As a soon-to-be cat owner, you might be wondering about what you need to prepare for the arrival of your newest fur-mily member. Before your kitty arrives, take note that there are 7 important steps to take in order to ensure the safety of your cat and for you and your new pet to get along!
1. Furniture protection
Cats scratch for a number of reasons, from marking territory to exfoliating the outer layers of their claws, and it is an important developmental behaviour for your cat to have. Nonetheless, how can you avoid getting your prized couch ruined when it becomes your new kitty’s favourite scratching post?
To provide your feline friend with an acceptable scratching alternative, install a scratching post in your house. As an added protection, you can consider covering the sides of your furniture with aluminium foil and metal mesh to dissuade your cat from scratching the furniture.
Covering surfaces in smooth plastic and spraying cat repellent substances on your furniture will also deter your cat from scratching it. Do take care, however, not to spray these chemicals onto your pet as it may cause them distress!
2. Tie up those loose ends
Cats are infamous for their love of anything that resembles a string, and this extends to electrical cords and the dangling ends of curtains and blinds. In the best-case scenario, letting your kitty run amok will result in some unexpected redecorations in your home. In the worst-case scenario, however, letting your cat play with these may result in fatal strangulation or even electrocution.
You can wrap or tie up the loose ends of your curtains and blinds so that they stay out of reach of your kitty. Electrical cords should run under rugs and behind furniture too, where they will be safely out of reach. For added protection, hardware stores also sell inexpensive conduits that can be installed around your electrical cords.
3. Lock your windows
Cats have a tendency to wander near windows for reasons that can range anywhere from a preference for natural sunlight and warmth, to stalking small animals such as moths and birds.
As much as we’d all like to believe that cats do possess nine lives, the reality is that according to the SPCA, 1-2 cases of cats falling from great heights happen every week in Singapore. While not every case ends in a painful death, many cats do sustain injuries that require long-term recovery.
If you are a cat owner who lives in an HDB or condominium flat, do keep your windows locked whenever you are not home so that your cat can roam around the house without any risk of falling out a window.
If you are worried about a lack of ventilation, you can also opt to install screens on all of your windows, so that air can still circulate in your home. Take note though, regular screens can be easily torn or bitten through by cats, so it is best to acquire specialised cat-proof screens.
4. Acquaint yourself with hiding holes
Felines that are unsure about new surroundings usually seek out hiding places where they can feel safe. As a cat-owner, you should acquaint yourself with possible hiding places that your cat may turn to for cover. These places can be small, dark spaces in between your furniture, or high up in your shelves.
A hiding place can provide a sense of security for your kitty, and you do not have to mind about them if they provide comfort to your cat. If, however, there are inaccessible dead-end spaces where you will have trouble extracting your cat from, you can consider cordoning them off so that your cat does not get stuck.
5. Clean the floors
Cats, especially kittens, are a lot like human babies — they explore the world around them with their eyes, mouths, and hands (paws). You might think that your floors are relatively clean, but if you get down on your hands and knees, it’s not hard to find many small loose items such as strings, rubber bands, and plastic bags that can be choking hazards for your pet.
Do a thorough sweep of your house before you bring your new kitty home, and remove any loose items from the floor. As an extra precaution, do not store the items you’ve cleared on open shelves and surfaces! Cats are excellent climbers, and the added height may not deter them from these objects. You can opt to store loose items in secure containers instead!
6. Stock up on toys
A bored kitty is a mischievous kitty! Cats love two things: sleeping and playing. If you don’t provide enough stimulus for your new feline in between naps, it’s just a matter of time before it decides to wreak havoc in your home.
It is a wise idea to stock up on toys for your cat’s entertainment! With plenty of toys to play with, your belongings will be left well enough alone. As a bonus, you can get toys that make just enough noise so that you can be aware of your cat’s location at all times!
7. Provide a safe space
Moving into a new home can be scary for a kitty as there are many new sights, sounds, and smells around. Cats are cautious creatures by nature and value stability, and even the slightest change in their environment can be enough to throw them off and make them unsettled.
Before you bring your cat home, you should prepare a small room for it to live in, with access to basic necessities such as a litter box, scratching post, as well as food and water. By confining your cat to a small space before gradually introducing it to the rest of your house, you can avoid overwhelming your cat and can allow your home to feel like its home too!