How Do I "Cat Proof" My House?

Bringing home a new kitty? When bringing home a new kitten or cat, there are many dangers in the home that appear safe. Cats are curious by nature and some will sniff, lick and eat what ever they can find around the home.

The following is a list of the "not even thought of" things to do before bringing your new cat home.

Antifreeze can cause kidney failure, and the sweet taste of it attracts cats, so be sure to clean up any you've spilled. Even a few drops can cause irreversible damage to your cats kidneys. (see poisons)


That passing bird may be irresistible and kitty may lunge, even from an open window or through balcony railings. Use screens on windows and keep an eye out when you're on the balcony.

Although cats are known to land on their feet after falling from incredible heights, the number one danger to your cat is windows without screens (even when there's screens, cats can push them and they fall out).

Cleaning Products

Check your cleaning compounds, including dish washing products and room deodorizers. Anything that contains phenol can be fatal to your cat. Make sure when you clean your cat's litter box, that you use a plain cleanser that is not chlorine based or contains ethyl gycol in it like Pine Sol or Lysol.

Moth Balls or Crystals

The fumes from moth balls, will destroy a cat's liver cells, In fact, breathing in the fumes for only a few hours will destroy a cats liver beyond repair.

Fabric Softeners

Don't use fabric softeners if your cat lies on towels, sheets or blankets, because some of the chemicals will stick to your cats fur. This is troublesome since your cat will lick it off.


Unfortunately, some of the loveliest plants are poisonous to cats, especially the Poinsettia and Mistletoe which most of us look forward to at Christmas. Azaleas, Diffenbachis, Philodendrons and even the Snake or Iron plant, are almost as poisonous. (list of more poisonous plants)

In The Kitchen

Cats can be poisoned by uncooked potatoes (actually, it's the eye and sprouts of the potato). (see complete list of poisonous food). Tylenol, chocolate and coffee are extremely toxic to your cat.

Cigarettes (Cellophane wrappers)

If swallowed, they become sharp from contact with the cats digestive juices, and will so severely cut your cat, she will die from internal hemorrhaging.


Keep toilet seat cover down. Kittens have a tendency to jump on everything and they might fall in and drown.


Check your laundry before washing and dring, as clothes and towels are one of kittens favorite places to snuggle. Before closing the lid on either the washing machine or dryer, make sure your little one is not in there hiding.

Swallowing Objects

Cats can swallow yarn, ribbons, tinsel, rubber bands, paper clips, pins, small toy parts and just about any other bite size morsel that can lead to vomiting and an unexpected trip to the vet. Give her a variety of suitable toys so she won't go looking for inappropriate stringy and bite sized items at playtime.

Put Away Stuff
  • Protect Valuables: Cats are curious. That's one of their main jobs - being curious. So you won't want to leave your antique vase sitting on the coffee table. Because about ten seconds into Kitty's first exploration of the house, she will spring up on the table and topple the Vase.
  • Breakables: Put away any breakable treasures that are remotely accessible to your cat. Jumping up onto high places (like shelves and counters) is innate cat behavior; trying to stop it will be stressful for both you and kitty. Instead, put yourself into the mind of the cat, get down on the floor at her level, look around, and remove anything you value.

Furniture Scratching

The dreaded furniture scratching can be quite pesky. Use one of the many products geared towards deterring scratching such as nail guards, sprays and sticky tapes, cardboard scratchers or scratch posts. Also remember to keep you cats nails trimmed!

Other Hazards

  • Hanging blinds cords: Kittens will love to bat around cords from hanging blinds, but can also get tangled up in them with disastrous consequences. The safest bet is to tie the cords up out of reach. 
  • Electrical and phone cords: Kittens' insatiable curiosity often leads them to one of the most dangerously temptable objects in the house: electric cords. Invest in a cord management system or tape the cords together and fasten them out of reach. Do the same with long phone cords. 
  • Pest Poisons: Remove any ant or roach traps from accessible areas. 
  • Small Hazards: Rubber bands, paper clips, thumb tacks, broken balloons, Christmas tree tinsel and other small articles are tempting play objects for cats, but pose a choking hazard. Put them away in containers, and leave the tinsel off the tree this year. Keep plastic bags and bags with small handles out of reach of your cat. 
The Safe Room

Set aside a "safe room" for your new arrival. Put her food dish, water, litter box, toys, scratching post and bed in it. Give this room a thorough going over. Once kitty is comfortable in her new surroundings, it will be time to let her explore the rest of your happily cat-proofed home.

If you think your pet has ingested a toxic substance, get help at:

The Pet Poison Hotlines