Providing a Safe Home
Just as you would make sure your home is safe for a toddler, you need to be sure your home is safe for your new family member. Although cats generally seem to have a lot of common sense, that certainly does not apply to kittens or to all cats, either. Take a good look around and try to think like a cat. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions.
Cats that are scared, curious or even just contrary may run into fireplace openings and run up the chimneys. They will come down eventually, but you will save yourself a lot of anxiety by ensuring that the flue is closed. Kittens can go down the smallest holes, for example, by the pipes leading to your sink, air ducts, under fridges & dishwashers. Please, take a moment to look around and kitten proof.
Look for any holes, even in cupboards and be sure they are SECURELY blocked. When a kitten is tucked away snoozing in a secret place, somehow they don't hear your voice and you will ensure your kitten's safety and save yourself many anxious hours by kitten proofing your home.
Cats are escape artists. Houdini must have had a cat! They can get through impossibly small places and are faster than the speed of light. Windows and doors need screens and to be carefully watched. If no screens, do not EVER open windows unless, even if you are high up or the open window is six feet from the floor.
Don't assume your cat can't get up there. If you are opening it just a "smidge", be sure it is locked at that location. Cats are amazingly strong for their size especially if frightened and can push open very large windows. Be sure screens are secure. If you have a very quick, sneaky kitty, post a note reminding family to be alert when entering or exiting. Don't be fooled by the casual saunter, because they are watching your every move. Cats have a very human characteristic in that if you don't want them to go there, it's got to be better. Because your cat wants to investigate what is on the other side of the door or window doesn't mean they are unhappy with their life inisde. It means they are curious about what's out there. They will be happier inside alive with you than as roadkill or a coyote snack.
It's a good idea to put a collar on your cat just in case they do escape. A cat that has been indoors is even more ill-equipped to face the dangers of the outside world. Be sure to put your contact number and note that this is an indoor cat.
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Young, lively kittens can be a big danger to themselves. They can injure themselves critically or fatally: by tipping furniture over (bookshelves should be secured to not tip), dragging table cloths and subsequent heavy centerpieces onto themselves or each other. Cords from lamps, computers and especially blinds and other draperies are a huge temptation and danger to curious little paws and mouths. Hair elastics, tinsel or string can kill when ingested. To be safe, kittens should never have the run of the house unsupervised. Confine them to a small room at night or when you are not at home. This is also important for consistent litter training.
Clumping litter can be deadly to kittens (and none too good for adult cats) as it can be easily ingested and will turn into a rock hard substance in their intestinal tracts and can cause death. If your own cat uses this, please be sure your kitten does not use it. Yes, many kittens have used clumping litter and been fine, but why take a chance?