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Home > Cats > How to Cat-Proof Your Apartment: 15 Vet Approved Tips

How to Cat-Proof Your Apartment: 15 Vet Approved Tips

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Dr. Tabitha Henson

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It’s incredibly exciting when you bring a new kitten or adopted adult cat home with you for the first time. However, owning a cat also means ensuring their safety and happiness.

Not only do you need to cat-proof your apartment to keep your stuff safe from your cat, but you also need to cat-proof your stuff to keep your cat safe.

Here, we go over the best tricks and tips that can help keep everyone and everything out of harm’s way. This way, you can just focus all your attention on your adorable new kitty.


The 15 Tips to Cat-Proof Your Apartment

Before Your Cat Arrives

You should take a few steps before you even bring your cat home. Following these seven tips should help you prepare for your new cat’s arrival.

1. Put Away Breakables

Start by scanning your apartment, keeping your cat in mind. Your favorite vase sitting on an end table needs to go somewhere safe where your cat can’t reach it. Place all important and breakable items in locations where your cat won’t be able to get at them.

Keep in mind that the average cat can jump up to 5 feet high, so if you put your fancy wine glasses on a surface that your cat can jump on, they are not safe, and your cat risks injuring their feet from broken glass.

Even better is out of sight, out of mind. If your cat is fascinated by your vase, they will find a way to reach it, so placing it in a cupboard is your best bet.

person holding glass vase
Image by: Piqsels

2. Check Your Windows

This is a particularly critical step if you live in an apartment tower. If you have screens on your windows and/or doors, you’ll need to ensure that they are secure. Press on them to see if they pop out easily. If so, you’ll need to keep your windows closed or have the screens fixed.

Cats are naturally drawn to windows, whether they are seeking sunrays or watching outdoor activities, so your windows should be safe for your cat.

3. Check Your Plants

If you have plants, you’ll need to see if they are toxic to cats or not. The ASPCA has a list of plants that are toxic to cats that should help you determine how safe yours are.

While some plants might just make your cat feel unwell, others can prove fatal to them. You should keep all plants out of your cat’s reach, as many cats tend to enjoy munching on them.

If you do have toxic plants, your safest option is to get rid of them entirely. Cats can easily find a way to get to them.

british kitten standin near a pot of green plant
Image by: Stenko Vlad, Shutterstock

4. Remove Strings and Electronic Cords

We all know how much cats love playing with strings or anything stringlike. Most of the time, it’s cute, but sometimes it can be dangerous. If you have blinds in your apartment, ensure that the cords aren’t left dangling. Cats can become entangled and injure or even strangle themselves on them.

Some cats love to chew on electrical wires, which is an obvious danger. Find a way to keep them out of your cat’s way. You can use cord protectors, or you can cover the cords with Vicks VapoRub or Bitter Apple Spray.

Ensure that pieces of string, yarn, or even dental floss aren’t lying around. If your cat swallows these things, it could lead to an intestinal blockage and stomach issues.

5. Put Medications Away

Many medicines can be toxic for your cat, so you should put everything away where your cat can’t get at them. Cats love to play with anything that rolls or rattles, and you don’t want to take any chances of lids popping off bottles and your cat ingesting the contents. If you drop anything, whether pills or liquid, clean it up as soon as possible.

woman checking medicines
Image by: Air Images, Shutterstock

6. Put Away Household Chemicals

Not surprisingly, many cleaning supplies and other household items are toxic to cats. Make sure to have these items locked up or otherwise out of reach.

Other items that you should store away that can harm your cat include batteries, cigarettes, fabric softener sheets, and mothballs.

Even certain fragrances are bad for cats, particularly anything with essential oils. Undiluted essential oils are extremely toxic for cats and can be fatal if they ingest them (if it’s on their fur and they lick it off through grooming) or even just inhale them (air diffusers).

7. Ensure That the Building Management Knows

It’s best if the superintendent or management knows about your new pet. If they don’t know about your cat and have to enter your apartment because of an emergency, your cat might escape.

Doctor talking to a patient
Image by: Sozavisimost, Pixabay

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When Your Cat Comes Home

Now that your cat is safe in your home, there are eight hazards that you should be aware of.

8. Don’t Leave Lit Candles Unattended

For the most part, you should never leave burning candles unattended. But when you have a cat, this rule is even more critical. A cat’s curiosity can lead to burns or worse.

9. Check Major Appliances

Check inside before using the dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer. Cats love warm places and like hiding in dark, private areas. You don’t want to turn an appliance on with your cat inside or shut the door when your cat snuck in after you are done. Your cat will either get trapped or injured or worse.

person wiping washing machine
Image by: aleks333, Shutterstock

10. Check Under Furniture

If you have a sofa bed, futon, or reclining chair, check underneath before you sit down or work the mechanism. Your cat might go underneath to explore and become trapped.

11. Cover the Garbage Cans

Keep the trash can covered. If a cat gets into it, they might eat something that could make them ill, or at the very least, you’ll end up with quite a mess on the floor.

trash bin in kitchen
Image by: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

12. Keep the Toilet Seat Down

This is more for kittens than adult cats, but if a kitten fell in the toilet, they could drown. Adult cats should be fine around an open toilet, but it is more sanitary to keep it covered, anyway.

13. Be Aware of Foods to Avoid

Several foods are toxic to cats and need to be kept away from them.

These foods include:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions/chives/garlic
  • Caffeine
  • Raisins/grapes
  • Any dairy (including cream and milk)
  • Alcohol
  • Bones/fat trimmings
  • Raw eggs/meat/fish

This list doesn’t include everything but contains many of the worst culprits. Check with your vet if you aren’t sure about what you should and shouldn’t feed your cat.

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Other Methods to Protect Your Stuff

There are a few steps that you can take to help protect your things. One of these will be fun for your cat!

cat grooming
Image by: 135pixels, Shutterstock

14. Set Up a Cat Entertainment Space

If you have the space (like a separate room that you don’t use much), consider setting up a space just for your cat. Fill it with cat trees, scratching posts, cat shelves, and plenty of toys. If you don’t have an entire free room, try to set up a special corner.

It’s a great idea to give your cat access to a window. If you don’t have a window seat, try out a window perch. Multiple scratching posts can help stop your cat from clawing up your furniture.

The more entertained your cat is, the happier they will be and the less likely that they will get into trouble. A bored cat can be a destructive cat.

15. Trim Those Claws

Another way to save your things from damage (and your hands) is to keep your cat’s nails trimmed. If you haven’t done this before, check out a nail-trimming guide for help.

This is important for your belongings but also for your cat. Leaving their claws untrimmed risks having the claws grow into their toe beans. They can also get caught in material, which can make your cat panic and potentially hurt themselves.



As you get to know your brand-new pet, you might need to make adjustments to your cat-proofing. Some cats love to knock their water bowls over, so putting a waterproof placemat underneath can help. But not every cat will do this.

Most of cat ownership is playing it by ear. While you are learning the nice and the naughty about your cat, you’ll also learn ways of dealing with their behaviors.

If you follow these tips, you should have a safe (and fun) space for your new cat. Cat ownership is incredibly rewarding, so enjoy getting to know your new kitty!

Featured Image Credit: Anika Moritz, Shutterstock

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