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4 June 2019

Keeping your curious new kitten safe may require intensive kitten proofing at home! Kittens can be some of the most curious creatures on the planet. They are prone to wandering off and explore all the things in their environment. This is essential for them to learn and grow.

So, it’s very important as a kitten parent to remove any dangerous items that may bring harm or lock risky items away so that your kitten or kittens simply cannot access them as they go exploring.

As you go around your home, pay particular attention to the following 10 tips to minimise risk and ensure a safe home for your growing kitten:

1. Check for Threats (at Kitten Height)

Just walking around at your regular height isn’t enough because you will probably miss little hazards at kitten-level. If these are left lying around, your kittens can be exposed to these threats. It may be necessary to get down on your hands and knees to look for cables, wires, or small objects your kitten could chew or choke on — access to flapping table cloths, window-blind cords, vents, cupboards, open craft or toy boxes, etc. All of these items should be secured, moved higher, or removed someplace else that your kitten is not allowed to access.

2. Invest in Child-Proof Cupboard Locks

Kittens love to explore and get into nooks, crannies, and cupboards. They can easily paw open a cupboard to see what’s inside and climb right in. Keep in mind that as your kitten gets older, she can even jump onto counters and tables to get to higher cupboards, so you may want to add locks to those as well, particularly if you’re storing anything in them (like medications or cat-toxic foods) your kitten shouldn’t access.

3. Lock up the Laundry

Kittens often seek dark, warm “dens” to sleep in. Don’t let the dryer be one of them! Also, remember to check the washing machine before loading and starting; kittens have been known to climb into these as well, with tragic consequences. The best course of action is to simply keep these machines closed when not in use so that your kitten won’t have the opportunity to climb in. Sadly, not everyone remembers this. If it helps everyone in the family to remember, post a sign in the laundry room to check for kittens before washing and drying.

4. Contain the Garbage

Kittens love to explore smelly things, which puts garbage cans high on their list of destinations. Invest in garbage cans with lids that are not easily removed by a curious kitty. The garbage can be full of scraps, food that may have gone bad, and other dangerous items that may be toxic or otherwise dangerous for your kitty. Even if your kitten is too small to get into your garbage can, keep in mind that cats also like to knock things over. They can be so persistent! So, make sure those lids won’t pop off easily.

5. Keep Floors Clean

Vacuum frequently and check under the furniture for any small things your kitten can chew on or potentially swallow or choke on. Remove any twine, string, rubber bands, ribbons, small toys, coins, needles, papers, and all other debris from the floor or any place the kitten can climb to prevent ingestion.

6. Watch the Bathroom

Cats are known for their dislike of getting wet, but a curious kitten may not know what to expect when first encountering a human toilet. A very small kitten could even drown there. So, keep the toilet lids closed at all times to prevent curious kitties from falling in. If possible, keep the bathroom off limits entirely when human supervision is not available.

7. Remove Dangerous Houseplants

If you have houseplants and are adding a new kitten to your home, these houseplants may need to move. There are many houseplants that a curious kitten might chew on. Many of these are toxic and could kill your cat. There are literally hundreds of plants toxic to kittens, so be sure to look yours up, but keep in mind that these are the most common offenders:

  • Any kind of lily plant (amaryllis, day lily, etc.)
  • Aloe plants
  • Azaleas
  • Begonia
  • Many types of succulents like the Chinese jade plant
  • Carnations
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Ivy
  • Daffodils (any bulb plant is dangerous for kittens and cats)

If your cat is an outdoor cat, there are several plant dangers she could run into there as well, so be sure to know your plants and keep your cat away from dangerous ones if you can’t have them removed.

8. Keep Human Food Off Limits

Many human food can be harmful to cats, so keep food in the fridge and close containers that can’t be knocked over or scratched open. Some of the worst for your cats include:

  • Garlic and onions
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee and tea

As a general rule, never feed human food to your kitten as the risk of feeding them something that contains these ingredients is very high. Just keep your kitten on the right kitty kibble appropriate for its age and health needs.

9. Lock up All Medications

Never leave human or animal medications at your kitten’s reach as this can have tragic, toxic consequences. Always keep medications, vitamins, or any other supplements inside of a locked, kitten and cat-proof cabinet or container.

10. Lock up All Poisonous Substances

It may seem like a lot of organising and cleaning is necessary, but keep in mind that many household items can make your kitten fairly sick. Clean up spills and keep containers closed and out of reach whenever possible including:

  • Personal care products
  • Paints
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Rat or snail poisons and insecticides
  • Automotive fluids
  • Craft supplies

Minimising your kitten’s access to all of these potential hazards will give you at least a little more peace of mind as your curious little friend goes exploring.

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