John and Mr. Universe, his 6-month old kitten, were having a great play session with Mr. U’s favorite twisted pipe cleaner toy. The phone rang and John went to answer. When he returned to the room five minutes later, the bright green and yellow toy had disappeared. A two- hour late night trip to the specialty clinic and a $1500 vet bill later, the toy had been retrieved — from Mr. U’s esophagus, right at the point where it would have entered into his stomach. Happy ending, but it isn’t always so, where kittens are concerned. That (and many other stories with less happy endings) is why kittenproofing your home is a must!
Here are some tips on making your home safe for your curious and rambunctious kitten:
First of all, a young kitten (under four months) should not be allowed free access to the whole house without supervision. It is better to create a play area in one room where the kitten can be confined while you are not there to oversee their actions. Provide a cozy, warm bed, cat tree (best is wrapped with sisal), non-edible toys, food, water and litterbox (placed at least three feet away from the food/water). Even a bathroom with a window will do. It doesn’t need to be a large space. You can also create a “screen door” for the room with two pieces of wire-coated shelving, joined with nylon electrical ties (see attached photos).
Make family members and friends aware that a curious kitten can easily slip out an open door. Always be conscious of where your kitten is when you open a door to the outside.
In the kitchen, watch for these potential dangers:
Brooms — kittens like to chew on broom bristles and those can puncture intestines! Stand brooms on their handles instead of on their bristles.
Stoves — be sure to monitor the stove when there are pots on open burners. Kittens can leap onto the hot surface and even tip over pots. Turn handles of skillets and pots away from the front edge of the stove. Never leave an open flame without covering with a pan. Don’t turn away from an open oven.
Refrigerator — be aware that when you open the doors, the kitten can get inside quicker than you might imagine and you might not see them.
Cleaning supplies — make sure all bottles are securely capped and supplies are stored in a cabinet the kitten can’t open. Some kittens and cats are very resourceful and can open cabinets. Use childproof locks if your kitten is one of these feline geniuses!
In the laundry room, be aware:
Dryers — these are so tempting and so deadly. Always check the dryer and know where your kitten is before starting the cycle.
Detergent, etc. — keep this and other cleaning supplies in securely locked containers.
Livingroom, office and bedroom:
Wires under desks and around entertainment centers should be grouped and tied with Velcro or other ties, looped onto hanging hooks, if possible. The tangle of wires can not only lead to the kitten turning off or unhooking valuable equipment, but the kitten can get electrocuted or even caught in the tangle of wires.
Computers and printers — keep them covered, again for the damage a kitten can do (did you really want to send that fax or erase your drive?) but also for the danger to inquisitive paws and more. Personally, I keep my own cats out of my home office, due to the many “changes” mine have implemented on my system. Block access to entertainment center cabinets so your kitten won’t get into a place where you can’t reach them.
Keep paper clips and other small objects, such as ink cartridges and rubber bands locked up. Rubber bands are particularly dangerous if ingested.
Sewing and crafts — thread, threaded needles are incredibly attractive to kittens and are also deadly. Because of the backward facing barbs on their tongues, once a kitten starts swallowing a thread, they can’t stop! And it can get wrapped around intestines in a flash. Anything string-like (such as the price tag on new clothing) or thread-like is deadly for a kitten! Forget the cute image of a kitten with a ball of yarn — big danger! The same warning goes for buttons, small craft supplies, glue and glue guns.
Loop cords for venetian blinds up above a kitten’s reach or tie them high. Many kittens have inadvertently been strangled after getting caught in the cords.
Anchor all breakable items with earthquake putty, or put them behind closed cabinet doors.
Keep toilet seats down — put up a sign if a reminder is needed! Kittens tend to fall into the toilet and there is nothing for them to hang onto if they fall in. Keep any lotions, sprays, etc. securely closed. Q-tips are very tempting to kittens but are dangerous. Keep them locked away. Ditto for elastic hair fasteners!
A word about toys:
Do not leave “interactive” toys, such as fishing poles or Mylar teasers around the house for the kitten to find. These should only be used under supervision and then kept somewhere inaccessible to the kitten. Remove eyes and other loose or small plastic parts from toys so your kitten can’t swallow them. And I already mentioned the dangers of pipe cleaner toys, much beloved by many kittens. Be aware if your kitten is chewing on a toy and remove it if the chewing turns into eating (and possibly swallowing).
These are a few tips that will help you make your home a safer place for your feline toddler!
7th Heaven Orientals