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How To Kitten-Proof Your Home: Bringing your new bundle of joy with sharp claws is an exciting time for you both. Kittens’ have a reputation of being silly, sweet and easy to potty train. All these things are true and more! However, your kitten is still, well, a kitten, a baby cat and you need to take the same precautions this your new kitty as you would with a human baby or puppy.
Kittens like to chew on strings and small items. Make sure you are buying cat toys appropriate for your kitty. If there is a toy you think could be ingested or a string you think your cat might eat put it away. Cats have unique tongues. The cat’s tongue has papillae which are small, hook-shaped growths that point toward the back of the mouth. They are made from keratin and not quite as strong as a fingernail. These papillae have little hooks or barbs on the end to aid grooming. They act like a miniature comb. However, they also aid in pulling things into the back of the throat so string and small items can be easily ingested.
From your new kitten’s perspective, they have been kidnapped from their mom and siblings and all it has even known. This is scary! When you bring home your little “fraidy cat”, make sure you have places for them to hide, sleep and watch the world go by.
For cats to feel safe they need a small cozy cave, den or hole to crawl into. One where they might be able to be seen by even you, remember they just got kidnapped. Cats have a skeleton like a slinky and can fit into the smallest places, especially when they are small to start with. Block all holes to under cabinets, couches and possible outside escape routes.
Make sure you provide your kitten with kitty caves, dark soft holes to burrow in so they won’t feel the need to look for an “off limits” nook or cranny in your home.
Cats also like high places, cat trees offer both the cave and the height you cat likes. Place it a place by the window or in the sun in near the action, but not in the middle of the action going on in the house and your cat will quickly assimilate into the family.
Cats are not as prolific as dogs when it comes to raiding the trash or stealing food from the counter, however as the internet has proved, they can be plate robbers of the worst kind if not watched. Cats do like people food. If you give your cat a people food they can develop a taste for this food, they have taste buds too. It is best not to start giving your cute furry kitten the chicken it wants because then your cat will want chicken every time you have it.
Many people foods are deadly to cats. Cats are not like toys and random table scraps can make them very sick. Cats should get a combination of wet and dry food and access to fresh water all the time. Be careful with cat waterers as they harbor load of bacteria the filters are not designed to filter out. Fresh water in their bowl every day is the best way to keep your kitty’s kidney’s healthy.
Resist putting their water, food and litter box in the same room, this is not ideal as no one wants to eat in their bathroom. Putting the food and litter box at least 20 ft away from one another is the best way to entice your newcomer to use the box. Cats also prefer their water at least 4 or more feet away from their food bowl. In the wild food in a water source, much like elimination would contaminate it, as no is there to change the water. Cats need to drink lots and lots of water to help their kidney’s digest the high protein diet they require. Placing your food bowl in a location the cat like is the best way to get them to drink as much water as possible.
If you are going to litter train your cat make sure the box is filled with scent free kitty litter, probably with no lid. Many of the perfumes they put in the litter has toxic dust and often repels cats instead of attracting them.
As soon kitty comes home you can show them kitty box by gently putting them in it. If they hop out, that is ok. But showing them where it is will prevent them from using an unwanted location. Make sure the litter box in easily accessible at all times to kitty, and make sure to clean it at least once a day. Cats are clean and prefer clean areas to live in.
Once again, kittens don’t tend to get in the same amount of destructive trouble as young puppies when left home alone. But, it might not be in kitties (or your wallets) best interest. The damage can be knocked over home décor, kitchen cupboard looting, toilet paper shredding, curtain climbing, blind bending and even trash rummaging.
Therefore the safest place for you kitten is in a room with access to their litter box (water if you are gone more than a couple hours). Once you get to know your kitty’s habit you can increase the area of their confinement over a couple months if you think they will be safe.
Some kittens mature more quickly than others and some are just like to run crazy and silly, adjust their limitation accordingly.