Yesterday I watched Marley and Me again… which made me extra excited about my new kitten! I’m amazed by this unconditional love that bonds pets and their owners. What is it about their mischivieous, cute little face that makes pets so adorable, even to the most macho guys? …OK, I’ll stop rambling. Back to kitten-proofing your home…
Boy, I never realized this cat was going to be so much work, already before even bringing him home (but I’m sure he’ll be worth it!). Cats (and especially kittens) are very curious creatures, but they are not aware of all the dangers around them, so it is up to you to ensure that the areas they can access are safe. Here is a list of things that may be dangerous for kittens and how to deal with them:
- Electrical cords – kittens love dangling cords (mistake them for toys), especially when they are teething (yes, kittens teeth!), but chewing them can shock your kitten (actually these are the most common type of injuries for kittens). You should hide them, but this is not always possible. Alternative solutions: cover them in a bad tasting juice (bitter apple spray, lemon juice, hot sauce, menthol), cover it in a flexible plastic tube (cat special cord covers are available), and provide attractive cat safe toys and crunchy food.
- Plants – some plants are highly toxic to cats, such as: aloe, lily, cactus, mistletoe, tulip, ferns, ivy, tomato, narcissus, onion!, chives, and snowdrops. Shortlist of plants which are toxic to cats: http://www.xmission.com/~emailbox/plants.htm. Complete list here: http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/Plants.aspx?plant_toxicity=toxic-to-cats
- Drawers & cupboards – keep them closed to make sure you don’t close them while they are behind or inside.
- Threads, ribbon, rubber bands, and twine – because cats’ tongues have tiny little backwards-facing hooks that “reel in” anything that they start to chew on which makes it impossible for them to pull it out of their mouth, so they will continue to swallow it until it’s gone, which can kill them.
- Window blind cords – make sure you cut them so they dont make a U shape at the end, as they might strangle accidentally.
- Toilet – keep the lid down, the kitten might fall in.
- Garbage containers – make sure you get a covered one, so the kitten cannot get to things that might cause him an indigestion or hurt him.
- Breakable valuables – remove them from open shelves, they might tempt the kitten and hurt them if they break.
- Insect repellant – use an animal safe one (some roach and ant poison could be mortal to cats).
- Washing machine & dryer – keep the doors closed (cats like to hide/sleep in warm dark places) and make sure the kitten is not in when you use them.
- For outside cats (which I do not recommend – see my post on indoor vs outdoor cats): remove any poison, rodent traps, and other hazardous stuff.
- Last but not least, get down on your knees and look around (to see the room from their perspective). Remove any sharp, small objects that can be easily broken, toxic substances, needles, etc.
Yup, that’s pretty much it. It will take a couple of hours, but it is totally worth it, it will save your kitten’s life or at least a few emergency trips to the vet.
Congrats! You’re now ready to bring the cute little face home :”)