When bringing home a new kitty, you need to ensure that your furry friend’s dwelling place is not only safe, but also has a space for play and exercise. You need to think like a cat and identify surfaces that are enticing enough for your little pal to jump onto.
Cats are natural hunters. They often stalk, leap, and pursue toys or moving objects. A cat’s happiness and well-being go hand in hand. It’s important to cat-proof your living space, without sacrificing their area for physical and mental stimulation to minimize their stalking instinct.
Transforming your home into a cat-friendly place and enforcing measures that can promote good health and prevent accidents can help nourish the bond between you and your feline buddy.
Below are sections of the house that you need to take a look at and apply the necessary changes to ensure it’s a danger-free zone.
1. Safeguard high-risk zones
Secure areas with household chemicals such as those found in the kitchen, bathroom, toilet, laundry, garage, and bedroom. Some of these include dishwashing detergents, disinfectants, surface cleaners, bleach, solvents, drain cleaners, kerosene, paint, perfumes, and nail polishes.
Cats are born curious, which often put them at risk. Make sure hazardous chemicals are stored in cupboards with child locks and not on the floor, tables, window ledges, or balconies. Keep containers closed unless you are dispensing a chemical or adding it to the container.
When you are cleaning, keep your pets away from the area.
2. Indoor and outdoor plants should be cat-safe
Several plants are toxic to cats when ingested. A little bit of research on what to avoid could go a long way. You should not have these plants around with pets.
- aloe vera
- Snake plants
3. Protect electrical cords and wires
Electrical cords are enticing to cats and they often chew on them, risking electrocution or injury. Conceal cords by investing in good protectors and holders, or tape them down with electrical tape. If possible, keep them out of sight and reach.
Spray the cords with a non-toxic deterrent spray, often sold in pet shops. You can also coat cords with homemade citrus or vinegar paste, lime juice, or lavender oil.
4. Provide cats with scratching outlets
Cat scratching is normal, natural, and necessary. Cats do this to strengthen their muscles, express emotions, remove dead nail sheaths, have a good stretch, and mark objects with their scents to claim ownership of the area.
Redirect cats’ clawing by providing scratching posts in areas where they often scratch or rest. Provide different scratching textures (carpet/corrugated board/natural wood/sisal rope) and in varying positions (vertical/horizontal/slant).
5. Secure balconies and windows
If you love to enjoy the view from balconies and windows but have curious jumpers and climbers around, make these areas escape-proof. You can install special cat nets or window screens to prevent falls and accidents.
6. Conceal small objects
When a cat’s curiosity is at work, anything is possible. Cats often stash away tiny things that they might accidentally ingest. They do this to hide their scent from predators, refine their tracking skills, and prevent others from stealing their hunting prize.
Store away clips, buttons, rings, and other small objects in a closed container and out of their reach to prevent choking or digestive issues.
7. Offer perched retreats and vertical resting spots
Most cats love to hang out and rest in areas with good vantage points. It’s their natural instinct at work to protect themselves from incoming danger. They like to switch their sleeping spaces more often to prevent them from acquiring parasites.
Provide them with sleeping beds that are situated in different parts of the house. Pick a quiet area where people do not frequently pass by. Cat beds can be placed on top of shelves, on top of wardrobes, on cat trees, perched near windows, or installed on wall-mounted platforms. They love climbing and this set-up caters to their natural behavior.
8. Purr-proof furniture
Those tiny paws can’t be stationary in one place. They need to climb on anything! Knead, if they must, and scratch to take care of their pointy claws, thus these actions often lead to damaged furniture surfaces.
Choosing the right piece of comfortable, durable, and easy-to-clean furniture makes all the difference.
9. Keep appliance doors closed
Cats can climb and go inside an open washer, refrigerator, oven, or any appliance where they feel safe and comfy. Make it a habit to double-check before starting an appliance or we might find our stubbornly sweet pal in danger. Whenever you see any open appliance door, close it!
10. Safeguard ornamental displays
Skip decorations like ribbons, tinsels, real candles, and small holiday ornaments. These items can be choking hazards for cats and can cause serious health issues.
Go for large-size decorations. Secure or anchor down mantelpieces, breakables, and Christmas trees to prevent them from being knocked or played. Sprinkling these areas with household peppers can help deter cat-climbing activities.
11. Fixed tall furniture on walls
Secure tall bookcases, shelves, cabinets, and other furniture to the wall. Use furniture restraints or anchoring kits like straps and studs which can be bought in hardware stores or online shops.
Other furniture can be bolted together for stability. Avoid overloading to prevent unexpected breakdowns when your feline friends pounce on it. Inspect your furniture’s strength regularly.
12. Tie curtains or blinds
Protect window treatments by offering distractions nearby, such as cat trees, toys, and vertical spaces.
Choose scratch-proof fabrics such as microfibers and velvet. Both are durable and easy to clean. Room-darkening, insulated, or blackout curtains are a popular choice for pet owners because of their thickness. It can withstand scratching for a long period of time, reduces noise, and blocks out light.
Avoid low-hanging curtains and do not attach dangling cords like tassels, clips, tieback ropes, or anything hanging.
If curtains don’t work for your cats, ditch them! Install bamboo shades and vertical or roller blinds instead.
13. Store away breakable and valuable furniture
Cats love to explore and might accidentally knock on fragile items. It’s best to store them in enclosed and locked cases. Rearrange them in unreachable areas or away from corners and edges.
14. Conceal trash cans and compost bins
Select trash cans or compost bins with fit covers or locking mechanisms. Avoid or minimize food waste in your trash. Wash the bins regularly and spray animal-repellent solutions. Stake them down, and build a guard or chicken-wire box around them to prevent animals from getting in or knocking them.
15. Keep mothballs away from cats’ reach
DO NOT use mothballs to deter cats. It’s dangerous to them. It contains either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene and may cause organ damage, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, seizures, and behavior changes.
If you use them for clothing, store them in tightly closed containers.
Go for pet-friendly deterrents such as organic citrus-scented sprays, oil of lavender, lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, and vinegar.
16. Keep candles away from curious kitty whiskers
Candles should be placed in enclosed heavy containers, secured and wall-mounted so they don’t tip or fall off with one whack of those cute paws. Assess the risk. Check the space if there is a nearby ledge or tall furniture that can be used by cats as a means to access the candle.
Use organic wax candles, such as those made from beeswax, vegetable wax, soy, or coconut wax.
17. Store medication out of feline reach
All medications should be stored in containers with secure covers, placed in closed cabinets, or in a designated drawer. Bags and handbags with medicines should be placed in inaccessible areas.
18. Handle essential oils and potpourri burners with care
Make sure cats are not present in rooms with essential diffusers or potpourri. Many essential oils are toxic to cats and they can cause respiratory or liver problems. If your cat has health issues, it’s better to eliminate these oils in the household:
- Peppermint oil
- Citrus oil (including lemon oil)
- Tea tree oil (melaleuca oil)
- Eucalyptus oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Pine Oil
- Ylang Ylang Oil
- Clove Oil
- Sweet Birch oil
- Pennyroyal oil
19. Keep the toilet bowl’s lid close
Kittens can drown or you may end up seeing your buddy drinking from the toilet. This may expose them to the chemical cleaners used and endanger their health.
Make it a habit to close the lid.
20. Provide cats with a litter box
A cat litter box can reduce the risk of stress in your cat’s bladder and prevent bowel problems. It satisfies their instinct when they can bury their waste indoors as well as prevent accidents around the house. It is a good alternative for cats to relieve themselves, especially when there are outdoor dangers.
By adopting these cat-proof strategies, you’re building a safe haven that promotes healthy routines for your feline companion.
Remember that every cat is unique, so observe your pet’s behavior and make adjustments accordingly. A cat-friendly home not only enhances your cat’s well-being but also fosters a strong and lasting bond between you and your beloved furry friend.
Also, educate family members, roommates, or housemates so they know the proper approach and restrictions for your pets.
Lastly, always err on the side of caution, and take action.
Source: Arm and Hammer