Here's How To "Kittenproof" Your House
Aww, Just Look at Those Eyes
Most pet lovers have had the experience of stopping by the local pet store, the Humane Society or any animal shelter just to “look at the animals” when “it” happens. That little puppy or kitten gives you that look that simply says, “Get me outta here, I want to go home with you”.
Puppies will jump around all excited, wagging their tail and yipping while kittens and cats are a bit cooler about it. But the result is always the same and you end up adopting that cute little critter that you instantly fell in love with.
Animals adopted from a reputable shelter are not allowed to go home with you immediately as they must get the proper vaccinations, maybe undergo a neutering or spaying procedure and get thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian. That will give you plenty of time to prepare your house or apartment for the newest member of your family.
Hold That Tiger!
“Kittenproofing” is important because not only will it protect the animal it will protect your furniture and other household items and possibly protect your sanity. We will focus on “kittenproofing” in this article but some of the tips will apply to new puppies and dogs as well.
The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” is even more apt for kittens. Older cats have likely used up several of their nine lives and survived the consequences of exploring “dangerous” territory like a high-rise balcony or an open clothes drier door.
Kittens do not yet have the life experience and will explore anything, especially small dark crawlspaces that they may not be able to exit from. Our first tip is to learn where the hideouts are and block the ones that seem dangerous.
One appeal of cats as a pet is that they are highly independent creatures and can be left alone at home for several hours. They do sleep a lot but when they awaken kittens are little furry dynamos with seemingly enough energy to light up a small village.
The outdoors can be dangerous for small kittens new to the territory so if you leave for an extended time be sure that the windows and doors to the outside are closed. Remember that a screen door is no match for a kitten’s sharp claws and incisors.
Our third suggestion involves entering the primeval brain of your kitten and realizing that little “Fluffy” has the mind of a tiger. They are hunters and with kittens, that means any dangling item in the house is fair game.
This could be a plant vine or the drawcords that open and close a window blind. And yes, they have been known to destroy computer mice as well as live small rodents. Be sure to leave dangling toys that satisfy that urge to conquer and kill but be on the lookout for other dangerous danglers, especially cords plugged into electrical sockets.
Here are more tips that will help kittenproof your dwelling:
· Put away fragile items that appeal to little creatures with a vertical jump of five or six feet. The exception to this might be the gift of a gaudy porcelain vase strategically placed on a table next to a few leaves of catnip. Fluffy may be inclined to “solve” that issue herself.
· Even with ample food and water, kittens will be tempted to try out what appears to be appetizing such as Azaleas and Rhododendrons that are poisonous to felines. Be aware of the toxicity of any plant that you choose to keep in a house where a cat will live.
· Just as you would with a small child, keep household chemicals and medications out of reach with the lids firmly secured just in case Kitty decides to knock them off the shelf. Another lid to be kept closed is the toilet. YouTube videos will show that it is possible to potty train a cat but until your kitten has mastered that skill, the lid is better left closed.
· Do prepare your house so Fluffy has places to jump, safe dangling toys, dark places to hide like a cardboard box and of course clean food, water, and a litter box.
Realize that every kitten and every household is unique so you will probably add more items to this list of kittenproofing steps as you watch your kitten grow into a happy adult cat that you belong to.