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Q. My new kitten is a wild child, constantly racing all over, jumping up and down on everything. I'm worried she will hurt herself. How can I help her explore safely?
A. From houseplants to electrical cords to barely accessible crawl spaces, if there's a hazard in your home, your kitten will find it. Be prepared for the worst: Keep your veterinarian’s number handy — and the number of the E.R. clinic as well. But to avoid that mad dash to the doc, kittenproof your home, keeping the little one out of any room you can’t make completely safe.
Start by looking at your home from your kitten's perspective: Get down on the floor and imagine you weigh six pounds, have four legs with claws, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. This isn't a home — it's an amusement park! Making your house safer will also make it more fun for your kitten, so be sure to deal with all possible hazards before you bring your kitten home.
Put away everything breakable, particularly anything that cannot be replaced or that has sentimental value.
Keep rubber bands, buttons, pins, and other tiny items out of reach of kittens. You kitty can choke on them, and if she gets her paws on them, she surely will try.
Dispose of cooked bones, the string from cooked meats, and other enticing food scraps in a securely fastened container. If your kitten could get into Fort Knox, keep the garbage in the refrigerator or invest in childproof cabinet latches and keep the trash behind closed — and securely locked — doors.
Wrap electric cords in tape, or enclose them in tubes that are made to keep cords from getting tangled.
Pull up blinds and secure all cords out of reach; loop drapes over their rods.
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