How to Cat-Proof your Home

cat-proof home

Cats love dens. This is why the washing machine is a popular napping spot.

Just because your cat is a pure indoor cat, does not mean you can relax about the potential dangers a home can present. Read on if you want to know more about how to provide a cat-proof home.

The outdoors can be especially dangerous for cat, but a house can pose all sorts of risks too. Especially, since cats are naturally curious animals and can often misjudge dangerous situations.

Thankfully, there are some opportunities to make your home secure for cats.

Beware of tilted windows

Tilted windows are extremely dangerous for cats, because they can get stuck in the opening when attempting to slip outside through the window. When they wish to free themselves from their awkward predicament, they slip deeper into the gap. This runs the risk of injury to the throat, the inner organs and can lead to spinal paralysis or even death.

For this reason, attach a bottom hung window lock to every window that you wish to tilt.

cat behind tilted window © Pavel /
Tilted windows can be dangerous for cats.

Cat proof home with a balcony net

Indoor cats in particular love a balcony where they can take in air or enjoy the sun.

Unfortunately, cats do not always land on all fours. Too often cats fall from balconies and gets fatally injured.

If your apartment or house has a balcony, you definitely need a cat net that protects your cat from falling down.

If you rent, ask your landlord for permission before installing the net. There are other solutions for which you don’t have to drill holes into the brickwork.

You can also build a catio if you have enough outside space and enjoy working on a rewarding project. There are plenty of catio material suppliers in the UK that specialise in this field. You can also hire professional catio builders  if you are not as handy or do not have the time. Please keep in mind that you may need a planning permission if your house is historic, the cat run is higher than 8 feet. Also consider that your neighbours might complain if you live in a terraced property.

Toxic plants

Several house and balcony plants can be toxic for cats. These include, for instance, popular plants like the poinsettia, ivy or monstera.

Some cats enjoy nibbling at plants, though unfortunately don’t always limit themselves to harmless ones.

Signs of intoxication from plants can be increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, vomiting or diarrhoea. Dilated pupils, tremors or staggering can also indicate intoxication.

If your cat shows signs of intoxication, please take them to the vet immediately!

Choose non-toxic alternatives for a cat-proof home

Set up pots with cat grass or catnip for your cat so that it doesn’t get tempted to chew at poisonous plants. For instance, Kentia palms are a harmless alternative. Here are 10 beautiful plants deemed safe for cats (and dogs):

  1. Spider plant
  2. Orchid
  3. Calathea Orbifolia
  4. Rattlesnake plant
  5. Ponytail palm
  6. Venus flytrap
  7. Parlor palm
  8. Some succulents like haworthia
  9. Bird’s nest fern
  10. Boston fern
cat sniffing house plant © LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS /
Many cats are intrigued by house plants, but some can be toxic.

Toxic foods

Some unexpected foods can be toxic to cats although they are deemed healthy for humans.

For instance, avocados contain persin, which can lead to shortness of breath, oedemas and damage to the cardiac muscle in cats.

Chocolate is highly dangerous for both dogs and cats. This is due to the substance theobromine which attacks the nervous system and circulation. A possible consequence is respiratory arrest, for example.

Chives look similar to cat grass, therefore encourage some cats to take a bite. However, certain substances in chives can destroy their red blood cells. This leads to anaemia, which can be fatal for cats in the worst case scenario.

Always store food safely

Ensure dangerous foods are stored safely. You’re best off keeping all dangerous foods in the kitchen inaccessible to your cat. Still, keep an eye on your cat whenever they are in the kitchen.

Kitchen: hobs and ovens as potential dangers

If your cat keeps you company when you cook, make sure that they do not jump onto the hob.

A hot oven is of course a potential burn risk. Unfortunately even a lukewarm oven that appears to be an ideal cat’s den is very dangerous. If you shut the door and your cat is still inside, there is the danger of them suffocating.

Hence, put a pot with cold water on the hot hob after cooking. Don’t leave the oven door open when your cat is in the kitchen and check the oven before closing the door.

Checking washing machines and tumble driers

Cats love hiding in dens. A washing machine filled with clothes is thus particularly cosy for cats – and unfortunately this preference can lead to disaster with some.

There is no chance of a cat surviving in a running washing machine full of water. Tumble driers are almost as dangerous, especially when they get hot.

Always check washing machines and tumble driers before switching them on. You can easily overlook your cat in amongst the clothes, so always observe the following rule strictly: it’s only certain that your cat isn’t in the washing machine if you can see them somewhere outside the washer.

Bathrooms: dangers with open toilets

Toilets are of particular interest to some cats – either because this strange object triggers their curiosity or because they are looking for water.

However, an open toilet bowl can lead to fatal consequences. This is especially true of kittens. A little kitten that falls into the toilet cannot get out with its own strength alone. It inevitably drowns if help doesn’t come in time.

Hence, for a cat-proof home, it is crucial to keep the toilet cover closed. Also make sure guests do the same.

string can be dangerous for kittens © Crazy nook /
Never let your cat play with strings unsupervised.

Further precautionary measures to cat-proof your home

  • Never let your cat play with toy fishing rods and threads unsupervised. The string can wrap around a cat’s throat and throttle it in the heat of the moment
  • Put heated appliances such as a curling iron in a secure spot to cool down so that your cat doesn’t burn their nose
  • Store your medication in a secure place
  • Particularly greedy animals also occasionally rummage through the rubbish bins looking for edible treats. You should always keep the garbage bin lid securely closed so that your cat doesn’t come across any rotten or toxic foods.
  • Some cats like eating cling film and plastic bags. If your cat is one of them, don’t leave any plastic bags or leftover cling film lying around
  • Power cables are another danger in the household that invite cats to play with and bite them. Cable tubes can help here

These simple precautions can be easily implemented and ensure your home is cat-proof.

Read more about how to accommodate an indoor cat safely in our Indoor Cats: What you Should Focus on article.

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