Kitten Proofing: A Tough Job But Cat Owners Have to Do It

I’m constantly scouting my house for potential dangers for our two kittens, Harry and Hermione. They’re nearly six-months old and have been with us for three months since we adopted them from a shelter. In human years, they would probably be teenagers, but they act more like toddlers. They put everything in their mouths, so I try to keep the floors and carpets as spotless as possible. I check that there aren’t any exposed wires that they can chew on (no easy task in a household where computer devices are used daily). I block any area they can climb behind, under, or over where they might become stuck or hurt. I hide their toys when I’m not around if the toys have feathers or other dangerous parts they can ingest.

Kittens love to explore, but there are places in a house they shouldn’t go. Here’s Harry checking out my refrigerator.

It’s a tough task but kitten proofing a home is similar to childproofing one, something I haven’t done since my daughter was a baby 14 years ago. Like young children, kittens love to play and explore. They don’t understand the word “no,” or what will happen if they touch a hot or sharp object. And as in a recent close call with Harry and my husband’s mobility scooter, they can’t comprehend why it’s unsafe to walk behind something that’s moving.

Hermione on my husband’s motility scooter. Her brother Harry almost got hurt chasing it while it was moving.

Just like kids, kittens need to experience certain things to learn what’s safe and what isn’t, although you pray that they do so without getting harmed. A terrible story was posted on Facebook about a kitty that got into a food bin that automatically locked, sealing her in without air. My Harry was more fortunate when he nearly got stuck under the wheel of my husband’s mobility scooter and escaped with only a bad scare. His sister was present when it happened and heard his yowl. She got a scare, too. Now, when both kittens even catch a glimpse of my husband’s scooter, they run for the hills. He still has to watch that they aren’t behind him, but they are less likely to get in the way again.

Here are a few articles about kitten proofing for those with new fur babies:

http://www.meowcatrescue.org/resources/articles/13/kitten-proofing-your-home/

https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/training/tips-for-kitten-proofing-your-home

https://www.thesprucepets.com/kitten-proof-your-home-552283

I’ve also featured a few videos with kitten and cat proofing tips on my character cat’s blog: https://wp.me/p7XcB0-y1

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A Fish, A Cat, and Kittens, Oh My!

An odd series of events led me to my present status as caregiver to a fish, a cat, and two kittens. There were always cats and dogs in my childhood home because my parents were animal lovers. When I got married, I lived in a small apartment so could only have one cat. I adopted a kitten that I called Floppy. I had him for fifteen years during which time we moved into a house and also took in another cat. After both cats passed away, while my daughter was still young, we adopted Stripey, a male tabby, whom we still have. He is now ten years old. When he was five, we also added Oliver, the Siamese that belonged to my mother for twelve years before she became too ill to care for him. It took a while and, although the two cats never became buddies, they worked out their differences and had no problem spending time together.

My Siamese Oliver, and Tabby cat Stripey playing together.

When Oliver passed away last year, Stripey became an only cat again. My fourteen-year-old daughter had become very close to Oliver and wanted another cat to replace him. She said she’d love to have a black cat. It took a year, but my husband finally agreed for us to have two cats again. We’d visited a cat café that had just opened in our area, and she had fallen in love with an orange and white kitten named Ringo. Unfortunately, someone else had already completed an adoption application for Ringo. We promised Holly that we would find another cat for her.

Meanwhile, she brought home a goldfish that she’d won at a homecoming event. We’d had fish in that period after Floppy died and we hadn’t yet gotten Stripey. None of the fish had survived very long except one that she’d called Rocket after a character in the Little Einsteins, her favorite show at the time. Although we’d never had much luck with fish, I helped her set up our old tank. Unfortunately, the fish she’d named Kirishima met the same fate a week later. We buried it at sea, and I thought we were done with fish, but she wanted to replace it. I talked to some aquarium enthusiasts and did some research. I discovered that the easiest and hardiest fish was the Betta, or Fighting Fish. We were preparing to shop for one when fate found one for us. I was at a craft and vendor fair with my books when I saw a woman across from my table selling pretty vases. It turned out that the vases contained betta fish. Talk about a coincidence. How could I not get one? I still have that fish who I call Betta Blue for his color. I’ve been in contact with the woman who sold him to us and have followed her instructions for his care.

Betta Blue in his home

Fate stepped in again when I brought my daughter back a month later to The Shabby Tabby Café a few days before her birthday because there was a fall fair in town. She spotted a black kitten immediately. When we asked if he was already claimed, we found out he wasn’t. However, he couldn’t be separated from his sister. When I saw his sister, I couldn’t believe that she was a calico — just like the kitten I’d recently written about in Love on the Rocks, the 4th book of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series, and also the type of cat I always wanted. Although I knew my husband wouldn’t be thrilled about having three cats in the house, it seemed like it was meant to be. Because I had a few days off from work later the next week, we arranged to pick the kittens up the night before my time off.  It just happened to be my daughter’s birthday, and I think it was the best gift she received.

Harry and Hermione

We’ve had Harry and Hermione for two weeks now, and they are absolute joys. It’s so much fun watching them play and seeing how smart and sweet they both are. They have different personalities. Hermione is very affectionate and curious. Harry is quieter and calmer. Stripey doesn’t yet know what to make of them, but we’re hoping to get them together soon. We’ll definitely keep Betta Blue out of their way, though.

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