(CATS/PET SAFETY) Are you thinking about adding a cat to your family? Here are some helpful tips on cat-proofing your home to keep your new pet happy, healthy, and safe from harm. Not to mention, you’ll keep your belongings safe from a curious kitty. — Global Animal

These 11 tips from the Humane Society will help you cat-proof your home so your pet is happy, healthy, and safe.

Humane Society of the United States

Curiosity and playfulness are part of your cat’s charm, but they can sometimes get her into trouble. Take these steps to make your home a safe environment.

Beware of poisonous plants

Cats like to chew on grass and plants inside and outdoors. You’d be surprised by the number of plants that are irritating, dangerous and even deadly to cats if eaten. Even non-poisonous plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Keep these plants out of reach or, better yet, don’t have them in the house at all. If your cat likes green stuff, purchase cat grass.

Lock-down

Put child-proof latches on your cabinets to keep your cat from licking, chewing, or eating cleaning products. They contain dangerous chemicals. You probably don’t want the cat lying on your pots and pans, either.

Off the meds

Keep all medications, both over-the-counter and prescription (human and animal) in a secure cabinet. Child-proof containers aren’t necessarily chew-proof for your pet. Be sure to pick up any dropped pills.

Play keep-away

Pack away anything you don’t want broken. Cats love exploring, jumping on tables, cabinets, sideboards, and bookshelves to investigate their space. They may accidentally knock over or break fragile items and knickknacks, then walk or chew on the broken pieces.

Unplugged

Unplug electrical cords. If your cat’s a chewer, she could be in for a nasty shock. You could also deter her from chewing on cords by placing them in a cord protector or coating them with a bad-tasting substance like hot sauce or a non-toxic ointment or spray available at pet supply stores.

Strike the cords

Keep drapery cords coiled out of reach. Your cat could strangle herself by getting the cord wound around her neck or choke on a plastic pull that she’s chewed into pieces.

Check the dryer

Check the dryer before closing the door, then keep it closed when not in use. Cats love to hole up in dark, quiet places, and tragedies have occurred. Kittens often climb into refrigerators, freezers, and dresser drawers, so check these, too, before closing them.

Unset the table

Remove tablecloths from unattended tables. New kittens are especially curious about what’s up there on the table and will try to climb the tablecloth. The result could be broken china and crystal and an emergency trip to the veterinarian.

Put a lid on it

Keep the toilet seats down. A kitten could fall in and be unable to get out.

Under cover

Cover garbage disposal switches. Natural climbers, cats usually find their way to the kitchen sink sooner or later. Many have been known to play with electric switches such as the one for a garbage disposal. Special covers are available at hardware stores to help avoid disaster.

Screen it

Make sure your screen door has a secure latch. Don’t run the risk that your cat could slip out unnoticed. Check that your window screens are secure and sturdy.

More Humane Society of the United States: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/cat_proofing_your_house.html

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