Cat Proofing Your Home, Meow
Owning a cat is, well, the cat’s meow. Purrs, head butts, snuggles, and crazy cat antics are among the best parts of cat ownership. What’s not-so-great, however, is the furniture scratching, cord chewing, jumping up on the counter, and pooping outside of the litter box.
So what’s a cat owner to do? We recommend following these simple tips for cat proofing your home in an effort to help your pretty kitty resist the temptations of curiosity.
Really Kitty, Again?
Cats are indeed mysterious creatures, but some seemingly strange cat behaviors are simply expressions of natural instincts that, while essential for survival in the wild, don’t translate well to suburban homes.
Maybe your kitty has a little cat-scratch fever (figuratively, of course; although there really is a condition called that), or would rather snoop around the kitchen counter than the back yard… Whatever trouble your cat may find, there is pretty much a cat-proofing measure you can take to tame it.
Cat Proofing 101
While cats are often viewed as “low maintenance” pets, any seasoned cat owner will tell you that this simply isn’t true. Cats need the same love and attention we give our canine or pocket pet companions, especially when it comes to their safety.
For your sanity, and your cat’s safety, we recommend the following cat proofing measures:
- Invest in a scratching post (or two), and maybe even a kitty condo; not only will this save your furniture, but it may keep your cat from rearranging your great-grandmother’s china that you “keep safe” on the top shelf in your kitchen.
- Create a few special places for your kitty both up high and tucked away down low. Watch for the places your cat naturally wants to perch or hide and just convert those spots to cat-friendly status, if it makes sense for your home.
- Keep cords from dangling by bundling them with a twist tie, or feeding them through cord tubing or PVC piping (especially if they’re running snake-like along the floor). A kitty playing with a cord is dangerous for both your cat and your electronics.
- Keep your cat’s litter box clean, and make sure there are enough of them for the number of cats you have (the rule of thumb is one box per-cat, plus one more).
- Consider installing a ledge along a window sill for your kitty to perch on, especially if the view is good and the sun is warm.
- Learn which plants are toxic to cats, and keep them well away from your feline. There are plenty of non-toxic alternatives to grow instead and silk plants as another option.
- Don’t allow your cats to drink from the toilet. Small and elderly cats in particular can easily fall in and possibly drown. Keep the toilet lid down and their water bowls full.
- Many bathroom and laundry room essentials are toxic to kitties. Keep the beauty products, cleaners, soaps, and sprays somewhere that Whisker’s can’t reach.
- Speaking of the laundry room, be sure to check the drier before closing the door (and, heaven forbid, starting it up), as cats tend to love the warm, den-like nature of this appliance.
- Keep your trash, food refuse, and compost somewhere your cat can’t get in to. Many of the foods will be toxic, as will any mold or spoiled foods.
- Yarn and string may seem like the idyllic cat toy, but these tantalizing notions can cause intestinal obstructions, or worse. Tinsel is also a serious offender – don’t let your cat get too festive.
It’s also important to remember that a bored cat is a destructive cat. One of the best things you can do for your kitty is to keep him or her mentally stimulated. This means toys.
Feather teasers and laser pointers are great (#obvs), but you can go further still. There are some great treat dispensers and slow feeders to keep your cat working for the good stuff, as well as interactive toys to tucker your kitty out… Or you could just invest in a Roomba.
As for the kitchen counter? Well, good luck. The best thing you can do is to keep the counter clean and free of any tempting morsels or treats (including bread crumbs, soft butter, etc.) and employ some simple behavior modification techniques (and maybe a spray bottle) to break your cat of that bad habit.
If you’re having any behavioral issues with your cat, or have any questions about how to make your house a better home for your feline friend, don’t hesitate to drop in to our Austin pet hospital for a consultation with one of our feline-friendly ZippiVets.