Since you’re not going to stick your new kitten in a cage or tank, you may need to do some serious cat-proofing to keep your valuables—and your pet—out of harm’s way. First things first: set up a “home base” where your kitten will be comfortable and happy and where you can limit mobility for a while. During the kitten training stage, you’ll be getting to know each other, and it’s safer to do so in a controlled environment. Here’s how to prepare your home for a new feline family member.
Bringing Home Cat? Stow Your Valuables
Before bringing home a new kitten, get anything precious out of harm’s way. Cats claw and scratch, and may have the occasional “accident” of one kind or another. If you have a valuable antique rug, a piece of fine furniture, or an heirloom vase, move the items to a pet-free room or store them before bringing home a cat. Prevent anger and resentment by removing the possibility of serious damage so you can focus on giving your pet the love and affection she deserves.
Note to Self: Secure Screens before Adopting Kitten
If you’re adopting a cat, she’ll be free to move around your house. Check to see that all your windows have secure screens. Curious cats especially love to perch at windows and can fall out accidentally.
Don’t let your new pet indulge in power plays. Grab a staple gun and get all electrical wires under control.
Avoid Highly Charged Situations
Electrical wires pose a hazard to frisky kittens that might chew or play with them. Get wires under control by tacking them to the floor or baseboard. (Never insert a tack directly into a wire!) If you can’t eliminate access to a particular electrical cord, use Bitter Apple spray (available at pet stores), which has an unpleasant taste designed to repel pets.
Cats That Go Bump in the Night
Before you bring home a cat, and certainly before you bring home a pair, be sure to set up your house so that they can wander around and make noise at night without bothering you. Cats are nocturnal. They often nap the day away—especially if they spend the day alone—only to get up in search of adventure just as you are going to sleep. They aren’t destructive at night, just noisy. You will want to be able to shut your bedroom door so that you can sleep through the rattle toys, the bottle top hockey, and even the mouse hunting that cats enjoy at night.
Make a Nest for Catnaps
You should have a bed ready for your new kitten, but it need not be fancy or expensive. Instead, improvise a resting place from a cardboard box or old dresser drawer. Keep it in a quiet spot, away from drafts. Line it with something soft (without feathers) that can be washed periodically, along with a piece of clothing or a towel that carries your scent. Cats like a feeling of shelter, so if you offer your pet a spot that feels safe, she’ll be less tempted to crawl into closets, cabinets, and other dangerous spots.