help your kitten adjust...kitten proof your home

A Kitten Proof Home

Kitten Proofing means reducing the risk of accidents at home. Kittens are curious and will get in trouble very easily. Watch out for mice traps and fireplaces and all sorts of dangerous places. Follow the proofing tips and keep your new cat safe.

Kitten Proofing Home Essentials

Hi Simba, I have recently purchased an adorable kitty.
There are many tight areas in my house where my kitten can sneak into. I can never find her and I am always scared that she will get stuck. What can I do to prevent her from getting into all those tight areas? Sara

Dear Sara,
If you are concerned for her safety, you may want to consider keeping her in a safe room when you are away so as to prevent her from getting into trouble.

It also seems you have a cat-proofing issue. As you know, cats are inquisitive and curious. They can also jump onto shelves, counters and table tops. They also love to get into trouble.
Below is a list of steps to take in Cat-Proofing your home:
  • Cords, Windows Cats enjoy batting around cords from hanging blinds. The danger is that they get tangled up and choke. Be sure to either anchor the cords or tie them up out of reach.
  • Decorations / Jewelry Do not leave fragile items (vases, glasses) or jewelry (earrings, chains) sitting on the coffee table or counters accessible to your feline friend. Best case you make a sacrifice to your new kitty's exploration. Worst Case, kitty swallows a sharp object and hurts himself badly.
  • Garage Unless it is a living area, the garage should be a 'Cat-Free Zone'. Garages usually contain too many poisonous/hazardous materials. Anti-freeze is particularly deadly and is doubly dangerous because of its sweet taste. Clean up any spilled anti-freeze and the keep garage floor thoroughly washed if your cat has access to it.
  • Home Electronics Electrical cords are a hazard to cats, as they love to chew and play with them. Consider buying cord management systems or instead tape cords together and then fasten them out of reach. The same goes for phone cords.
  • Home Office Rubber bands, paper clips, thumb tacks, broken balloons, Christmas tree tinsel and other small articles irresistible to cats. Simba's rule is that you put away anything you would not want a toddler to get his hands on.
  • Kitchen / Bathroom Kitchen cabinets are another danger zone. Be sure to place child-safety bands on cabinets where you keep bleach, detergent, cleaning supplies or personal hygiene products including dental floss. Cats love comfy environment and cabinets provide that. Be sure they relax in safe places only!
  • Laundry Room Clothes dryers are especially dangerous for Cats & Kittens. Cat love to snuggle up in warm places. Because of that, be sure to always close your clothes dryer doors so as to keep your furry friends out.
  • Living Room Kittens love to climb furniture and drapes. You might want to consider covering cloth furniture with a cover, blanket or bedspread.
  • Poisons Be sure to remove any ant/roach traps from places where kitty may find them. Cats love to chew and play with things and a roach motel can deliver a dangerous dose to your cat. Scour your yard and remove any ant stakes or snail bait. See Common Dangers for more information on dangerous plants.
  • Safe Haven Be sure to have a "safe haven"within your home when you first get your new cat. Stock this room with food, a litter box, toys, scratching post and a bed. This will give your friend a chance to acclimate to your home and you some time to cat-proof your house.

I hope this has been of help to you. Be sure to check out Newborn Kitten Care and Feeding Kittens for the basics on care. Keep me posted. Simba

Protecting a Kitten From Fireplace

Dear Simba,
My overly curious and busy 6-month-old tortoise kitten Mocha has a deep fascination for our fireplace.
cat scratch postUltimate Scratch
A few weeks ago, we had the fireplace on and Mocha jumped through the heavy mesh screen. She scorched the hair on her paws and had minor burns on two of her pads, which was bad enough. The vet was stunned by this behavior.

One would think she learned a lesson, but she is still trying to get as close to the fireplace as possible. I have tried hand clapping, rattling paper in her face (which she hates), water, NO, time outs to the bedroom and have even resorted to a spanking, but nothing seems to deter her. Short of telling us never to use the fireplace, do you have any ideas? Kendall

Dear Kendall,
A daredevil kitten! It might not be a bad idea to get a Scat Mat. These are place mat-like things you place in areas where you do not want kitty to approach. They give off an unpleasant sensation when stepped on. Placing one in front of the fireplace might do the trick. Regards to Mocha, Simba

Mice, Traps & Poison Danger for Kittens

Dear Simba,
I am thinking about adopting a 7-week-old kitten. My concern is that I have is that I discovered mice in my apartment. I first tried poison, but the mice did not go away. I am now using traps.

Is this a dangerous environment for a kitten? Will she scare them off? Should I be worried about the mice carrying poison in their system, especially if the kitten catches one? Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,
You ask the right questions. A home with live traps and poison residue is not a safe place for a playful and curious kitten. In addition to the risk of injury or poisoning, rodents are known to carry fleas and diseases that can affect your kitten's health. It may be a good idea to 'purify' the environment prior to your brining home your little bundle of joy.

Prior to bringing in your friend do the following:
  • Seal off any places from which the mice might access your home such as pipes in laundry room, bathroom and kitchen pipes/cabinets (steel wool works great for this).
  • Set traps to capture any mice remaining inside.
  • Another idea, and I do not know of its effectiveness is to put sweet, carbonated soda in a plate/saucer and leave it out for the mice. Supposedly, this helps eliminate them. (use only in homes without pets and small children)
  • Another 'household fix' involves instant mashed potatoes. The instant potatoes supposedly expand in the mice's bellies and cause them to go away. (use only in homes without pets and small children).
Hopefully, this along with a thorough cleaning to remove any residue will make yours a safe home for your new friend. Simba

Accidents at Home with Cats

Hi Simba,
I use to have a beautiful gray and white kitten named Whisper. I called her that because she was so quiet and you never knew where she would end up. Well, in 2009 when she was all but 6-months-old, She crawled into my dryer while I was washing up my large curtains. I did not notice and turned it on. About 10 minutes later, my son asked me what was banging in the dryer. I told him it that was probably the curtain all bunched up. I pulled the curtain out and there was my precious Whisper. She died of a broken neck. Please let everyone out there know, cats love dryers because they are warm. do not leave them open and always check before you put any clothes in there. Especially if you have kittens. Because I did not, My Whisper died. I loved her a lot. Karen

Dear Karen,
Thank you for the story, my heart goes out to you. Readers, be careful and take note. Simba

My 2-month-old kitten was under a chair and someone sat down and he was squashed. Afterwards we took him out and he was breathing VERY fast and there was blood on his paw and we do not know where it came from. My dad took him to an emergency vet. He seemed very much in pain and looked like he was dying. I do not know what to do and I am in despair. Please tell me what you think. KS

Hi KS,
How awful! I certainly hope that your vet was able to help him. Give your little friend all the love an support you can. The Death of a Friend section may be of some comfort to you should your kitten not make it. Please keep me posted. Simba

My kitten did not make it. He was suffering too badly so I decided to have him be put down. The vet thought it would be the best thing. He had massive head injuries, his jaw was broken and he had internal bleeding. I loved him very much. Thank you very, very much, Kiri Smith----sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you. Simba

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