How to Kitten-Proof Your Home & Keep Your Kitten Safe
BY FRANNY SYUFY
Kittens are curious little tykes and love to explore nooks and crannies. If you're a new kitten owner (or are about to become one), you'll need to kitten-proof your home and keep a close eye on your new pet as he learns how to navigate safely. It's also important to keep your favorite things safe from your kitten!
Kittens are tiny animals with a terrific curiosity, a great sense of smell, and a surprising ability to leap, crawl, and use their claws. As a result, it's easy for kittens to get themselves into risky situations—or to cause harm to your fragile decorations or dinner. For example:
Kittens are fascinated by anything that moves and by most things that they can move around with their paws. That includes wires, knick-knacks, bathroom items, and tablecloths. Some such items can be dangerous for kittens; others are easily broken.
Kittens love to climb and will climb almost anything they can. They'll also slip through open doors and windows if they can!
Kittens need to sharpen their claws and also enjoy stretching their claws. This is fine, so long as they're not ripping your favorite clothes or good carpet.
Kittens have their noses close to the floor, and, like human babies, love to put things in their mouths. Bits of trash are no exception.
Kittens don't have the ability to tell human food from cat food, or safe treats from potentially harmful foods.
How to Kitten-Proof
In many ways, kitten-proofing is similar to baby-proofing. Imagine a toddler wandering around your home, grabbing anything that interests them and putting it into their mouth. Next, imagine that the toddler can leap, climb, and zip past you without making a sound—and you've got a good picture of the task ahead.
Look around your house for high shelves, low cupboards, and hidden nooks. Could the kitten get onto a shelf holding valuable or fragile items? Could she become trapped inside a cupboard?
If you're into needlework, keep your supplies in a closed container. Needles, thread, and yarn might appear to be fine playthings, but can be fatal if your kitten swallows them. DO NOT use yarn as a kitten toy. Siberian kittens can chew through and swallow yarn in a matter of seconds. It can easily be ingested and cause bowel obstructions which require surgery to remove.
Fold and secure your window blind cords with a rubber band, and up out of kitty's reach. If she gets tangled up in it, she can easily strangle.
Kittens will pick up almost anything they can, and love knocking over trashcans. If you don't want to find your floors littered with garbage, invest in covered wastebaskets and kitchen garbage containers.
Always keep the door to your clothes dryer closed, and double-check inside before using it. Cats like to find dark, warm places to sleep, and the results could be tragic.
Keep the floor clean of stray rubber bands, ribbon, twine, and plastic bags. All are hazardous when ingested by a kitten.
Cover any food you leave out, as kittens have terrific noses and will be attracted to all kinds of treats. Be especially careful with foods that can be harmful to kittens; chocolate, for example, is toxic to cats.
Cloth drapes are better left out of reach of your furry 'curtain-climber'. Tie them up securely until your kitten is trained to a scratching post.
Do not keep your kitten in the garage, and always keep the doors closed. Anti-freeze is very tasty to animals and is just one of the common poisonous substances found in garages.
Cover electric cords and phone charging cords. Cord covers are readily available that protect nicely.
There are a number of household plants poisonous to cats. Floral arrangements can also be dangerous, so check before putting flowers in locations where cats can reach them.
Use animal-safe insect repellant. Commercial roach and ant poison will kill cats if ingested.
If your kitten will be indoors-outdoors, make sure your yard is clear of snail poison, rodent traps, and other hazardous material. Better yet: fill your house with attractive toys and make him an inside-only cat.