One of the most important things you can do before bringing home a kitten is to crawl around your living space and look down, around, and up from a kitten’s perspective.
Kittens use their natural curiosity to explore their world and their motor skills, as well as to sharpen their instinctive marking and hunting skills. Dangerous objects may be taste-tested and batted. Anything may be climbed on, under, behind or through. A kitten rubs against things to leave a mark then later, while grooming, licks what may have rubbed off on her fur.
Below are a few examples of what you can pounce on to make your kitten’s new home safer!
• Plants — Eliminate all poisonous plants and do not let vines dangle. If kittens chew on non-toxic plants, spray them with Bitter Apple to prevent chewing again. (A list of feline-toxic plants can be found at www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org. Visit our “Adoption 101” page.)
•Outlets, wires and cords — Cover outlets to protect little paws. Cover your cords or coat them with Bitter Apple or Tabasco to prevent chewing. Do not allow curtain/blind cords to dangle.
•Household chemicals — lock-up mothballs, detergents, medications and other hazardous substances.
•Open waste cans — cover or contain open waste cans, especially in the bathroom where floss and razors land.
• Tiny objects — Anything that could be swallowed should be picked up and secured as soon as it is dropped. This includes things like jewelry, small hardware, small toy parts or toys.
• Windows — check for loose screens and never leave windows open without tight screens.
•Open doors and drawers — Keep drawers, doors, and lids closed and always check for trapped kittens. You’d be surprised how easily a curious kitten can become trapped under the toilet lid or in the refrigerator, dryer, oven, or closet.
•Rubber bands, string, yarn, twist ties, ribbon, balloons — Pick up and store these items. Kittens have barbed tongues which point small items toward their throats in play.
•Balconies— Balconies are unsafe for kittens at any time. Cats do not recognize risk of height or “land on all fours.”
•Garage and basement chemicals — Keep kittens out of the garage and similar areas. Lock up chemicals like paint, paint thinner, anti-freeze and pesticides.
•Breakables — Put away glass and china collectables until your kitten has learned her limits!