How might you feel coming home and finding out that poor little Pookie has been stuck behind a suitcase in the closet while you were at work? Or, perhaps you were bringing your trash bag full of garbage out to the curb when suddenly you noticed something moving inside?
These things actually happened to Paco, my adorable gray and white feline. Although I was a veterinary assistant, I soon realized that cat proofing a home was something I was never going to learn on the job. Years later, and now a multiple cat owner, I have since come up with creative and practical ways of cat proofing a home and keeping your feline purring in the process!
1.) Cats love to climb! And we love to watch them partake in their silly antics. But be smart when decorating your home so that Smokey doesn’t knock over your favorite porcelain statue. Decide if your collectibles can stand up against the wall or be stored inside a cabinet. Use covers and casing whenever possible. If you’re a plant lover, your feline may see this as an opportunity to romp in the dirt or chew the leaves. Instead, consider hanging your plants. The general idea is to keep things securely in place and out of reach.
2.) The kitchen can be an enticing yet dangerous place for cats. When cooking, Princess may want to be where the action is. Instead, toss her a catnip toy so she doesn’t wander near your boiling noodles. Also, keep pot handles turned inward toward the stove so she can’t easily knock them over. Don’t underestimate the jumping abilities of a feline! Make sure knives and other sharp objects are away from her so she won’t lick them. We all know how much cats love tuna, but she can cut her tongue on the can. Keep it securely covered.
3.) Keep plastic bags that are being thrown out tied in a knot. You don’t want your favorite feline to get stuck in one. He may get all tangled up and struggle to get out. This can be frightening and possibly dangerous to your loving feline. And be careful when throwing out the trash. Smaller cats can easily hide inside large trash bags!
4.) If you’re considering putting an alarm system in your home, be aware that the movement of your cat can accidentally set off some systems. You’ll want to discuss this with your installer.
5.) Keep Kitty’s favorite resting spots safe! Whether he likes to rest on top of the washing machine, or take a snooze on top of the refrigerator, make sure there are no obstacles or slippery surfaces that could either throw him off balance or cause him to slide off while jumping up. Line these surfaces with a towel or blanket securely in place, and remove objects in his way.
6.) When buying furniture, consider your feline. If he is not declawed, you may want to choose materials that are not easily penetrated by claws. Wicker works well with cats because it is not easily scratched.
7.) Keep closet doors and drawers closed. Cats can easily get stuck in these places, sometimes without your awareness! Check for crawl spaces or hidden spots in your home and keep them blocked. Cats are very quick and can dart into a drawer just as you are about to close it.
8.) Do you have an indoor cat? If you do, make sure you have a screen door for your porch or deck, and always be aware of where your cat is when the door is being opened. These curious creatures are lovers of the outdoors and will quickly run past you. Be particularly on guard when having guests or throwing a party. You might want to warn people to open the door slowly and keep an eye out for Snookums!
9.) Exercise caution when lighting candles. A feline’s curiosity can cause her a few singed whiskers. She may even knock the whole candle over. It’s best not to use “open” candle holders that expose the flame, but rather ones that conceal it. Consider burning tarts with a small tealight inside. Sconces are also good choices since they are mounted on the wall.
10.) Perhaps the best trick of all to distract your furry friend from unwanted situations is to entice him with something he likes. Use his favorite food or a catnip toy or anything he likes to play with. Cats love long pieces of string and items that move quickly that they can chase. Next time Muffin wanders into the dishwasher just when you’re about to run a wash, try shaking his food bowl and he might just come running. Or crumple up a piece of paper and throw it. Chances are he’ll chase it. Good luck!