Kittens are adorable, full of energy, and, most notably, extremely curious. You've probably heard of the phrase "curiosity killed the cat." While it's a bit morbid, this popular saying isn't totally outlandish. Kittens love to explore their surroundings, and for these little guys, nearly everything appears to be a toy. This may not seem like a big deal, especially if you've got older cats who refuse to play with the hundreds of dollars worth of toys you've spent your money on, but it can turn dangerous when you realize that your kitten has a penchant for chewing on floss or electrical cables. Just like with a toddler, the first step in becoming a kitten owner is learning how to kitten-proof your home.
Much like puppy-proofing, kitten-proofing your house involves getting all dangerous items out of the way so that your small ball of fluff can explore safely. It might seem like an arduous task, but knowing that your new kitten can't get into too much trouble is worth the time spent. We brought home our rescue kittens when our son was a baby, and I was so thankful that most of the common areas of our house were already kitten-safe. However, there are plenty of things a kitten can get to that a little one can't--especially since they can jump and climb. Don't stress, though. You can prepare for your new furry family member and properly kitten-proof your home in just a few simple steps. (Sometimes, it's as easy as closing a few doors!)
1. Look high and low.
Check shelves, counters, and tables throughout the area where your kitten will be living and make sure there's nothing fragile or dangerous. Kittens love to climb, so you'll want to remove or secure anything they can knock down or get stuck in.
2. Keep window treatments out of reach.
If the blinds' cords are hanging down, tie them up and out of reach with a rubber band. Kittens will think long cords are entertaining toys, but they can get tangled up or even strangle themselves. Curtains should also be removed or tied up. Your new kitten will see hanging drapes as the perfect scratching post!
3. Clear the kitchen countertops.
If there is any food on the counters, it should be covered. Some human food, like chocolate, coffee, and citrus fruits, can be toxic to cats. Remember: Kittens should only eat kitten food!
4. Lock up cleaning supplies.
If your go-to spot for storing dish detergent, harsh chemicals, and other cleaning products is within reach of your new kitten, they should be moved to a closet or cabinet. Concerned about the kitten getting into a cabinet? Child-proof locks will become your new best friend.
5. Evaluate your houseplants.
If there are any plants your cat might try to knock over, get stuck in, or ingest, you'll want to move them to a room your kitten won't have access to. Many houseplants are safe for cats, but some varieties like Azaleas and Rhododendrons can be extremely toxic.
6. Close the toilet bowl lid.
If your kitten will have access to the bathroom, you want to be sure they can't fall into the bowl. Also keep the counters clear of everyday objects like hair ties, make-up, bobby pins, and razors. These small items may seem like fun cat toys, but can be dangerous for your new pet.
7. Check the laundry room.
While this room may seem like a great place to keep your cat's litter box, there are some hazards you should watch out for. Keep laundry detergent, stain removers, pest sprays, and other toxic products out of reach. Also, take care to keep the washer and dryer doors closed at all times and always check these appliances before using them. Curious kittens can sneak into your laundry when you least expect it.
8. Hide electrical cords.
Cords, wires, and charging cables look like enticing play toys to a kitten, so it's best to keep them tucked away. Cord covers can be used to hide cords that can't be removed or hidden with furniture.
9. Eliminate access to the garage.
Between all the tools, chemicals, and cleaning supplies, the garage can be an extremely dangerous place for a kitten. If you keep your car in the garage, any cat can sneak up into the engine or under the wheel and you may not realize they're there until it's too late. It's best to shut the garage doors and keep your kitten out of this part of the house.
10. Clean up the yard.
If your new kitten will spend any time outdoors, be aware of poisonous plants, rodent traps, pesticides, and other hazards. Kittens are also at risk of being carried away by predators, so they should never be left outside unsupervised.
You know your own house best, so be sure to take extra care in kitten-proofing every area of the home. A safe kitten is a happy kitten!
How much kitten-proofing did you need to do? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page.
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