Kittens are highly mobile and curious babies. During the first few months of life they can already eat, run, and play on their own. What they don’t have is knowledge of things that may harm them. Like a human baby, kittens learn by trying and they need our help to keep them safe while they explore their surroundings.
During the first afternoon of having my own two kittens, they discovered they could fit between the base of the kitchen cabinets and the floor molding. The space was a couple of inches wide at most and not large enough to fit a human arm. We eventually coaxed both kittens out, but our day 1 cabinet adventure taught me that kitten proofing is a necessary and detailed project.
Here are a few common household suggestions for kitten proofing around your home!
Tissues or Paper Towels
Kittens will rip these apart and carry the bits around the house or eat them.
Our kittens chew on the broom bristles and try to eat them.
This is a big one. Cords should be tied together (twist ties work, or Velcro bands are sold for this purpose, in addition to various cord covers sold at hardware stores) and also try to run cords behind and under furniture when possible, to make them less accessible to kittens.
Kittens love everything about window blinds. They will try to eat the cord (tuck excess cord between the blinds where kittens can’t reach) and don’t be surprised when you find them hanging from the blinds one day…
Kittens love string, as we’ve come to know from images of kittens playing with a ball of string or yarn. Contrary to that imagery, string or yarn can be very harmful to your kittens. When eaten, string can cause internal problems which may lead to a vet visit!
Do not underestimate your kitten’s ability to find and fit into the smallest of spaces. Get down on the floor and get a kitten-eye view. Block off any spaces with materials that you’re certain your kitten can’t move.
Beware of leaving small objects around the house, such as pens, hair bands, loose change, and anything else that a kitten can move. They will play with it, eat it, and hide it!
Fish Tanks or Other Small Animal Enclosures
Make sure these are secure! Your kitten could drown in your fish tank or harm your small pets (or vice versa!)
Remember that your kitten is a baby and learns by experimenting. Despite kitten-proofing, your kitten will get into things, but by making your home as safe as possible, you will help your kitten to have safe and healthy exploration!
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!