5 Major Ways to Cat Proof Your Home

5 Major Ways to Cat Proof Your Home - A Hassan.- cat proof your home

When it comes to the safety of incoming adopted or rescued cats, you should know these are 5 major ways to cat proof your home. These can prevent many first time mistakes, some which may be fatal. For each of the suggestions below which may seem obvious or pointless, behind it is an anecdote of a cat that has been hurt, lost, or worse. For something like safety, it is always better to be over-prepared and and over-researched than the alternative.

Windows and Doors


Window Safety: Cats can figure out how sliding or levered windows work and this can be highly dangerous, especially if they escape soon after arriving at a new home. In fact, this is when they are most likely to try and get out. During the time when they are still feeling unsafe in their new environment. Cats settling into a new home can make a run out of any exit if given a brief opportunity. This is also highly likely in the case of yet unspayed or unneutered cats. It is very important to always securely lock ALL windows to the outside. 

If a lock isn’t already present, or if a slight crack needs to be open for ventilation, install some movable or childproof locks to secure everything. Cats can also tear through screens, so be sure that tear-proof screening is in place. Metal grates fitted to the window size and secured with movable locks might be easier to install than tear-proof screening. 

Exit Door Safety: Warn all family members and visitors about your new cat. Be extra careful when returning home at night if the lights in your home are not turned on. It can be very easy for a cat to slip out in the cover of darkness. If you are hosting people and the door will be constantly opened and closed, it is better to keep your cat in another room with the door shut, during the event. 

Some cats can even open doors with levered handles. Due to this, especially with a new cat, it is essential to keep ALL doors to the outside securely locked at all times. A screen door and net doesn’t always guarantee safety. Make sure that these are securely fixed in place and cannot be opened or displaced by your cat. 

Always visually confirm where your cat is before leaving and after returning home. Inform local shelters, neighbours, and any affiliated foster organizations immediately if a cat does escape, so that they can help. To learn about what to do in case on an escaped cat, please read this post.

The Little & Big Things

The Little Dangers: While your floor might look clean at a glance, it is important to go over the surface very carefully to remove any small objects that can be swallowed by a cat. Cats can swallow anything from tape, to hairbands, to small magnets, to human medication. Anything small enough to fit into a cat’s mouth poses a danger. Be sure to thoroughly check under and behind furniture as well. Cleaning up the little things will be an ongoing process and all surfaces in the home should regularly be checked for hazardous items.

Cats will leap onto shelves and furniture tops. Make sure that tall or top heavy furniture is secured and stable.

The Big Dangers: Due to natural instincts, cats will scratch and climb on furniture. Since this becomes habitual, they will scratch and climb the same spots often until it gets frayed. They’ll even climb curtains and scratch at soft walls. It can be easy for young kitten to get stuck or fall off really high surfaces at bad angles. The best way to prevent unwanted scratching is by redirecting cats to scratch posts and possibly adding tape to protect other surfaces until they lose interest.

Under NO circumstances should you use any of the chemicals mentioned below such as citrus juice or essential oils to deter cats from scratching or climbing surfaces. Though posts on the internet may claim that these tactics work, more than anything else, they are highly dangerous and can result in poisoning! When in doubt, always redirect natural behaviours instead of trying to prevent them. 


Toxic Substances

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Laundry & Cleaning ProductsIn general it is a good idea to prevent access to the washroom and toilet for cats. Your cat can get access to all sorts of harmful chemicals and objects in these spaces. To prevent this, always secure washing chemicals and other dangerous items in a cabinet or space that your cat cannot gain access to. 

Washing machines and dryer access should also be avoided. Cats are known to enjoy dark and tight places and they do end up inside these machines for a quick nap. Always check inside your washing machine or dryer before turning it on if it has been opened and left unattended. For this reason, it is also best not to use the laundry room for the cat’s litter box. Instead, a space where the cat can have easy and safe access to their litter box is best.

Medication should ALWAYS be inaccessible to cats. Cleaners with pine or phenol are especially toxic to cats and should never be used to clean cat items. 

Many essential oils such as lavender, tea tree and citrus oil are toxic for cats too. Similarly, common plants such as lilies, tulips, and daffodils are also poisonous, along with many other common house plants. Finally, all citrus fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons, are also toxic if ingested by cats.

Please research all possible poisonous items for cats and remove them from your home prior to bringing a new cat home.

Small & Hot Spots

As mentioned, cats enjoy sleeping in small and dark places and this can often be problematic if they get stuck or become hard to find. Block all access to such places with tape or other objects. Some examples of potentially dangerous spots are inside vents or tubes, behind the fridge, under or inside the washing machine, inside a closet or dresser, or high up on air conditioners. 

A good rule of thumb is to always visually confirm where your cat is before leaving your home to make sure they won’t be stuck in tight spot all day.

Cats love sources of heat and they will try to get dangerously close to it. Be careful of cats getting near stove tops, electrical or space heaters, and even spending too long near open fire. If any items with hot surfaces are being used in the home, try to place a barrier around the object so that the cat cannot make direct contact with. NOTE: The handle of a pan on a stove might look like a fun challenge for the cat to jump and pull at. Keep pan handles turned inwards to prevent an accident.


Edible Objects

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Cats love chewing on wires and electrical cords. Wires that cannot be moved should be methodically taped down to prevent access. Be careful of cords dangling off heavy things such as irons or kettles. Cats tend to pull on these and can get injured if the object falls on them. These kinds of thick wires also aren’t immune and can be damaged beyond repair by your cat.

Loops are very dangerous for cats because they can become entangled or get strangled by them. Its best to go over your home and remove loops such as curtain loops. Even plastic bag loops should be cut if cats show interest in playing with them. Choking on these items are a real possibility for curious kittens. 

Garbage bins both small and large need to have lids. If not, cats may find the very things that you’ve thrown away for their safety, and eat them any way. As cats grow and explore, you may have to keep garbage bins in areas that your cats can’t reach. Over time they will lose interest but in the beginning, its always best to be extra cautious. 

Cats love packages that crinkle and since these often contain food items, they may chew through and ingest whatever is inside. To prevent this, it’s best to keep packaged items in containers or places that your cat cannot get into.

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