Kittens are curious little Teks who love to explore nooks and crannies. If you’re a new kitten owner (or soon to be), you need to kitten-proof your home and keep an eye on your new pet as he learns how to navigate safely. It’s also important to keep your kitty away from your favorite things!
Why protect against kittens?
A kitten is a small animal with a great sense of curiosity, a great sense of smell, and an amazing ability to jump, crawl, and use its claws. As a result, it’s easy for kittens to put themselves in dangerous situations — or cause harm to your flimsy decorations or dinner. For example:
- Kittens are fascinated by anything that moves and most things that can be moved with their paws. This includes wires, knickknacks, bathroom supplies and tablecloths. Some of these items can be dangerous to kittens; others break easily.
- Kittens love to climb and can climb almost anything. If they could, they would also slip through open doors and windows!
- Kittens need to sharpen their claws and also like to stretch their claws. That’s fine as long as they don’t rip through your favorite clothes or a good rug.
- Kittens have their noses close to the floor and, like human babies, like to put things in their mouths. Some junk is no exception.
- Kittens are incapable of distinguishing between human food and cat food, nor are they able to differentiate safe treats from potentially harmful foods.
How to prevent kittens
In many ways, kitten proofing is similar to baby proofing. Picture a toddler wandering around your house grabbing whatever interests them and putting it in their mouth. Next, imagine this toddler can jump, climb, and slide over you without making a sound—you get a pretty good idea of the task ahead.
- Start by looking around your house for high shelves, low cabinets, and hidden nooks. Will kittens climb onto shelves with valuable or fragile items on them? Will she be stuck in the cupboard?
- If you do needlework, keep your supplies in airtight containers. Needles and threads may seem like great toys, but they can be fatal if your kitten swallows them. If you do want to use the yarn as a kitten toy, be sure to put it away carefully after play.
- Use a rubber band to fold and secure the blind cord out of the cat’s reach. If she gets caught up in it, she might choke.
- Kittens can pick up almost anything and love to knock over trash cans. If you don’t want to find your floor littered with trash, buy covered wastebaskets and kitchen waste containers.
- Always keep the dryer door closed and double check the inside before use. Cats like to find dark, warm places to sleep, and the results can be tragic.
- Keep the floor free of stray rubber bands, ribbons, and twine. All of these are dangerous when ingested by kittens.
- Cover any food you leave out, because kittens have great noses and are attracted to all kinds of food. Be especially careful with foods that can be harmful to kittens; for example, chocolate is toxic to cats.
- Cloth curtains are best placed out of the reach of furry “curtain climbers”. Tie them firmly until your kitten is trained to scratch the post.
- Always keep the toilet lid down so the kitten doesn’t fall in or drink from it. Better yet, don’t let your kitty in your bathroom unless you absolutely must put her litter box there.
- Do not leave your kitten in the garage and keep the door closed at all times. Antifreeze is very tasty to animals and is just one of the common poisons in garages.
- Cover wires, such as tangles on a computer, with covers sold for this purpose. CAUTION: Twisting wires may cause a fire.
- There are many houseplants that are poisonous to cats. Flower arrangements can also be dangerous, so check before placing flowers within the reach of cats.
- Use animal-safe repellents. Commercial cockroach and ant poisons can kill cats if ingested.
- If your kitten is indoors or out, make sure your yard is free of snail poison, rodent traps, and other harmful substances. Even better: Fill your house with attractive toys and make him an indoor-only cat.