maine coon | kitten proofing your home | south africa

Written by David A.

Kittens are curious by nature and love to explore their new surroundings. The kitten will get into just about any nook and cranny within their power.  This can present some interesting problems but here are a few things you can do to protect your kitten.

Think like a kitten. 
In other words, if you were small and low to the ground, what could you possibly get into that you shouldn't? 

Think about blocking off access to get underneath your entertainment center or making sure the kitten can't get behind that refrigerator or stove, etc.  And remember, as your kitten gets older, it will have the ability to jump onto and get into areas that you may not want them to.   

By practicing some of the points mentioned in this article and the use of a little common sense, you will go a long way into protecting that small cuddly member of your family.

A Tour Of Your Home.

Since thinking like a kitten is only a start,  we are going to take a trip through your home, room by room, identifying possible dangers that can effect your kitten. 

The Bathroom.

There are many dangers in the bathroom which could make a kitten very sick or get hurt.  Here is a list of each hazard and what you need to do to protect your kitten. 

Toilet Bowl - Some breeds such as the Maine Coon actually like to play with water.  Your best bet is to keep the lid closed preventing the kitten from drinking, playing with or falling into the toilet bowl. 

Bathroom Cleaners, Medications and Personal Hygiene Products - Most of these products are considered toxic if not poisonous when swallowed by a kitten.  Please put these products away after you use them in a safe place where your kitten can't get at them.  If needed, use a child proof latch on your bathroom vanity and place products inside or place products inside your medicine cabinet out of your kitten's reach. 

Bathroom Decor - If you have anything such as candles, glass beads, figurines, etc. that you don't want the kitten to get into, place items away in a safe place. 

The Bedrooms 

Lotions, Perfumes and Medications - Keep  products out of kitten's reach by removing them from the night stand or the top of bureau.  

Place these items in a draw or up on a shelf maybe â€¨in a closet.  The key is to remove the potential hazard out of the equation.

Laundry - Place your laundry in a hamper where a kitten can't get into your clothes. 

Kittens like to play and chew on pull strings, buttons and even the fabric of the clothes itself.  By placing your laundry in a hamper, access to your laundry is denied.

Shoes - Shoelaces are very enticing to a young kitten since they just love to play with string.   To remove this hazard, simply place shoes in the closet out of the reach of your kitten.

The Dining Room

A room that we humans frequent to eat and a place the kitten will visit time and time again because of the smell of food.  Here are some of the potential dangers and ideas to make this room safer for your kitten.

Table and Chairs - Push all of your dining room chairs against your table when not in use.  This will make it much more difficult for your kitten to get onto the table by jumping on a chair and then up onto the table.

Table Runners -  You may want to consider putting these away and only using them on special occasions.  Use table runners only when you can place your kitten in another room for a period of time. This will prevent the kitten from climbing up the runner or accidentally pulling down your table settings.

The Living Room

The living room certainly has its share of potential dangers for a kitten to get into.  Here are some ideas to make this room safer.

Curtains and Blind Cords -  Until your kitten has learned what the scratching post is used for, tuck your curtains off to the side out of reach from your kitten.   In addition, take the pull strings from your blinds and tie them 

up so they are also out of reach of your kitten.   Not only you'll save your curtains from rips and claw marks but also prevent your kitten from getting tangled in the blind's pull string.

Electrical Cords and Phone Cords - Kittens love to chew things and it's up to us to protect them.  Please secure all cords by purchasing electrical cords covers that can be purchased at any hardware or home improvement store.  These covers are designed specifically to encase electrical cords and remember, not using the proper electrical cover could result in a fire!

Heating and Cooling Vents - All of these types of vents should have covers over them as to not allow a kitten to squeeze their way into the vents themselves. 

House Plants and Flowers (both real and silk) - Some house plants and flowers are poisonous and if swallowed by kitten can make them very sick or sometimes can cause death. 

Common House Plants and Flowers  - A partial list considered poisonous to your kitten: 

Azaleas, Daffodils, Elephant Ear, Eucalyptus, Ferns, Geraniums, Holly, Hydrangea, Lillies, Marigolds, Morning Glory, Mistletoe, Poinsettia,  Rhododendron, Tulips and â€¨Tomato Plants.

Common House Plants and Flowers  - A partial list considered safe for your kitten: â€¨â€¨Basil, Catnip, Dahlias, Dill, Lavender, Mint, Oregano, Peppermint, Roses, Rose Mary, Sage, Snap Dragon, Spearmint,  Sunflowers, Tarragon, Thyme, Violets and Zinnias.

Silk Flowers - Should be placed up high where a kitten can't rip, shred or eat.

Knick Knacks, Photographs and Mementos - I would suggest putting away all of your precious items in a safe place until your kitten has developed its balance and coordination not â€¨to knock them over.

Sewing Kits, Arts and Crafts Items -  Put away any sewing materials, arts and craft items that â€¨a kitten can chew or swallow. â€¨â€¨Toys - They should be put away so that the kitten can't be injured accidentally.  Use your judgment as to what toys could be a potential danger to your kitten.

The Kitchen 

Cabinets - Kitten proof your base cabinets by purchasing child proof locks at your local hardware or home improvement center.  This is so the kitten can't paw his or her way into your base cabinets.

Coffee Pot, Stove, Toaster, Toaster Oven, Space Heater - All of these items can cause serious burns to a kitten. 

When products are in use, move the kitten to another room or monitor the kitten closely for safety.

Foods - Some foods can make your kitten quite sick and some cases can cause death.  Avoid feeding kittens the following from this partial list: â€¨â€¨Alcohol
Broccoli (in large amounts)
Chocolate (contains theobromine)
Coffee and Tea (contains caffeine)
Garlic and  Onions (contains thiosulphate)
Grapes and Raisins
Hops (used in home beer brewing)
Moldy or Spoiled Foods
Rhubarb Leaves
Pear pips, the kernels of plums, Peaches and Apricots, Apple core pips (contain cyanogenic glycosides resulting in cyanide poisoning)
Potatoes, their peelings and green looking Potatoes
Tomato Leaves & Stems (green parts)
Yeast Dough

Kitchen Cleaners, Dishwasher Detergents, etc. - All are poisonous â€¨if swallowed and can be fatal to a kitten. 

Place all household and kitchen products away in a safe place out of reach of your kitten.

Plastic Bags, String and Twist Ties - All are potential swallowing dangers and let me explain why.

On the surface of a kitten's tongue there are numerous knobs called papillae. Thepapillae is located toward the center of the tongue forming backward facing hooks.  It's these hooks that provide the surface needed so that kitten can be self- grooming.

Once a kitten begins licking one of the above items, sometimes these items get caught on the "hooks "of the kitten's tongue.  Once caught, the kitten is forced to continue licking and swallowing the above item.  And when the item gets swallowed, it can cause a blockage within the kitten's intestines or worse can shred the kitten's intestines that could result in death.

The Garage

There are numerous dangers in the garage including different chemicals and small spaces where your kitten could get stuck.

Here is a partial list of some of the dangers commonly found in your average garage.

Antifreeze, Brake Fluid, Cleaning Fluid, Gasoline, Herbicides, Insecticides, Moth Balls, Lime, Paint, Paint Remover,  Rat Poisson, Weed Killer and Wiper Fluid.

NOTE: Because there are so many dangers in the garage, it is highly recommended you keep your kitten out of the garage, ALWAYS.

The Laundry Room 

The dangers in this room are both chemical related and based on the the kitten's curiosity factor. 

Bleach, Detergents. Fabric Softeners and Dryer Sheets - All these items should be stored in a safe place where your kitten can't reach them.

Front Mount Washers and Dryers - Always check your front mount washers and dryers before you turn them on to make sure your cuddly friend hasn't decided to hide in your clothes or jump into your machine when you weren't looking.

Miscellaneous Hazards
Be aware of the following hazards in the home to your kitten.

Burn Hazards
Choking Hazards
Drowning Hazards
Electrocution Hazards
Potential Food Hazards
Poisoning Hazards

Lastly, if you understand all of the potential hazards described in this article and use a little some common sense.   Your kitten will be around for years to come, maturing into a treasured member of your family.