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How to Cat-Proof Your Home

New Cat?  How to Cat-Proof Your Home for Your New Best Friend

Few things in life are as exciting as bringing home a new cat.  Whether you decided to go with a kitten from a breeder or an adult cat from a shelter, introducing a new cat to your home is both an exciting and challenging time.

There are several factors that you need to consider before bringing a new cat into your home.  And many of these factors will vary depending on your specific living arrangements, location, etc.  For instance, those who are considering making their cat an indoor/outdoor cat will face unique challenges that people with indoor-only cats will not have to deal with.

To make things simple, we will go over how to cat-proof your outdoor area first.  This will be helpful to those indoor/outdoor cats (and in some cases, entirely outdoor cats).  Next, we will go over common considerations for cat-proofing the inside of your home which can be applied to all cats.

Outdoor Cats: A World of Adventure (and also Danger)

Outdoor cats will face unique challenges that many indoor cats won’t have to face.  While many of these are outside of your control (wild animals, passing cars, etc.), you do have control over the outdoor world in the vicinity surrounding your home.  It is important to do what you can to make the outside environment as safe as possible for your cat.

Be Careful with Herbicides, Insecticides, etc.

Many cats love nothing more than rolling around in the grass, chasing bugs, and munching on grass blades.  Because of this, it is important to avoid exposing your cat to the harsh chemicals that we have to apply to our lawn from time to time.  Many of these chemicals are extremely poisonous and can seriously injure if not kill a small animal that ingests some.

When you know that you are about to apply herbicides or insecticides to your lawn, temporarily house your cat inside until they are allowed to be properly distilled.

Be Wary of Cats that Love to Climb

Another fun hobby of outdoor cats is climbing trees.  In fact, cats love to climb just about everything!  While climbing objects is part of a cat’s ingrained instincts, it can lead to some tough situations in outdoor settings.

We have all seen the scenario on the local news: a cat is outside minding its own business and is spooked by a dog, loud noise, etc.  It instinctively darts up the closest tree for safety.  The problem is that it then can’t get down!  That is when the brave local fire department has to come pay a visit and rescue the cat from the tree.

If you own a cat that is notorious for climbing into trees that I cannot get out of, consider installing some cones around the base of the tree.  This is a common tactic used by people who don’t want squirrels climbing in their trees and it also works for cats as well.

Block Off Low-Lying Flood Areas

Most modern houses are designed with areas that help to remove standing water in the event of a rainshower.  This is a necessary feature to avoid having large pools of standing water which not only are unattractive but can also potentially damage your lawn or garden.

If you know of a low-laying flood zone on your property, be sure to block it off so that you cat can’t go to it and potentially get trapped.  This is a semi-common occurrence in storage areas underneath the foundation of the home that double as water escape routes.  Your cat naturally will try to seek shelter in the event of a storm and you don’t want them doing so in an area that could drown them.

Keep an Eye on Electrical Sources

Just about all of us who work outside have probably experienced an electrical shock before.  It could be because of a faulty power outlet or perhaps an exposed wire from an outdoor light setting.  While these types of things might sting for us humans, they can be much more dangerous for small animals like cats.

Be sure to do a thorough walk-around of your power sources before introducing an outdoor cat to your home.  If you find any exposed wires, wrap them up in electrical tape or, better yet, consider having them replaced.

Consider Putting Up a Protective Barrier

While a typical barrier or fence won’t keep a curious cat from getting past it, it can be much more effective for larger animals such as dogs.  If you know of either dogs or other wild critters that tend to wander around your property, consider putting up a fence to keep them out.

Make your Garage And/Or Storage Shed a “Cat Free” Zone

Let’s face it: there are all sorts of hazardous objects and materials that we often keep in our garage.  Fertilizers, pesticides, motor oils, greases, and many other chemicals are common additions to a garage.  Rather than having to constantly monitor what your cat does in these areas, it is best to just make them cat-free zones.

Put Out a Water Bowl

It is a good idea to leave out some potable water in a small bowl for your outdoor cat to enjoy when he or she is out and about.  If thirsty, your cat might be tempted to drink out of external water sources that could be crawling with bacteria and other harmful things.  Putting out fresh water for your cat not only helps to minimize the chance that they consume something that they shouldn’t but it also promotes them to come back home and visit every once in a while! Splurge on a fountain  that keeps water cool and clean.

While we recommend this for water, we don’t think it is a good idea to leave out food bowls.  This food can attract other animals and insects to your home.  Also, don’t forget to replace the water in a timely manner.

Inside Cats

Most residential cats are almost exclusively indoor cats.  While indoor cats don’t have to deal with the same perils of outdoor cats, there are still plenty of steps that you can take in order to cat-proof your home for your new guest.

Hide Cleaning Supplies and Other Chemicals

While outdoor cats won’t have to deal with being exposed to outdoor chemicals such as germicides and motor oil, there are still plenty of indoor chemicals that they are best to avoid.  Items such as cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, oven cleaner, etc. can cause huge harm to cats not only through ingesting them but also through direct skin contact and even simply inhaling them.

Because of this, it is important to hide your cleaning supplies and household chemicals in an area that you cat cannot get to.  We recommend inside a closed cabinet or a supply closet.

Put Away Small Jewelry and Office Items

Jewelry and small office items such as rubberbands, paper clips, and staples can pose a serious choking hazard to your cat.  While the most likely culprits will be those items that happen to accidentally be dropped on the ground, even items that are placed on table tops can pose a threat.  Cats that are notorious for climbing on the top of tables and desks can still have easy access to these small items.

Depending on your cat’s individual characteristics, you will need to either elevate the objects or completely conceal them in a drawer.

Inspect Windows

Make sure that your windows are equipped with a thick mesh screen if you tend to enjoy to open your windows when the weather is nice.  Furthermore, some cats are known for scratching or chewing through window mesh screens  so, starting out, we encourage you to keep a close eye on your cat and make sure that it isn’t doing this.

As for window blinds and curtains, cats love to climb them!  Make sure that your curtains and curtain rods are adequately fastened and do not pose risk of falling if your cat happens to try to climb up them.

Hide Electrical Cords

Electrical cords can appear like tasty chew toys to some cats.  Biting into these cords can result in a nasty electrical shock that can seriously injure if not kill a cat.  Try to conceal all exposed cords in one of the variety of cord concealing products available on the market.  If you are unable to do so, wrapping the cord in a thick chew-proof wrap can also suffice.

Cat-Proof Your Furniture

While opinions may vary, most people who have indoor cats will recommend having at least their front paws declawed.  This not only helps save your exposed skin but also your furniture and hardwood surfaces from the sharp claws.

If you decide to keep claws on your cat, you will likely have to put a protective barrier over your fragile furniture.  Corners of couches, speaker screens, and rugs are some of the most popular objects that cats will like to claw into so keep a close eye on this.

We also like the idea of placing a blanket somewhere on a cozy couch to give your cat a nice place to rest next to you in the evenings.

Have Other Pets?  Introduce Them Slowly

While introducing cats to other pets (particularly dogs) is an article in of itself, the general idea is that you introduce new pets slowly and carefully.  Don’t simply throw a cat and dog into the same room together and let them have at it.  Do it in small steps with breaks in between.

Going along with this, cats are very private creatures.  Try to allot an area of your home strictly for you cat as its “safe space”.  This is an area that it can escape to from the hustle and bustle of life.

Find Some High Elevations for Your Cat

Cats feel most secure when elevated.  While they may not be in any sort of immediate danger while in your home, giving them this extra blanket of security can make it much easier to introduce them to your home.

Do a casual tour of your home and find places that you think you would like to lounge around at if you were a cat.  These are places that are easily accessible and provide safe elevation for your cat to hang out at.  Common places include window ledges, countertops, and nightstands.  If you find that most of your elevated areas are covered in household items, consider moving some of them to provide your cat with some places to access it.

Try to Keep Doors You Con’t Want your Cat in Closed

Cats are curious creatures and just about any door that you leave open a cat will wander into.  If there is a room that you don’t think your new friend should be hanging out in (for whatever reason), try to get in the habit of closing it when you aren’t around.

And this doesn’t just apply to room doors, either.  Washing machine doors, cabinet doors, and dryer doors all look enticing to your cat!

Be Wary of Hot Surfaces

If you are somebody who enjoys lighting candles or that uses a space heater, pay extra close attention to these when you introduce your cat.  The last thing you want is your new feline companion severely burning their paws while touching one of these hot surfaces.

Always Provide Escape Routes

Part of a cat’s sense of security comes in its ability to easily escape a situation.  Make sure that your home is not overly cluttered to the point where your cat feels that it is trapped in any particular room.


These were just a few of the many helpful ways that you can cat-proof your home.  Cats bring a lot of joy to their owners but it is important to not throw them into a new environment without first doing your due diligence to ensure that the environment is as safe and welcoming as possible.