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Kitten Proofing Your Home

Nothing beats a kitten for fun. But the feline "wonder years" can also be the most frustrating and dangerous time in your kitten's life. Do not let his sweet, innocent face fool you.

Behind those twinkling bright eyes is a mind brimful of curiosity, and the boundless energy to try and satisfy it. Kittens have a way of turning the most innocuous situation into a disaster. Whether you survive with your sanity intact and whether your kitten survives at all depend on you kitten-proofing your home. Kitten-proofing is done to make the house safe so that your kitty does not hurt himself. It also prevents him from laying waste to your house. First, try to think like a cat.

Invest in knee pads, get down on all fours, and tour your house at kitten level. But jumping and climbing kittens rarely stop at floor level, so you also need to kitten-proof the heights. Kittens do not have hands.

Instead, they use patting paws to explore their world and they stick their tiny noses into everything. Anything left within reach is fair game, so place anything breakable out of feline range. The more intelligent the kitten, the more ways he will find to get into trouble. Protect your kitten from houseplants and vice versa.

Chewing on houseplants like pothos and English ivy can cause toxic reactions. Kitty may even lick off the poison when he grooms his claws after shredding the plant. Keep plants out of your kitten's reach by hanging them or placing them on shelves. Choose nontoxic plants like the jade plant, the prayer plant,or the begonia. Kittens do not tend to chew as much as puppies, but they do play-attack and bite nearly everything. Electric cords can be particularly tempting, and bitten cords can result in severe burns or even death.

Get rid of as many electrical cords as possible, and check remaining wires regularly for signs of chewing. Tape cords to the floor to keep them from moving. Keep garbage away from your kitten. Although cats are generally more fastidious than their canine counterparts, the smell of scraps may tempt them to scrounge. Your kitten might be poisoned by eating chocolate or he might end up with an upset stomach that results in a predictable mess.

Securely fasten lids on trash containers, or store them under the sink or in the garage where he cannot reach them. Never leaving sharp knives, food processor blades or other utensils out on counters where he might try to lick them clean and cut her tongue. Like children, kittens have a tendency to swallow small nonfood items like coins, erasers and paper clips. Anything left out is fair game for the cat. Carefully cap all medications, and put them away.

Pills are fun to bat around the floor, but if swallowed can be poisonous. Christmas is a wonderful yet dangerous time of year for kittens. The tree seems meant for climbing, and the blinking lights and swinging ornaments tempt the most stoic kitty to indulge. But broken ornaments, extra electric cords, metal hooks or tinsel, sprayed lead-base "snow" and tree needles all pose dangers. Avoid placing decorations on the bottom branches, be sure the tree is securely anchored, avoid tinsel, and use ribbon to hang nonbreakable ornaments. Carefully inspect cat toys and remove small eyes or tails that come loose and may be swallowed.

Put away sewing baskets and tackle boxes. Kittens love to play with thread, string and yarn, but unsupervised games can lead to accidental strangulation, swallowed needles, cuts from fishing line or embedded fish hooks. Cats can swallow several yards of ribbon or string, which will require surgical removal. Tie up curtain cords out of his reach, or purchase breakaway cords.

The standard double cords on window blinds can hang and strangle a kitten. Always check cupboards and dresser drawers before shutting them to be sure your kitten is not hiding inside. Keep appliances closed or he may think he has found the perfect warm hidy-hole to sleep in, until the appliance is turned on. It may sound funny at first, but kittens die every day by being accidentally shut inside a dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer or stove.

Tristan Andrews writes useful articles about cats and kittens. Discover and explore the feline world. Find out how to better care for, train and live with your cat at http://www.i-love-cats.com


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