Cat-proofing your home will not just keep your finicky feline safe, it will also give you peace of mind when he’s left home alone for a few hours. Cat-proofing is best done before bringing your new feline pal home. This is what I did before and after I brought my adopted cat George home. Hopefully this checklist will help you during your cat-proofing session.
If you have many decorative plants in your home, make sure they aren’t toxic to cats. I had an asparagus fern that was thriving, but after doing some research, I found that exposure to this plant can cause skin inflammation in cats, and that ingestion can trigger gastric upset. I gave the plant away to a friend, and ended up hanging some of my non-toxic plants on hooks on the ceiling, just so my new cat friend wouldn’t be able to get to them. A list of plants that are poisonous to cats can be found on the website of the ASPCA.
Cats are quick to mistake electrical wires for cat toys, and to prevent a possibly fatal accident, the wires are best place out of your cat’s reach and unplugged when they’re not used. I actually overlooked one of the electrical cords in my home and caught George rubbing his cheek on it. Luckily I was able to redirect him and get rid of the cord. You can also cover the cords with wire covers to block your cat’s access. I don’t recommend spraying the cords with a commercial cat repellent, because from personal experience I know that these repellents aren’t always effective.
Dangerous Chemicals and Medicines
Curiosity killed the cat, and if your cat finds his way into the medicine cabinet or the cabinet with the cleaning supplies, this could very well become a reality. Child-proof latches can keep your cat from opening the cabinets and roaming through them. Also use the latches on cabinets that are higher up, because cats are quick to jump on counters and climb their way up.
Windows and Doors
An open door or window is an invitation for your cat to slip out and explore the world. This happened once with George. He slipped out the front door when no one was watching, and was gone for 24 hours. After an intensive neighborhood search, that included posters and door-to-door checking, I found my furry pal sitting on the windowsill of our home, as if he was waiting for me to return. Since that day, all the doors and windows in the house have screens on them. I also make sure that the cords that pull up the blinds are out of George’s reach, because I’ve heard many horror stories of cats playing with them and getting stuck in them and hanging themselves.
Luckily my George is a very vocal and feisty, because I never thought that the dryer would be hazardous to him. One day, I was about to transfer the wet laundry into the dryer, and as I place the first wet towel in the machine, I heard a loud meow and George jumped out of the dryer. Turned out I had interrupted him during one of his many naps. He must’ve crawled into the dryer when it was left open. To this day, I always check the dryer before using it, and makes sure to close it after using it. I also close the door to the laundry room, because George has no business being between the chemicals and noisy machines.