BY COURTNEY ELLIOTT
Helen Rushbrook / Stocksy
Ever heard that age-old saying about curiosity and the cat? Well, it couldn’t be more true. Cats are naturally inquisitive creatures, always on the prowl for adventure and exploration. But while their curiosity is endearing, it can sometimes lead to a bit of turmoil in our homes. If you’ve ever found your favorite vase shattered or your charging cables chewed to bits, you know exactly what we mean. That’s where cat-proofing comes in — a way to strike a balance between your feline’s boundless curiosity and the safety and sanity of your home. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the art of creating a cat-friendly, hazard-free haven. From securing cords and trash cans to providing enticing scratching posts and climbing toys, you’ll learn how to cat-proof your house in no time.
Why is it important to cat-proof your house?
Cat-proofing your house isn’t just about preventing your new cat from turning your home into a playground of chaos — it’s also about keeping them safe and happy. Cats are notorious for their knack for discovering hidden dangers, whether it’s tangled cords, toxic plants, or precarious objects that seem like the perfect thing to knock off a shelf. By taking the time to cat-proof, you’re not only saving your favorite belongings but also protecting your cat from potential accidents and hazards. It’s like creating a cozy sanctuary where they can roam freely without the risk of getting into trouble. Get ready to explore every nook and cranny of your home so you can make it safe and enjoyable, ideally before you introduce your cat to your space.
What are the potential hazards to cats in the home?
Making the house safe for your cat means being aware of anything that could put them in jeopardy. Here are some things to watch out for:
- Toxic houseplants: Some innocent-looking houseplants can be toxic to cats, so it’s a good idea to know which ones are safe and which ones aren’t.
- Unsecured cords and wires: Cats are notorious cord chewers, and that can lead to some shocking experiences (literally). Make sure cords and wires are secured or covered to keep your cat from getting zapped or causing chaos.
- Small swallowable objects: Cats have a way of finding tiny things to bat around. But those little objects can turn into big problems if your cat decides to swallow them. Keep those small items safely stashed away.
- Open toilet lids: You definitely want to avoid your cat taking a dive into your toilet, so always remember to keep those lids down.
- Chemical cleaners and substances: Cats can be curious taste-testers, and that’s not a good thing when it comes to cleaning products. Store them out of reach to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
By addressing these potential hazards, you’ll be well on your way to implementing some cat-friendly house ideas and creating a safer environment for your feline friend.
How to cat-proof your home
Now that you’re aware of the possible dangers that lurk in your home, it’s time to get cat-proofing. Here are the basics of making your house a safe and welcoming environment for your newly adopted cat.
1. Secure small items
When it comes to small and seemingly irresistible objects, cats have a way of turning them into playthings. Protect your cat from choking hazards by keeping these items out of reach. After all, we want your cat to have fun, not play a game of “swallow the thing now and ask questions later”.
2. Make all toxic foods and chemicals inaccessible
Cats can be little culinary explorers, but that can lead to trouble when they nibble on things like toxic plants, chocolate, or cleaning supplies. Make sure to keep these out of paws’ reach so your cat can stick to their kibble and treats.
3. Ensure tall furniture, curtains, and blinds are secure
Cats are natural climbers and love to perch in high places. To prevent any accidental acrobatics or damage to your curtains, secure tall furniture and window coverings. Trust us; your cat will appreciate having a safe lookout spot.
4. Protect electrical cords and wires
Electrical cords and wires can be irresistible chew toys for your curious kitty, but they’re not safe to snack on. Keep them out of reach or invest in some protective coverings to avoid any shocking surprises — for both you and your cat.
5. Provide stimulation and scratching posts
Bored cats can become mischievous cats, and that’s where stimulation and scratching posts come to the rescue. These are essential tools to keep your feline entertained and away from your furniture. A cat with their own scratching post is a happy cat, and a happy cat makes for a happy home.
What are areas of the home to cat-proof?
If you really want to cat-proof a house, you’re going to have to go room by room — you’d be surprised at all the hidden spots your clever cat will want to explore.
How to cat-proof the kitchen
The kitchen is like a treasure trove of smells and tastes for your cat. It’s also a place where they can potentially get into trouble. Here’s how to make your kitchen safe for your cat:
- Secure trash cans to prevent scavenging adventures
- Keep toxic foods out of reach and away from counters
- Store sharp objects and kitchen tools safely
- Be mindful of hot stovetops and boiling pots
How to cat-proof the living room
Your living room is the heart of your home, where relaxation meets entertainment. But for your cat, it’s a vast playground with lots to explore. To create a cat-friendly living space, consider these tips:
- Secure or cover cords and wires to prevent chewing
- Keep fragile decor and knick-knacks out of reach
- Choose pet-friendly furniture, and use slipcovers if needed
- Create cozy cat nooks with comfy blankets and cushions
How to cat-proof bedrooms
Bedrooms are a favorite hideaway for cats seeking some peace and quiet. Make sure this space remains a serene sanctuary for you both with these ideas:
- Keep small items and jewelry safely stored in drawers
- Use a doorstop or door wedge to avoid curious cats in closed doors
- Check for hiding spots under the bed and behind furniture
- Place plants and flowers out of reach
How to cat-proof bathrooms
Bathrooms may seem like an unlikely place for cat adventures, but they can pose some risks. Ensure your bathroom stays cat-friendly with these suggestions:
- Keep toilet lids closed to prevent accidental plunges
- Store medications and toiletries securely in cabinets
- Be mindful of curling irons and hairdryers plugged in
- Provide a non-slip bath mat to avoid accidents on slippery surfaces
How to cat-proof yards
For cat parents fortunate enough to have outdoor spaces, it’s crucial to make them safe for your feline’s escapades. Here’s how to create a secure yard for your cat:
- Install a cat-proof fence to keep your cat within the yard
- Create shaded areas to protect your cat from the sun
- Avoid toxic plants and chemicals in your gardening
- Provide outdoor cat toys and supervision
By addressing the unique challenges of each room and your outdoor space, you’ll ensure that your entire home becomes a paradise for your adventurous and curious cat.
How to kitten-proof your home
Kittens have an uncanny ability to turn even the simplest household items into playthings. To keep your kitten safe and your home intact, here are some kitten-proofing tips that’ll have you ready for their arrival:
- Use gates to block off certain off-limit rooms or areas: Think of gates as “keep out” signs for your kitten’s safety. Block off areas where you’d rather your kitten not explore — like rooms with fragile decor or valuable items.
- Supervise regularly: This one’s a golden rule of kitten parenting. Just like toddlers, kittens need constant supervision. Keep an eye on them, especially when they’re exploring new territories.
- Provide your kitten with a safe way to get on or off the couch: Your kitten’s desire to reach new heights can be satisfied with some strategically placed kitty steps or a low platform. This way, they can practice their acrobatics without any injuries.
- Begin training early: Teaching your kitten basic commands can go a long way in keeping them out of trouble. Start early with gentle training and positive reinforcement to create a well-behaved cat.
Remember, kittens grow quickly and even adult cats’ needs change, so you’ll need to regularly reevaluate your cat-proofing efforts as they get older. With a little preparation and lots of patience, you’ll turn your home into a safe, happy, and entertaining retreat for your new family member.
How do I keep my cat from scratching furniture and other items?
To keep your cat from scratching furniture and other items, invest in scratching posts and provide your cat with plenty of appropriate alternatives. Cats have a natural urge to scratch to sharpen their claws, so giving them a designated space for this can work wonders. You can also use cat-friendly deterrents like double-sided tape or a pet-friendly spray on your furniture. Cats usually don’t enjoy sticky surfaces or unusual scents. Regular nail trimming can also help reduce the damage they can do. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, consult your vet or a professional groomer. Most importantly, use positive reinforcement — praise and reward your cat when they use the scratching post and not the furniture.
What should I do if my cat has already damaged something in my house?
If your cat has already damaged something in your house, first check that your cat is okay. Once you confirm that they aren’t in any danger, assess the damage and decide if it’s repairable. Sometimes, a little DIY fix can do the trick. Clean up the mess thoroughly with cat-friendly cleaning products to remove any odors or stains. Then, put in the time to cat-proof your house to prevent future incidents. Cats can also unlearn and relearn habits with patience and consistency. If the behavior is challenging to manage on your own, consult a professional trainer or behaviorist for guidance.
Courtney Elliott, a proud Cleveland native living in Manhattan, blends her decade of writing and editing expertise with her unshakable devotion as a pet parent to her French Bulldog, Gus. When she’s not at her desk, you’ll find her frolicking in Central Park or engrossed in a good book at a local coffee shop.