If given the chance, will my kittens assimilate?
November 3, 2010 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Kittenproofing tips for nerds with too many "wireless" electronics?

Next month, when they have reached an appropriate age, the Mr. and I be taking Zenith and Quasar home.

We'd like to get our place kitten proofed before they get here. However, I haven't had a young and spry cat in my care for many many years, as my late cat Alice had hip surgery early in her life and was never much of a jumper or a climber, and I don't really remember what real kittenproofing entails.

In our place, the two big concerns I have are that we have cords for electronic equipment EVERYWHERE, and we have two windows that are covered in wall to wall sheer curtains. Any suggestions to make these less of a hazard? Any other kittenproofing suggestions?
posted by Zophi to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Cable tidy is your friend.
posted by essexjan at 2:51 PM on November 3, 2010

I love them and their names.

Your furniture might need some slipcovers, and I'd probably ditch the sheer curtains if you can. If you want to keep the kitties indoors and they will have run of the house, set up and agree on a routine for leaving the house so that you make sure they are both inside and don't slip out - they are quicker than you think, and you will have to start paying attention a ways before you get to the door.

Watch where you put things that can spill (especially bottles of water or whatever, plastic bottles can attract kitties, I do not know why).
posted by mrs. taters at 3:15 PM on November 3, 2010

Speaker wires are potentially fatal to kittens - we almost lost our precious idiot that way. Other cables are somewhat less of a problem because they're heavier and less wrap-around-the-neck flexible.

Curtain pulls/window blind cords are also big trouble. Anywhere we have cable we pull it 'loosely' taut and wrap up the excess.

Also (and you may not have this problem) we have venomous spiders so we try to vacuum in the corners and under stuff pretty often because kittens love to play with stuff that runs away.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:53 PM on November 3, 2010

In addition to scratching pads, get a big roll of double-sided tape. Apply lengths of tape proactively to furniture you do not wish to have scratched, then anywhere you miss that they seem attracted to. Renew occasionally. It's not the most beautiful solution, but it works pretty well. They hate sticky paws.

We have what we call "antimacatssars" (after antimacssars) in fabric that matches the upholstery across the back of any furniture near a window where kitties like to perch. We have a few of each, so they can be replaced and laundered regularly. It's easier than going after the fur with a sticky roller.

I'm sorry to say this, but you may be saying goodbye to your sheer curtains. They are notoriously easy to snag. Perhaps consider getting some sturdier ones you can pull closed when you need to, instead.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:54 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I trained my cats to ignore wires. First, I made rooms with lots of wires "kitties only under supervision". Any time they played (or tried to play with) with a wire, I yelled "No!" or squirted them. After six consistent months of that they leave all wires completely alone, and they have the run of the house. Which is good because they hate closed doors.

They also have sisal scratching posts in every part of the house (and a giant floor-to-ceiling cat-tree in the kitchen). I didn't even have to train them to leave furniture alone -- the sisal has such a superior claw feel that the discerning kitty wouldn't scratch furniture if you paid him.

We don't have curtains on the windows, only blinds. And they have never tasted human food, so there's no begging at mealtimes.

And here are their baby pictures: Dizzy and Louie.
posted by phliar at 4:31 PM on November 3, 2010

I've never actually had issues with my kitties and wires. Maybe I've just been lucky. I make sure they have lots of dangling things that I encourage them to play with and other toys. And when they occasionally start poking at wires I yell/spray at them, but it doesnt happen much.

Lots of scratching posts, put some catnip on them. Curtains are tough -- they'll probably try to climb/hang from them. If you care about your curtains you should probably change them out / replace with blinds / etc.

This is my kitten's favorite toy in the world. He plays with it for hours, it's crazy.

If they jump up on kitchen counters and things you can try SSSCat which is like having a sentry gun defending your space.

Also omg they are so cute.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:49 PM on November 3, 2010

To protect your kitties' lives do not leave around any rubber bands, small ropes or threads. Cats love to play with them, chew them and often swallow them because they cannot spit them. This can be fatal as these pieces can wrap around their intestines.

And if you have any shelves/stands that can be knocked down, it would be a good idea to fix them to the wall.
posted by ivanka at 4:53 PM on November 3, 2010

My kittens have been 100% uninterested in electrical cords, but they have destroyed my sheer curtains. You definitely need to take those down for a couple of years if you don't want them ruined.
posted by something something at 6:40 PM on November 3, 2010

We taught them to respect electronics by displacing them from the desktop the instant they stepped on a keyboard/etc, which has paid off handsomly since at the time it was so hard for them to get up there. They were never terribly interested in cords and we warned them away when we introduced them to them under supervision.

I've heard that Bitter Apple is good at enforcing no-biting-things, and have used tinfoil to good effect at keeping them off surfaces we didn't want them on.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:58 AM on November 4, 2010

The blind problem was fairly easy to solve for our cats - we just keep the blinds open 4-6" - it's enough room for them slip under. Any other method of attaining a window seat was met with NO and a spray bottle.

For things that could take moisture, we used the bitter spray for sale in the pet store. For things that were apparently irresistible even when bitter, I made a paste of cayenne powder and water. That got dabbed on the underside of all of the little rubber door stops, for example.
posted by WowLookStars at 6:58 PM on November 4, 2010

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