Kittens are adorable, but they can also be destructive—so much so that their reputation for wrecking and eating everything in sight has become a cliché. However, many new kitten owners underestimate how destructive kittens can truly be. Before getting the new fuzz ball and taking your kitten home, here is an actionable guide to kitten-proof your home.
Why Kitten-proof Your Home
Before getting a kitten, pet or not, it’s always prudent to prepare your home. Kittens are curious and full of energy. They will want to explore every inch of the house, so making sure they know where not to go is crucial.
A lot can happen in a day with cats—whether it’s peeing on the carpet or knocking over the newest vase you got for your mom.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to set up your home for success with these fuzz-balls.
First things first: declutter. Cats love to hide in dark places and make themselves comfortable, but decluttering will make your life easier because you’ll be able to see everything that needs cleaning or replacing much quicker.
Next, make sure your furniture isn’t too high up off the ground. Cats love climbing furniture and jumping onto tables to investigate what you’re doing at all times of day and night! This makes them perfect spies: they can tell when you had a slice of cake for breakfast and when you took out the garbage last night. It also means they can get hurt if they fall off of something high up like a table or countertop. To avoid this risk, lower any unstable objects that could be climbed
Make Sure Your Home is Safe For the Kitten
The first step towards kitten-proofing your home is to assess it for hazards. Is there anything in the house that could hurt a fragile little kitten?
Luckily, most homes already have a lot of safety features. However, there are some things you need to be aware of.
For example, if you have stairs or blinds in your house, make sure they’re secured with latches or heavy items so the kitten doesn’t fall off and injure itself.
Also, keep any poisonous substances out of reach from kittens as well as any electrical cords that a curious kitten might chew on and end up getting electrocuted. Other things to watch out for include toxic plants and surfaces that can harm the furry friend.
Lastly, make sure to equip your home with plenty of litter boxes so the little fuzz ball has a place to do its business without having an accident on your carpet.
The Top Five Household Items to Kitten-proof
Because kittens are curious by nature, they are often attracted to objects that are dangerous for them. The following are five household items that can pose a danger to kittens when left alone in the house.
1) String—Strings can be swallowed whole or wrapped around their necks, which could either kill them or cause them to choke.
2) Nail Clippers—Kittens will likely try to paw at or chew on your nail clippers while you’re clipping your nails. They may also accidentally cut themselves with the blade if they bite down on it.
3) Plants—Toxic plants, like philodendrons and azaleas, can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats.
4) Toothpaste—As tempting as it might be for kittens to get into toothpaste when they see you brushing your teeth, it’s not safe for them. Toothpaste contains fluoride, which is poisonous for animals and humans alike.
5) Cleaning Supplies—cleaning supplies like ammonia can irritate your cat’s respiratory system and lead to serious health problems down the road.
Make things inaccessible from their vantage point
Kittens love heights. Make sure all your wires and potentially dangerous items are off the ground and out of reach from a kitten’s point of view. This will keep your kitten safe and your property unharmed.
Use clear garbage bags to contain leaks and messes
Every new kitten owner needs to know that kittens have a tendency to nibble on wires, knock things off shelves, and spread litter all over the place. One way to contain leaks and messes is by using clear garbage bags.
Leaving trash bags open or uncovered can result in litter being strewn everywhere. Clear garbage bags will provide protection for the actual trash bag contents while still allowing you to see what’s inside.
Another benefit of using clear garbage bags instead of traditional opaque ones is that it allows you to see whether there are any leaks or messes happening inside your trash can before reaching in and touching anything.
Keep furniture and other soft items out of reach
Kittens are climbers, and they do not care how high up the tree they go. Like many cats, kittens like to jump onto furniture and other soft items that they can then flip over or tear apart with their claws.
As soon as you bring your new kitten home, the first thing you should do is remove all loose items from your home—this includes items like blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, duvets, and clothing. Place these soft items in a closet or somewhere out of reach so that your cat can’t get at them.
If you have a tall enough cat tree in your home, this could be a good place to keep these types of things until your kitten is older. If it’s not possible to put these items elsewhere in your home, try using a tall decorative basket for this type of stuff instead.
Buy the right kind of scratching post
The first step to kitten-proofing your home is buying the right scratching post. Your post should be tall enough that the cat can scratch it without touching the floor. It should also be stable, so that it won’t wobble when your cat scratches its nails against it.
If you happen to have a corner in your house where you want to place the post, make sure there are things on either side of it to provide stability. If you don’t, attach two pieces of wood to the wall and place the post between them.
Protect Your Plants from Kitten Mischief
Kittens love nibbling on plants and leaves. Some owners might not mind this because they don’t have many plants in their home. However, if your prized potted plants are sitting around your house, you’ll want to make sure that your new kitten knows it’s off limits.
You can use a spray bottle of water to keep plant-loving kittens away from plants. Simply spritz them away whenever they come near.
Also, be sure to use a spray bottle of water when you’re potting up new plants and replanting old ones to protect them from kitty teeth and claws. This will also help the soil stay moist longer and allow roots to form more effectively.
If you’re unable to train your kitten with a spray bottle, try spraying any exposed dirt with an animal repellent made for cats or dogs—these products taste bitter and will deter your kitten from coming near the dirt.
Digital Security For Your Kitten
Since your new furry friend will be exploring every room of your house, it is essential that you properly secure your home. Kittens can easily get into cabinets and counters where they can find things like cleaners or other chemicals. And, with their curiosity and playful disposition, they will no longer be content with just looking and smelling.
The easiest way to kitten-proof your home is to keep all the dangerous chemicals locked up and out of sight. If you do this, there is little chance that your kitten will ever go digging in those cabinets for a snack.
It’s also important that you make sure that the items on counters are child-resistant as well as anything else on elevated surfaces (high chairs, tables). If you’re not sure if something is child-resistant, there are some helpful guides online for finding out how difficult it would be for a toddler or pet to open it.
Besides being able to reach more areas of the house with greater ease, kittens have a sense of playfulness that makes them want to jump on high furniture and explore any object they can get their paws on. Unfortunately, this usually means trouble for anything directly beneath them. It’s important to put any breakables away from areas where your kitten spends most
Toys and Treats For Your Kitten
If you’ve ever wondered what a feline’s favorite toy is, wonder no more. Kittens absolutely love to play with anything that isn’t nailed down, and any little furry creature they can get their paws on.
One of the best ways to keep your kitten from destroying your home is by giving it plenty of toys to play with. Whether you buy expensive toys or make your own, make sure to have enough for each room of the house. This will help hold them over until they can explore what all those fun-looking things are!
In addition to toys, kittens also love treats – especially if they’re not getting much food at home. Giving them a small treat before a mealtime will help keep them satisfied and prevent them from going for the food dish when you’re not looking.
Kittens need plenty of stimulation in order to be happy and healthy, so it’s important to give them lots of attention as well as plenty of toys and treats!