New Pet Owner

Kitten-Proofing Your Home

Kitten-Proofing Your Home

So tiny…so precious…so good at getting into trouble! Here's how to protect both your surroundings and your new pet.

If a new kitten is about to join your household, take steps to welcome your furry friend into a safe environment where he or she—and your surroundings—are protected.

Kitten-proofing a home is much like childproofing it. Go room-to-room to make sure that your new cat can't get into or play with anything harmful. Start where you expect the kitten to spend the most time.

The Living Room

Scan for breakables that might tempt a small animal. Either store delicate pieces away or firmly fix them so they don't topple. (And don't assume moving them to a higher place will keep them away from harm.)

Assess drapes and other hanging textiles. Kittens love to climb and will practice using their claws on material. Also tie up cords on mini-blinds. They may seem like toys, but if your kitten gets caught in the loop, there could be trouble.

If you keep plants and flowers, make sure they're not poisonous to cats. The ASPCA maintains a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

Look for frayed edges of carpets or furniture, as these will quickly become a chew toy. Cats love to chew on string, and if they swallow it, it can result in a life-threatening block in their intestines. Make certain no spare string, thread, yarn or ribbon are on any of your floors.

Kitchen

Curious and clever kittens can open cabinets and drawers with a little effort. Safely store household chemicals and cleaners including bleach, ammonia and soap. Also, be sure to keep curious cats out of the room when you're cleaning. Even a lick of these cleaning materials can be poisonous, and just a drop can be harmful. Install childproof latches on accessible cabinets.

Check the floor for stray bottle caps and other small items that could be swallowed.

Keep the garbage can under the sink behind a latched door, or use a garbage can with a secure lid.

Know that kittens like to curl up in small spaces, so block off the areas under the refrigerator, oven, washer, dryer and other appliances where one might crawl. The dryer and dishwasher are favorite hiding places, so keep those doors closed and always check inside before you turn them on.

Bathroom

Many people locate the kitty litter box in the bathroom. Keep the toilet lid down and install childproof latches on accessible cabinets.

Tightly close shampoo bottles, cosmetics, creams and medicines. Batting around an elastic hair band might seem like fun, but also could cause an internal obstruction if swallowed.

Scan the room daily to make sure no stray pins, hair ties, razors, dental floss, thread or jewelry have fallen on the floor.

Medicines can also be tempting for your kitty. Keep your medication in a safe secure place, and do not leave pills or baggies of medications out for your kitty to swat around or chew.

Bedroom and Office

A teething kitten may chew on electrical cords. Invest in cord covers made specifically to protect wires, or make sure all wires are tucked away.

Check the office floor for paper clips, rubber bands, staples, pens, pennies or other supplies that could be ingested. If it's small enough to fit in her mouth, it's a choking or obstruction hazard.

Kittens love dark, warm spaces, so keep the bedroom drawers and closets closed. If you're concerned about your little one hiding under the bed, block the space with boxes.

Last Look

Before you take your new cat out of the carrier and allow free range, get down on all fours for a final inspection. Barricade tiny crawl spaces. Gather small, loose objects and put them away. Secure anything that could resemble a toy but isn't one.

After you've viewed your space from a kitten's perspective and cleared away temptations, your home should be prepared to safely welcome your curious and cuddly new friend.

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