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December 15, 2014

Cat-Proof Your Home in 12 Easy Steps

Make it safe for your cat to be curious (and playful)

  • Cats love to climb all over their home, so move anything breakable or harmful securely out of their reach. Mike McFarland/The HSUS

Curiosity and playfulness can get kitties into trouble. Take these steps to make your home a safe environment.

1. Avoid poisonous plants

Cats like to chew on grass and plants, but some of them are irritating, dangerous and even deadly to cats. Even non-poisonous plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Keep dangerous plants out of reach or, better yet, don't have them in the house. If your cat likes green stuff, purchase or grow your own cat grass

Learn what plants are dangerous to pets

2. Lock up cleaning supplies

Put child-proof latches on your cabinets to keep your cat from licking, chewing, or eating cleaning products. They contain dangerous chemicals. (And if you'd rather not have your cat investigate your pots and pans, you may want to put latches on other cabinets, too.)

3. Be mindful of medicines

Keep all medications, both over-the-counter and prescription (human and animal), in a secure cabinet. Child-proof containers aren't necessarily chew-proof. Be sure to pick up any dropped pills.

4. Safely stow fragile treasures

Pack away (or find a secure way of displaying) breakable objects. Cats love exploring, and they will jump on tables, cabinets, sideboards, and bookshelves. They may accidentally knock over and break fragile items, then walk or chew on the broken pieces.
Learn how to keep your cat from jumping on furniture

5. Unplug your home

Unplug electrical cords when they aren't in use. If your cat's a chewer, she could be in for a nasty shock. You can also put cords in a cord protector or coat them with a bad-tasting substance such as hot sauce or a non-toxic spray available at pet supply stores.
Learn how to stop your cat from chewing cords

6. Tie a knot in cords

Keep drapery and blind cords coiled out of reach. Your cat could strangle herself by getting the cord wound around her neck or choke on a plastic pull that she's chewed into pieces.

7. Check the dryer (and other places)

Look inside the dryer before closing the door, and keep it closed when not in use. Cats love to hole up in dark, quiet places, which can be a recipe for a tragedy. Kittens often climb into refrigerators, freezers and dresser drawers, so check these, too, before closing them.

8. Unset the table

Remove tablecloths from tables unless you are about to use them. New kittens who are curious about what's up there on the table will try to climb the tablecloth. The result could be broken china and crystal—and an emergency trip to the veterinarian.

9. Put a lid on the toilet

Keep the toilet seats down. A kitten could fall in and be unable to get out.

10. Keep disposal switches under cover

Cover garbage disposal switches. Natural climbers, cats usually find their way to the kitchen sink sooner or later. Many have been known to play with electric switches such as the one for a garbage disposal. Special covers are available at hardware stores to help avoid disaster.

11. Secure your screens

Make sure your screen door and window screens have secure, sturdy latches. Don't run the risk that your cat could slip out unnoticed.

12. Clip those claws

Indoor cats don't wear down their claws as quickly as outdoors ones do, so they can overgrow. Untrimmed claws can grow into a cat's paw pads, leading to infection, pain, and difficulty walking and using the litter box. Declawing is not a good option. Check your cat's claws every couple of weeks to see if they need to be clipped.
Learn how to trim your cat's claws

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