Congratulations on welcoming a new cat into your home! Becoming a pet parent is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences.
But don’t let your excitement for your newfound feline friend distract you from the responsibility of prepping your home for their arrival. Cats cannot simply enter your home and adjust to the way you’ve always had it.
Careful consideration must be paid to the new animal you’re welcoming into your life, and you’ll need to grow together as time goes on. But don’t worry; how to cat proof your house is actually quite simple, you just have to understand your new pet’s basic needs.
If you’ve never owned a cat before, you’ve probably seen one at your friend or family member’s house climbing on top of shelves, knocking things over, or even clawing at the base of an expensive couch. But cats do not simply enter a home and decide to be destructive for no reason. Sure, they must be trained on how to behave in a home (which may include teaching them not to climb on shelves, counters, and tables), but you also need to make sure you’re keeping your house-bound cat stimulated while they’re there.
Just because you brought home a domesticated cat doesn’t mean all of their instincts from the wild go out the window.
Here’s how to make sure you keep your cat happy and your home life safe.
To cat proof your house, you'll need to do the following:
Eliminate potential toxins
Examine your home for loose wires and hazards
Alleviate your cat's anxiety
Hide breakables and valuables
Put away products and medications
Close doors, windows, and toilet lids
You may have potentially toxic elements all around your house without even knowing it.
If you have house plants, do some research (a quick Google search will usually do) and see if the type of plants you have may be potentially hazardous to your cat.
Common house plants like azaleas, daffodils, asparagus ferns, and even tulips can be harmful to your cat if ingested. You can either move these plants completely out of reach (like in a floating planter your cat cannot reach or jump to), or decide to move them outside to the patio or back yard.
If you like to use essential oils or potpourri throughout your home, make sure to cat proof your choices as well. There’s a long list of essential oils that are poisonous to cats, including cinnamon oil, citrus oil, eucalyptus oil, and even peppermint oil. Make sure not to have these oils open or exposed around your home.
There is also a long list of human foods that are toxic to cats, such as chocolate, raw eggs, and grapes, to name a few. Ensure that these foods are not accessible to your cat.
Just like when you baby proof a house, you must look out for electrical dangers that can get your cat into trouble.
Cats love playing with strings and wires, and can potentially become tangled or even choked if they find themselves in your corner of cluttered wires that hasn’t been touched or de-tangled since the ‘90s.
Make sure to cover up additional cords, like phone chargers and USB chargers. Cats also like chewing on new objects, so opt for a wireless charger or keep cords protected under a cover.
Additional hazards in this arena may include window blinds cords and any other loose strings your cat could get their paws on.
One of the reasons your cat might be scratching things they shouldn’t be could have to do with anxiety.
Scratching or having litter box accidents could be due to negative emotions your cat is feeling.
There are many cat-friendly products you can buy that will help your cat know that your home is a safe place. For example, you can set up a designated scratching post your cat can use to sharpen claws and get out extra energy.
Many cats have a difficult time adjusting to new environments or even being around new people (such as a new baby). Try a calming spray which will help mimic your cat’s natural pheromones to help them relax.
It may take some time to train your new cat not to climb on shelves and knock things over.
To start, make sure to clear away your valuable China, vases, and figurines so your cat doesn’t cause a major accident.
You also wouldn ’t want your cat accidentally stepping in shattered glass.
Do a final scan in each room your cat may have access to. You might as well scan each room because doors get left open, even if you have no intention of letting your cat into it.
Loose pills or vitamins on nightstands could be extremely hazardous if your cat finds them.
Make sure to close up trash cans in your restroom so your cat doesn’t get curious and play with the loose debris. If you have discarded floss strings or toilet paper in reach of your cat, it’s basically like throwing them into their own private play area.
Until you can trust your cat to stay where they're supposed to, make sure doors and windows leading outside (or to places you don't want your cat to go) are shut.
Keep toilet lids closed until your cat learns to drink from their own bowl of supplied water.
Eliminating as much clutter around your home is the best way to welcome in a new cat, so there are less places for your cat to hide and get into trouble.
Even though it may take a few weeks for your cat to adjust to your home, try to be patient. Your cat will eventually warm up to you and their new surroundings if you provide comfort, food, and an anxiety-free environment.