There is evidence that cats were first domesticated by humans around 9,500 years ago; it is also highly likely that our association with cats goes back considerably further. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association's 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey, there are around 93.6 million owned cats in the U.S. Cats, of course, would disagree with this and say there are millions of humans in the U.S. that are owned by cats. Nonetheless, bringing a new cat into your home or moving to a new home with your cat requires you to take a fresh look at the dangers that your home may present to your cat and also the dangers to your home that your cat may pose.
Evaluate and act upon the dangers and hazards
You are familiar with your home. However, to a cat your home is a potential endless playground until it too learns the ropes. Before your cat arrives, evaluate the potential problem areas. Dangers include but are not limited to:
- Poisonous plants, cats will eat grass as a purge. According to the U.S. Humane Society there are over 700 varieties of plants that can cause harm to animals. Research your plants and move hazardous ones out of reach of your cat. Consider distracting your cat away from your plants by growing a pot of lawn grass for it to chew on.
- Cords, blind cords, electrical cords, telephone cords, even wool or string can present a choking hazard. Tie cords up out of reach of your cat or buy cord/cable management systems. Tack extension cords to the baseboard; chewed electrical cables cause fires.
- Keep windows closed, especially if a fall could result from a height. Consider cat proof screens, and make balconies off limits.
- Keep insecticides, rodent baits or traps, household chemicals, garden and garage chemicals and oils out of reach, especially anti-freeze. It is a good idea to try to keep your cat out of the garage.
- The little things, pins, tacks, nails, rubber bands, little toys, virtually anything that could present a choking hazard, keep them out of reach.
Then there is the damage that your cat could do to your home. Take precautions, such as:
- If it is valuable, breakable, and reachable, put it away safe.
- Think about covering your furniture with old blankets and use older drapes until your cat gets the idea not to climb them. It is a good idea to make some rooms, "off limits," to kitty.
- If rooms are, "off limits," check the door latches and replace as necessary so that your cat cannot get in.
- If your home has the space set up a, "safe room," for your cat with its litter tray, food, water, toys, bedding and cat scratching post would be ideal. This room could be both a sanctuary for kitty and a welcome time out for you.
- Keep the litter tray accessible to your cat.
You and your cat are going to take some time to adjust to each other and your cat to its new surroundings. Thinking ahead, you might want to consider:
- Putting a bowl, saucer, or even a boot mat underneath your cat’s drinking container to catch spills.
- Purchasing or making up a cat nip scratching pad; remember to inspect your cat’s claws in case it is scratching the mat too much.
- Getting your cat used to being crated, especially if you have no, "safe room."
- Putting rocks in the soil around favorite, "safe," house plants may discourage your cat from digging.
- Put the litter tray in a low box to catch spills.
- Favorite cat toys may prevent your cat from playing with things it shouldn't.