Cats and Kids
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5 Home Safety Tips for Small Children AND Cats

Cats and small children are both curious, creating possible dangers in the home, but a few measures will keep little hands and paws safe.

Angie Bailey  |  Sep 25th 2014


As a parent of a child or cat, we know that keeping our little ones safe is a significant priority. I remember reading all the What to Expect books when my kids were growing up, and kind of freaking out about all the childproofing I’d need to do in order to keep my toddler alive and out of danger’s way. I know those books have to cover everything that could possibly be a threat, but for an overly cautious mom like me, the information was a little (a lot) overwhelming.

Kittens and grown cats also require care when it comes to their safety in our homes. Young cats are naturally busy and curious, often leaving a trail of minor destructions behind them. I was recently thinking about how some aspects of childproofing and kitty-proofing are pretty similar. Here are five of them.

1. Plants and flowers

When my kids starting moving around independently, I had to move all plants and flowers out of their reach. Not only were they fond of digging tiny finger-tunnels in the pots of dirt, everything went into their mouths.

With our cats, we dealt with practically the same situation. They didn’t create tiny tunnels — they made like they trying to tunnel out of the house, resulting in dirt everywhere. In addition, many plants and flowers are toxic to cats, including some you might not suspect. Now we’re all about hanging plants and a couple of realistic-looking fake ones.

2. Breakables and lit candles

When my son was a toddler, I often dreaded going to homes that were filled with all sorts of breakable “pretties” that were attractive to his little hands. I’d have to follow him around, making sure he didn’t touch anything. In my own home, I certainly placed all fragile items on high shelves or packed them away.

Swatting paws love to bat anything that slides easily — including the little crystal vase Grandma gave you for a wedding gift. Don’t underestimate toddlers or cats — they can reach more than you think they can!

And lit candles are just a no-no for small children and cats alike. The delightful ambiance isn’t worth the possible burns to skin, hair, whiskers and fur. Buy the little flickery ones.

3. Toilet

My young kids and cats were fascinated with an open toilet. Kids want to reach inside and toddlers could fall face forward into the water, resulting in a host of terrifying situations. Grown cats could of course fall inside and probably climb out, but small kittens may not be able to recover from that fall. Keep the lid down, and parents of toddlers need to buy childproof toilet-seat locks.

4. Open purses

Before kids and cats, I didn’t think twice about tossing my purse on the floor when I came home from work. Sometimes it’d fall open, but it wasn’t a big deal. I don’t know about you, but my purse is filled with all kinds of interesting doodads … interesting to small children and cats, that is. In fact, I just looked inside my bag and found lipstick, pens, and loose coins and ibuprofen littered across the bottom.

Most everything is a toy or food for small kids and cats, so the danger of a child swallowing a coin or a handful of ibuprofen is real. Cats may also curiously go for medication, making them sick, or worse. Plus, who wants their lipstick batted under the sofa? Buy a purse with a zippered closure, get those loose meds and coins out of there and leave your purse on a high surface.

5. Cleaning supplies

Cleaning supplies pose a serious threat to both kids and cats. Sometimes the liquid cleaners are colorful, making an attractive “drink” for children, and a curious lick or two of a toxic substance could seriously harm a cat. Buy nontoxic cleaning supplies when you’re able, and store them behind a locked cabinet or closet.

Do you have tips for keeping your cats and kids safe at home? Share them in the comments!

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in a comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.