steps, you’ll be secure in knowing that you’ve looked after your new pet’s health.
1. Inspect your new kitten’s home from all angles. Cats can get into and onto just about anything. Go from room to room and look at each space from a kitten’s perspective. Getting down on your hands and knees to search for possible cubby holes he can escape into and looking up high to make sure he won’t be perched on top of your refrigerator or on a high shelf that displays breakable heirlooms.
2. Protect your rugs and furniture from kitten scratches. Temporarily remove any cherished rugs from the floor, and place protective covers on your sofa to prevent your cat from scratching and turning these items into shreds.
3. Secure cabinets & other unsafe spaces. Kittens are keen on being nosey and they thrive on thoroughly investigating their surroundings. Purchase childproof latches and attach them to cabinets containing cleaning supplies, food and other feline temptations. Things like human medication, cleaners, laundry supplies and chemicals are potentially dangerous to your kitty.
4. Protect your wires from kitten chewing. Encase any wires from electrical devices like televisions and computers in chew-resistant PVC casings. Cats can get burned or electrocuted due to chewing on these. Place dangling wires from lamps, TVs, stereos and telephones out of reach. Tie up drapery pulls and cords on window blinds.
5. Stop at the pet store for kitty supplies. Felines fancy vertical spaces and need to scratch, so invest in a sturdy cat tree that offers a comfy perch and areas for the cat to scratch horizontally, vertically and at an angle. Put your cat tree in a high-traffic area, such as the living room or den so that it becomes more enticing than your furnishings to your cat.
Choose an easy-to-clean carrier with openings at the front door and top. Keep the carrier’s door open, place a comfy towel inside and occasionally feed your kitten inside to make the carrier more inviting. Also purchase a low-sided llitter box and fill it with two inches of litter so it’s more accessible to your young feline.
6. Dedicate a kitten-safe space. Resist giving your kitten free roaming rights of your entire home. Introduce him first to a large bathroom or spare bedroom that you have converted into a safe kitten haven, free of poisonous plants or electrical cords. Visit him often for the first few days as he acclimates to his new environment.
7. Sweep your home for any small, harmful items. Having a kitten forces you to become a tidier housekeeper. You can save on expensive visits to the vet as a result of your kitten eating something toxic by removing small items on tabletops that can be chewed and by stashing kitchen and bathroom trash in cans with secure lids. Stash small items like needles, thread, rubber bands, hair ties, jewelry and coins out of paw’s reach. Get in the habit of completely closing all closet, bedroom and bathroom doors to prevent any feline misadventures.
8. Put away any poisonous ingredients & cleaning products. Scan through your cleaning products and the active ingredients included in them to avoid any toxin household products that may cause a potentially toxic reaction in your cat. Keep mousetraps, mouse poison and ant poison out of your cat’s reach. Make it a point to train all members of your household to keep the toilet lid down. A kitten can drown in a toilet bowl and drinking the water—especially if you use automatic toilet bowl cleaners—can be dangerous.
9. Keep your kitten out of the backyard. Fertilizers should be used carefully and sparingly. Be sure to keep your kitten out of the yard for at least 24 hours after any kind of chemical treatment. Do not use insecticides or lawn products around your cat before knowing their potential for toxicity. Screen your garden for any potential plants that are toxic to cats. Keep your yard free of sharp tools and objects.
10. Remove all kitten-dangerous chemicals & tools from the garage. Wipe up spills of anti-freeze, gasoline, oil, fertilizers or insecticides immediately. Anti-freeze in particular may be tempting to a cat because it is sweet-tasting to cats. Even the smallest amount can be lethal. Keep these products in a locked shed or at least off the ground. Finally, it’s a good idea to thump on your car hood during cold weather months. Many a cat has suffered fatal injuries from sleeping in a warm engine compartment.