Are you a new or soon-to-be cat owner? Congratulations! You can look forward to many years of happiness with your new friend.
But to get the relationship off to a great start, there are a few things you should do to make your home safe and comfy for your new kitty. You can start by making sure your home doesn’t harbor any environmental hazards for your cat.
TAKE A CAT’S-EYE TOUR OF YOUR HOME
You’re accustomed to seeing your home from a human’s perspective. Since you are a human, that makes perfect sense! But since you’ll soon have a cat roaming through your home, it would be a good idea to take a fresh look at your home from a cat’s-eye perspective.
That means getting down on hands and knees – yes, literally! – and taking a tour through your home. Get a cat’s-eye view of all of the areas of your home to which the cat will have access.
Here are some of the potential hazards you’ll be trying to spot:
- Breakable Treasures. Got an expensive and fragile vase sitting on an end table? Better rethink that! Or maybe some expensive and delicate glassware on a bookcase shelf? Probably not a good idea! Cats are inquisitive creatures. And anything breakable that is within their ability to climb and reach will probably end up broken. So protect your cat AND yourself by protecting your fragile valuables.
- Poisons and Plants. Ant traps, roach traps, mousetraps or poison – anything in your house intended to trap or kill pests might also harm your cat. So make sure your cat can’t get to any of those things. Cats like to play with plants, too, so be careful that none of your houseplants are poisonous to your cat (consult your vet if you’re not sure).
- Cords, Cords and Cords. Electrical cords and telephone cords are very tempting targets for cats. And of course, one well-placed bite and kitty will get a nasty, possibly fatal shock. So try to keep electrical cords out of reach. Any cords that can’t be placed out of reach can be sprayed with a foul-tasting, repellent substance such as Bitter Apple. Be sure to also keep hanging window blinds cords out of reach.
- Choking Hazards. Paper clips. Coins. Bits of string or thread. Thumb tacks. Left over Christmas tree tinsel. Anything small enough for your cat to get in its mouth might end up going further than its mouth. And that could mean serious health problems for your kitty and expensive vet bills for you.
DEVELOP CAT-FRIENDLY HABITS
Taking care of all of the above home hazards will get you off to a great start in making your home safe for your cat. But you also need to think about things that you’ll need to do on a daily basis to keep your cat safe.
Try to think of things that might be tempting yet dangerous to your cat. Washer and dryer doors left open, for example, or dishwasher doors left open.
Do you leave windows open on a regular basis? Better rethink that! It’s very common for cats to be injured or killed after falling from a high-level window. It’s so common that vets even have a name for it: Feline High-Rise Syndrome. And even if your windows are on ground level, you don’t want your cat escaping to the outside world, which is rife with hazards. So unless you have cat-proof screens on your windows, it’s best to keep them closed or just barely cracked open.
You’ll even want to learn to tread carefully, especially if you’re getting a small kitten. Cats can dash at your feet with amazing quickness, and if your kitten ends up underfoot the outcome is not likely to be good for kitty.
Consider a quality cat carrier to be a must-have piece of equipment. Even if you never take your cat on a trip, you’ll use the carrier for taking your cat to the vet. A loose cat in a car is a very bad thing!
But you’ll probably also find a cat carrier to be a handy tool at times for keeping your cat safe at home. There may times when work is being done to your house – an exterminator is spraying; carpets being cleaned; etc. – that can be quite hazardous to a curious kitty. A safe and comfortable cat carrier can be used as a temporary containment area, keeping your cat away from the danger zones.
Buy one that’s sturdy and well ventilated, and has doors on both the front and top. Get the cat comfy with the carrier before using it by taking off the door and putting some soft bedding inside – along with some tasty treats.
HOME SWEET HOME
It’s been said that it’s the little touches that make a house a home. And that will also be true for your cat. By eliminating the little, out-of-the-way hazards that you’ll spot when you take a cat’s-eye tour of your house, you’ll make your house a safe and comfy home for your cat.
And you’ll be more comfortable too, knowing that your home is a safe and comfy haven for both you and your cat.