Impossibly cute, curious, and adventurous, kittens need us to protect them from themselves so they can grow up safe and sound. If you have welcomed a kitten into your life, it means you'll need to kitten-proof your home. Like childproofing, all it takes is a fierce protective instinct and common sense to ensure your wee fluffy bundle of joy stays safe.
And just to make sure, here's our comprehensive list of kitten safety tips to help your kitten successfully navigate her way through kittenhood and seamlessly transition into adulthood. Ideally, you'll prep your kitten's space before you bring her home.
See your home through your kitten's eyes
You almost have to think like a kitten to see your home—your kitten's whole world—through his eyes. That kitten's eye view means assessing the landscape of your home from his vantage point. And no matter your kitten's age—from eight weeks up to a year old and beyond—it is incredibly low to the ground in contrast to your view when you're standing. So that's where you must start kitten-proofing from the floor up, because you can be sure he'll be investigating every square inch of his turf. And when you're down on your knees looking for potential hazards, you may be surprised at what you find on low shelves, under sofas, and in other nooks and crannies that will need to be removed to keep your kitten safe.
Remove small items and debris from the floor
Down at ground level, you're sure to find lots of items that could be dangerous for your kitten. From that missing board game piece to hair ties, twist ties, rubber bands, ribbons, and strings to that piece of plastic that seals your loaf of bread, every loose, small item is a potential toy to bat around and a hazard for your kitten.
Hide your buttons, beads, paperclips, and cleaners
Keep your sewing, craft, and office supplies out of reach of your kitten and in locked cabinets. Kittens can easily become tangled up in yarn or stab themselves with a knitting needle or puncture an eye, or even ingest a sharp sewing needle or paperclip. And when it comes to those bottom cupboards filled with disinfectants, cleansers, furniture polish, bleach, paint, paint thinners, and antifreeze, you should install child-proof latches to keep all cupboard, cabinet, and cubbyhole doors secure and kitty safe.
Make your medications inaccessible
If you're in the habit of leaving your plastic pill bottles and other medications on the table or bathroom counter, you'll need to find a secure spot for them, since a determined kitten can chew through plastic. And if you happen to drop a pill on the floor, make sure to pick it up pronto, before your kitten gets to it. Everything is game for a kitten, and medications can be deadly.
Locate potential hiding places
Kittens love to hide, and due to their amazingly flexible bodies, they can squeeze into some tiny spaces. Do a sweep of your home for any potential hiding places and secure them with child-proof latches or locks. Always keep your dryer and washer doors closed. You should conduct a "kitten check" to make sure where your kitten is before you go out and when you come back to make sure he isn't holed up in a place he can't easily get out of like a shoe box in a closet, for instance, dresser drawer, or even the refrigerator.
Secure electrical cords and electrical outlets
Everything within their view is enticing to kittens. Shorten up and tape down or tack electrical cords up high out of reach of your kitten to prevent chewing and electrical shock. Similarly secure telephone wires. You can install tubular cord covers, available at hardware stores, to neatly hide unsightly cords and protect your kitten. Further, you can also install electric socket outlet plugs, some of which even lock with a key, in all the ground-level electrical sockets throughout your home.
If your kitten sees a cord dangling onto the floor, for example, an iron you've unplugged, it's tempting to play with and if she starts batting it around, the iron could come tumbling down on top of her and potentially cause serious injury. Ditto hair dryers, kitchen appliances like skillets, food processors, and toasters that may not only be hot but also heavy enough to do real damage to a kitten.
Keep kitchen surfaces cool (or keep the kitten out of the kitchen)
Never leave your stove unattended. Check that the burners on your stovetop are off and are cool to the touch before allowing your kitten into the kitchen. Hot splatters from grease when you're cooking or pots of water boiling over are just one more reason that kittens and kitchens are not compatible.
Keep the toilet seat lid down
Keep the bathroom door closed or ensure the toilet seat lid is always down to keep your kitten out of harm's way. Exploring kittens can make their way onto a toilet seat and easily fall into the toilet and drown. Or, be at risk for poisoning if they drink toilet water that has been treated with a disinfectant.
Toss poisonous houseplants
Remove any houseplants or make them inaccessible to your kitten, for example, by hanging plants in baskets from the ceiling or placing them on top shelves that are impossible for your kitten to access. Learn which houseplants are poisonous to cats and remove them altogether.
Make sure that window screens fit snugly
Check all your window screens to ensure they fit tightly by pushing on them. Loose screens are notoriously dangerous for kittens and adult cats who may set their sights on a bird outside and try to rush through the screened window, particularly if the room is not at ground level.
Keep kitty off the balcony
To prevent falls, keep your kitten off the balcony, upper porch, or a high deck.
Choose cordless blinds
To prevent potential strangulation by the neck or strangulation of any body part, and also a choking hazard, replace any corded blinds in your home with cordless blinds. Keep them rolled up high to protect the blind from your kitten's claws.
Don't buy anything in plastic six-pack holders
Six-pack beverage holders should be avoided, or at least, always be cut with scissors to break each round opening and immediately discarded, safely away from your kitten. Kittens can become entangled in these plastic death traps and be strangled, just as wildlife can when uncut holders go into the garbage.
Supervise your kitten when playing with toys
Most cat and kitten toys should only be played with under your supervision. Plus, interactive playing is a bonding experience. Fuzzy and even sharp bits and pieces of many toys tend to chew off pretty easily and can get lodged in your kitten's throat, or even swallowed, necessitating an emergency visit to your vet.
Living with a kitten comes with a great deal of responsibility to ensure his environment is safe from potential hazards; from installing child-proof latches on cupboards, to keeping the lid closed on the toilet, removing poisonous plants, securing window screens, and using only cord-free window blinds, and much more, there's lots to do before your new kitten comes home, but anyone who has ever had a kitten will tell you it's more than worth it to watch a sweet kitten happily thrive and grow into a beautiful adult cat, accident-free.