If you want your cat or kitty to enjoy a long and healthy life, cat-proofing your home is absolutely essential. From the kitchen to the bathroom, there are plenty of spaces to address and items to store far out of reach. Don’t get intimidated: it doesn’t take that long and it’s really not that difficult. Taking just a few extra precautions could save you a lot of heartache and veterinary costs in the long run. Here’s a short guide to get you started.
1. KEEP THE TOILET LID DOWN
An open toilet lid is an invitation for a drink—a very unsanitary drink. Even worse, young cats can slip and fall inside, making toilets a drowning hazard, too. As a precaution, keep bathroom doors shut and toilet lids closed as often as possible.
2. LOCK UP MEDICATION
Keep medications, both prescription and over-the-counter (including vitamins and supplements), out of reach of your cat, such as in a cabinet or drawer. If like many cats, your feline can open cabinet doors, use locks or baby proof latches to secure them.
3. SECURE WINDOW DRESSINGS & CORDS
As cat parents know all too well, felines can’t resist anything resembling string. Case in point: window dressings and blind cords. Just like with children, these represent a serious strangulation risk to your cat. Whether it’s tucking them behind the top of the blinds or simply knotting them, find some way to hide these items from your cat. It might just save their life.
4.KEEP CHEMICALS OUT OF REACH / SWITCH TO NON-TOXIC CLEANERS & PESTICIDES
From detergents and cleaning supplies to pesticides and antifreeze, our homes are filled with chemicals that endanger our feline friends. For chemicals with non-toxic alternatives—like pesticides, kitchen cleaners, and air fresheners—make the switch if at possible. The long term side effects of these chemicals on our cats—not to mention ourselves—are both frightening and well documented. For the chemicals you can’t easily replace, like antifreeze for example, just be sure to store them far out of reach of your kitty.
5. SECURE TRASH CANS & RECYCLING CONTAINERS
Cats are curious, and one thing they often get curious about are trash cans and recycling bins. They’re full of interesting smells and sometimes food scraps our kitties would just love to snack on. But hazards like plastic bags, floss, bacteria, and sharp objects also lurk inside. Choose trash cans and recycling bins with securable lids, because once your cat pries off that top, there’s no telling what they’ll get into.
6. MONITOR FURNITURE
Furniture—especially items that recline or fold like sofa beds—are surprisingly dangerous for cats. Cats love hiding in hard-to-reach places, such as those inside recliners and underneath couches. As you can imagine, failing to check these spaces before use can have life-threatening consequences for your feline.
7. HIDE OR ORGANIZE ELECTRICAL CABLES & CORDS
If your cat bites into a live electrical cable, they could get shocked. If they get tangled in appliance cords, they could suffocate. In addition to health concerns, if your cat snags a wire, they could easily damage costly entertainment equipment or your cell phone. Make your life simple: organize, conceal or use cord protectors for exposed electrical cables and cords. For extra safety, unplug unused cables when leaving home (it helps save energy, too!)
8. REMOVE TOXIC PLANT LIFE
Some cats just love chewing plants. Even though non-toxic plants can still cause stomach issues, for the most part this habit is little more than an annoyance. However, if you have toxic plants inside your home, things can go wrong quickly. To sidestep an emergency vet visit, remove or stow away plants toxic to cats. Consult this list to know which plants to avoid.
9. KEEP WINDOWS CLOSED
A barely open window is plenty for your cat to escape and get lost. To keep things simple, never leave a window open unless you’re home and can monitor the situation. Do a quick check of your home’s window screens, too. Not only are cats notorious for getting tangled in loose screens, but if you live on a higher floor, a faulty screen could mean a nasty, potentially fatal fall for your feline.
10. KEEP HUMAN FOOD OUR OF REACH
Whether toxic for cats or not, keep all food in your home off counters and out of reach of your felines. Non-toxic foods can still cause an upset tummy, but more importantly, food packaging doubles as a serious choking and suffocation hazard.