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How do I cat-proof my home?

Readying your home for a new cat means more than setting out food, water, and litter. Cats are naturally curious and playful creatures, and they seem to possess a unique talent for getting into trouble. So, before you welcome a new cat into your home, here are a few precautions you can take to keep your pet (and your possessions) safe.

Tips For Cat Proofing Your Home

Flooring Considerations. We don’t often think about flooring as a potential pet hazard, but when it comes to cats, all floor surfaces are not created equal. Wall-to-wall carpeting, for example, can easily become stained or damaged by cat urine or vomit, and can hold onto unwanted odors. And having your rugs professionally cleaned can get expensive quickly. Also, some hardwood flooring materials are porous and can allow urine and vomit to seep in and stain.

Recommendations:

  • Tile or laminate floorings offer quick cleanup with less risk for damage.
  • Small, washable area rugs that can easily be tossed in the laundry if soiled.

Counters And Shelves. Cats love to explore vertical space. So, when your new feline is familiar with your floor plan, it will likely start looking for places to climb and jump. Keeping counters clear of breakables, keepsakes, and other potential hazards (such as lit candles, cleaners, etc.) to allow your cat to satisfy its natural curiosity safely.

Recommendations:

  • If you must store potentially harmful items on the counter, use sealed containers.
  • Secure small foreign objects—rubber bands, paper clips, etc.—or keep them in a drawer

House Plants. Some household plants present a significant poisoning risk to cats if eaten, including Aloe, Amaryllis, Begonias, Carnations, Jade Plants, Coleus, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Gladiolas, Hostas, Azaleas, Mums, and anything in the Lily family. These should be kept away from anywhere your cat may frequent. If you are unsure whether a plant you own may be toxic to cats, check online or ask your vet.

Recommendation:

  • Display plants window boxes or hanging baskets out of reach from your feline.

Wires And Electrical Hazards. Cats are naturally drawn to wires, which can potentially create fire hazard if the insulation is compromised. Any wires that may tempt your cat should be secured away from places cats play.

Recommendations:

  • Wires can be secured in a sleeve (ex. rubber cover), bundled in a PVC tube, or taped to walls or furniture.
  • Coat the sleeve or tube with a scent cats dislike (ex. citrus)

Household Chemicals And Medicines. Household chemicals and medicines can both present significant health risks to cats if ingested. This also goes for automotive chemicals, such as antifreeze, which is lethal to cats.

Recommendations:

Aromas. Cats are instinctive hunters that use their keen sense of smell to locate food. And some aromas (such as citrus, mint, menthol, wintergreen, and cinnamon) are intensely unpleasant to cats. If you use a household diffuser or deodorizer, avoid the widespread use of these scents.

Recommendation:

  • Try spraying a mild citrus spray or mint room freshener on a surface or area you want to your cat to avoid.

Editor’s Note: Holiday decorations can pose a danger to curious cats. Here are tips for pet-proofing decorations.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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