With their tiny little toes, cute button nose, and playful personality, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of bringing home a new kitten. They’re so incredibly cute that they tend to trick us into thinking they can do no harm. And while there’s no denying that your new kitten is a perfect addition to the family, it can’t be all cuddles and head scratches. Kittens can be mischievous, and they have a real knack for getting themselves into trouble. Their curiosity and small size puts them at risk of getting hurt or lost. It’s important for every new kitten parent to take time to kitten-proof their home and set a few new house rules in regards to kitten safety.
Here are the most important kitten safety tips you don’t want to overlook.
1. Remove Toxic Plants
Cats of all ages like to munch on houseplants. Sometimes they do it for the taste, and sometimes they do it because they’re bored. If you have cat-friendly plants, this shouldn’t be a problem. Many houseplants and flowers, however, are toxic to cats. Azaleas, lilies, and oleander are only a few of the plants you don’t want in your home if you have cats. Because kittens are so small, even a small bite could be deadly. And even if the plant isn’t toxic, swallowing leaves and stems can sometimes make cats throw up, usually on your carpet.
2. Block Off Dangerous Hiding Places
Cats feel safest in enclosed areas, and it’s normal for them to seek out hiding spots. This is especially true for cats that are shy or still getting used to a new environment. Your new kitten’s tiny size means they can hide almost anywhere. It also means they can get themselves stuck in dangerous areas or hide so well that you’ll think they’re missing. Try to think like a cat and block off any nook and corner that could get them into trouble. And remember to look up. Kittens can climb!
3. Lock All Window Screens
Your kitten will be safe from predators and bad weather as long as they stay inside. Their curiosity, however, might get the better of them. Leaving the windows open for fresh air is fine, but be careful with your screens. If your kitten sees something interesting outside, they might try to push or claw their way through. Make sure all screens are securely locked, and it’s a good idea to keep windows only partially open to discourage climbing and scratching on the screens.
4. Put Away Dangerous “Toys”
Kittens and cats love to turn ordinary objects into super fun toys. It’s good for your budget, but it can also cause problems. Hair ties, rubber bands, string, board game pieces, sewing supplies, and doll accessories are all fun to play with, but they’re also dangerous. Kittens can chew and swallow these objects. If they don’t choke, they run the risk of causing an intestinal blockage. It’s kitten safety 101 to store these items in a drawer or cupboard and let your cat play with actual cat toys.
5. Hide Electrical Cords
Electrical cords look a lot like string toys to curious kittens. The rubbery texture is fun to bite, and cords are light enough to bat around. Obviously, playing with electrical cords is dangerous. Biting or clawing at the cord can easily cause electrocution or start a fire. It’s important to unplug everything within kitten’s reach that doesn’t need to be plugged in. And if it’s something that has to stay plugged in, wrap up the cord to make it less tempting and try to hide it from kitty’s view.
6. Be Cautious With Certain Types of Furniture
Recliners and motorized beds are safety hazards for tiny kittens. If your kitten decides to climb into your favorite recliner without you realizing, pulling that handle could cause serious injury. Make it a house rule to always locate the kitten or inspect the furniture before pulling the handle or pushing a button. You’ll also want to inspect your bookshelves to make sure all objects are secure. If kitten decides to climb up there, you don’t want her starting a book avalanche or knocking over precious heirlooms. You might need to redecorate for the sake of kitten safety.
7. Remove Insect and Rodent Repellent and Traps
Many store-bought pest repellents and traps are dangerous for kittens. They contain poisons that can be fatal for a 2-pound kitten, or at the very least, make them extremely sick. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your roach bait is safe from the cat if it’s under the sink. The smell of some chemicals can attract cats, and it’s not as hard as it looks for a kitten to get into a cabinet. Even traps without chemicals, like mouse traps or sticky traps, are dangerous.
You can accomplish all of these kitten safety tips even before you bring home your little bundle of fur. Remember, however, that every cat thinks differently. Pay attention to how your new kitten behaves and what kind of trouble they gravitate toward. You might find yourself in need of further kitten-proofing depending on how your cat acts.